Book Review: Parenting Hell by Rob Beckett and Josh Widdicombe

I love the Parenting Hell podcast – and have bought (with my own money, which doesn’t happen very often!) the books written by Josh Widdicombe and Rob Beckett – so when they had a co-written book come out, it was a no brainer. However, super organised me ordered a signed copy when it was first announced. People pleaser me then felt guilty for not having ordered a copy (potentially peri menopausal forgetfulness at this point!) when Rob ranted about freeloading podcast listeners not buying it – I bought it again. So, on release day – I had two parcels from WHSmiths arrive!! I’ve sent the extra copy to the lovely friend who introduced me to the podcast in the first place to say thank you for the hours of free entertainment I’ve benefitted from.

Here is the blurb if you’re not a podcast listener already (and you wouldn’t have to be a podcast listener to read it – it would stand alone – but you really should listen to the podcast, it’s my ‘go to’ every Tuesday and Friday and is available free on Spotify):

What’s it really like to be a parent? And how come no one ever warned Rob or Josh of the sheer mind-bending, world-altering, sleep-depriving, sick-covering, tear-inducing, snot-wiping, bore-inspiring, 4am-relationship-straining brutality of it all? And if they did, why can’t they remember it (or remember anything else, for that matter)?
And just when they thought it couldn’t get any harder, why didn’t anyone warn them about the slices of unmatched euphoric joy and pride that occasionally come piercing through, drenching you in unbridled happiness in much the same way a badly burped baby drenches you in milk-sick?
Join Josh and Rob as they share the challenges and madness of their parenting journeys with lashings of empathy and extra helpings of laughs. Filled with all the things they never tell you at antenatal classes, Parenting Hell is a beguiling mixture of humour, rumination and conversation for prospective parents, new parents, old parents and never-to-be parents alike.”

The book is – as expected – brilliant and funny. It’s written like a conversation between Josh and Rob – covering different topics of parenthood. It’s not completely chronological – and it’s not a self help book – but it’s funny, normal and relatable (which is surprising, as Rob and Josh usually try to be sexy and unrelatable #podcastjoke)

I also really enjoyed the chapters written by Rose and Lou (Josh and Rob’s respective wives) and by the Widdicombe and Beckett parents – as well as by childfree producer Michael. It was interesting to see the other perspectives (and hear which other comedian Lou would have married – and may run off with in the future!)]

Like Lou I have bowel problems – not the same one, but still ‘anal wouldn’t help’ (this is a reference from the book – not me being completely weird when writing this blog post!) and sometimes this means I have to sit on the loo for ages (although let’s face it, sometimes I sit there just to read more of my book!) One evening my husband thought I must be suffering more than usual as he could hear me ‘crying’ in our en suite. Apart from I wasn’t crying – I was laughing a lot at Lou’s chapter. Honestly – this is turning into a Lou Beckett appreciation post rather than a book review!

Overall it’s a fun, escapist read – and whilst funny, self-deprecating and not always 100% positive about all aspects of parenthood – the love for their families shines out from Rob and Josh. I’d thoroughly recommend it to everyone (even if your youngest ‘baby’ is 11 tomorrow like mine, and your oldest one of the four is 19. Let’s not tell the boys about how the next decade or so pans out………)