Book Review: Why Mummy Doesn’t Give A ****! by Gill Sims

May half term was the usual #funtimes #soblessed – juggling 4 kids with no childcare, the eldest child of the 4 being mid GCSEs, so eggshells were being trodden on, and we still needed to run our construction company.

Then – on the last day of the week – I was emailed by the publisher asking if I’d like to read an advanced review copy of Gill Sims new book Why Mummy Doesn’t Give A F*ck!  I was beyond excited.  I have LOVED the previous 2 books in the series – Why Mummy Drinks and Why Mummy Swears – so couldn’t wait to catch up with Ellen and co again.

Why Mummy

Here’s the blurb:

“Family begins with a capital eff.
I’m wondering how many more f*cking ‘phases’ I have to endure before my children become civilised and functioning members of society? It seems like people have been telling me ‘it’s just a phase!’ for the last fifteen bloody years. Not sleeping through the night is ‘just a phase.’ Potty training and the associated accidents ‘is just a phase’. The tantrums of the terrible twos are ‘just a phase’. The picky eating, the back chat, the obsessions. The toddler refusals to nap, the teenage inability to leave their beds before 1pm without a rocket being put up their arse. The endless singing of Frozen songs, the dabbing, the weeks where apparently making them wear pants was akin to child torture. All ‘just phases!’ When do the ‘phases’ end though? WHEN?
Mummy dreams of a quirky rural cottage with roses around the door and chatty chickens in the garden. Life, as ever, is not going quite as she planned. Paxo, Oxo and Bisto turn out to be highly rambunctious, rather than merely chatty, and the roses have jaggy thorns. Her precious moppets are now giant teenagers, and instead of wittering at her about who would win in a fight – a dragon badger or a ninja horse – they are Snapchatting the night away, stropping around the tiny cottage and communicating mainly in grunts – except when they are demanding Ellen provides taxi services in the small hours. And there is never, but never, any milk in the house. At least the one thing they can all agree on is that rescued Barry the Wolfdog may indeed be The Ugliest Dog in the World, but he is also the loveliest.”

This picks up when Jane and Peter are 15 and 13 – which is pretty much the age of my oldest 2 children.  I love that the 3 books have started with kids the age of my littlest pair, and now they’re the age of my eldest pair #relevanttome.

It is just sooooo spot on with references of life with teenagers.

I thought I was the only person whose teenage daughter refers to them as ‘mother’ in a disparaging  way – but seemingly not!

I’m also not sure I’ve ever read a book that has referenced The Suite Life On Deck (a slightly rubbish American kids TV programme which my kids loved when they were younger – and I’m not sure I’d ever realised that Zack and Cody (the twins in it) were played by the actors who played Ben in Friends – so this book is also very educational!!)

I could quote reference after reference – but I don’t want to ruin it for you – as you’ll also be nodding and laughing along when you read it.

Although – my absolute favourite part is when Ellen says that parents’ evening should be parent’s evening because she’s going on her own.  Who doesn’t love an apostrophe gag?!? (I am such a geek, sometimes I want to punch myself……….)

The book covers some big topics – death / divorce / moving house – but does it brilliantly, and with great ‘realness’ (not sure that’s even a proper word) and emotion.

On a personal level, and another brilliant reference point for me, we’ve just had chickens too – also starting off with 3 (Bertha, Wispa and Crunchie rather than Paxo, Oxo and Bisto – I’m disappointed we didn’t go for those names, particularly as they are partial to sage and onion stuffing and gravy – as a friend pointed out, feeding them that is practically pre-loading) – but have now added a cockerel, 8 further chickens (2 of which are partially sighted) and 2 micro pigs to our menagerie. I have also likened myself to Barbara from the Good Life (when I’d always wanted to be more Margot!) but without the dungarees.

chickens and pigs

Gill Sims is so bloody good at writing books.  Other parenting blogs have tried to make the leap to books and it’s just not translated as well (mentioning no names) but Gill’s books are all BRILLIANT.  If you haven’t read the first 2 (and don’t mind a bit of potty mouthed language), then download them IMMEDIATELY – and pre order this for when it’s out later this month.  I would go as far as to say this one is my favourite of the three!!

A massive thank you to Netgalley and the publisher for an advanced review copy.

 

 

 

 

Book Review: Why Mummy Swears by Gill Sims

 

Why Mummy Swears

I ADORED the first book by Gill Sims – ‘Why Mummy Drinks’ when it came out last year – and so have been eagerly anticipating the sequel.  I have been stalking Netgalley in an attempt to secure a copy – not because I wanted it for free, hell no, I’d have paid double to get my hands on it – just to get it as soon as possible!  So I was DELIGHTED when I saw it pop up and did a proper happy dance when they approved me for an advanced review copy.

Here’s the blurb:

“It’s every parents’ nightmare – the start of the school holidays – and instead of sitting in the sun, reading a book over a cold, crisp glass of Pinot Grigio, Mummy has two bored moppets to attend to. After frantically booking sports camps, child minder slots, not to mention time off work, Mummy is exhausted. But this is only the beginning…

After being dragged to join the school’s PTA in the new term by an annoyingly kind-spirited neighbour, Mummy is stuck with organising the Christmas Fayre and pleasing all the overly disapproving parents. In combination with getting to know her father’s surprise new glamorous (and much younger) wife, and being forced to spend more time with her narcissistic mother, life isn’t cutting her much of a break. What more could possibly happen?”

So this picks up a couple of years down the line from the first book and puts us back into the lives of Ellen, Simon, Jane and Peter.  (I should point out I’ve had massive issues writing ‘Jane and Peter’ when ‘Peter and Jane’ is so much more familiar an order.  However, my brain INSISTS that children are listed in age order.  If my own children co-ordinate their joint writing of a card – to a grandparent or other family member – woe betide them if they don’t do it in the correct order.  I also have to check the children in ascending or descending order at bedtime – as to randomly skip between the 4 would bring a plague on the house over night.  I realise I am digressing somewhat – a bit like Ellen in a job interview #injoke)

There was definitely no ‘difficult second album’ about this book – it was a corker right from  the start

It is fabulously written – and just so true to life in so many ways.

The bits about the PTA are spot on – when I was on the committee (back when my first two kids were young, by the time it was the second two, my husband threatened divorce if I recommitted!)  the husband did ask if we could buy ourselves out with a donation rather than have to keep spending hours volunteering and not seeing our own children at events.  Although I also remember getting hideously drunk with a very good friend at a summer fayre (yes, why is it fayre not fair?!?  I thought that was just our PTA – but seemingly this is a national phenomenon) and being left in charge of the carousel – and not having a clue how long each session was.  #dizzykids

Also the whole working Mum shizzle.  My husband is brilliant, totally hands on, great Dad – but still the day to day kids admin, the who needs to be where and when, the how we sort out holiday cover all falls to me.  Admittedly I’m a total control freak and would probably stress even more if he was in charge – but still, from what I see with most of my friends, it always falls at the mother rather than father’s door.

The additional characters around the central family are great – and you can see so many people you know in it! As with my review of the previous book – I am naming no names – unless you bribe me with gin.

As the title would suggest – there is some fruity language – but I’m guessing you wouldn’t even consider this book if that was an issue.  I can imagine a significant number of ex PTA chairs that I know wishing they’d used some of the risque language in emails to parents as happens in the book!!

Now – I broke one of my cardinal reading rules, and abandoned another book part way through to read this – I felt like I was being unfaithful to the other book – but #whatevs. I also have no clue where it will fit into my 2018 Reading Challenge – but frankly, I don’t care!  It was FABULOUS.  I was also very excited when I got to the acknowledgements (yes, I am that sad, I read those too) to find out that a friend and colleague of my lovely book industry insider friend was an editor for this – so now I can practically claim to be Gill Sims’s BFF. #weirdstalkerreviewer

A HUGE thank you to Netgalley for letting me get my paws on this a month early – and for everyone else, get your pre order in on Amazon now, you will not regret it!

 

Book Review: Why Mummy Drinks by Gill Sims

Why Mummy Drinks

I arrived home from work the other evening to find that our lovely nanny had left a copy of this book on my desk to read.  I’m not sure if it is a bit concerning that she chose a book called ‘Why Mummy Drinks’, I’m hoping she realised it was a novel and wasn’t giving me a self help book?!?!?

Another friend had raved about this last year – and I have read some of Gill Sims Facebook posts about ‘Peter and Jane’ which spawned this book – so I was looking forward to it.

Here’s the Amazon blurb:

“Why Mummy Drinks is the brilliant novel from Gill Sims, the author of the online sensation Peter and Jane.

It is Mummy’s 39th birthday. She is staring down the barrel of a future of people asking if she wants to come to their advanced yoga classes, and polite book clubs where everyone claims to be tiddly after a glass of Pinot Grigio and says things like ‘Oooh gosh, are you having another glass?’

But Mummy does not want to go quietly into that good night of women with sensible haircuts who ‘live for their children’ and stand in the playground trying to trump each other with their offspring’s extracurricular activities and achievements, and boasting about their latest holidays.

Instead, she clutches a large glass of wine, muttering ‘FML’ over and over again. Until she remembers the gem of an idea she’s had…”

I have to say I enjoyed it straight away!  There have been other books written about motherhood – Hurrah for Gin‘s springs to mind immediately as one I’ve reviewed – and they were good, but in this, Peter and Jane are 8 and 6 – almost exactly the same age as my youngest two children, and so it was sooooo much more currently relevant than newborn related books.

As well as laughing (and shaking in an attempt not to wake my sleeping husband)  – I was nodding in total agreement (I have a 6 year old who still wants to keep taking the lovely pink Calpol and not to have to have the 6+ version. Equally I have a 14 year old who insists on still taking the 6+ sweets style Calpol rather than proper paracetamol tablets – I’m not sure 6+ Calpol is designed for period pain…….. )

The book is written in the style of a diary – school year diary not calendar year diary – and all the major events are covered!  Christmas was a particular favourite for me – but I won’t ruin it for you by telling you what happens.  There was also a family trip to The Savoy – which we did last year (and the stress about not having WAG style luggage was real!) – and the swimming pool, that we loved, got a mention too.

Savoy bathrobes
Giving the Savoy bathrobes some good press for once!

There are people in it – from the school gates / friends / family – who you will recognise IMMEDIATELY.  Clearly I’m not going to name names (well, not unless you buy me a gin or two!) but you will totally recognise people you know.   I texted one of my sisters as I was part way through the book as I knew she’d love it (and she never reads my book review blog posts – how rude!) and she downloaded it instantly – and then texted me to complain she was not getting through any of her ‘to do list’ for the weekend as she loved it so much she couldn’t put it down!!

It’s a bit sweary, there’s a recurring alcohol theme throughout, it’s fabulously middle class and suburban – and just bloody brilliant!  It reminded me of the TV programme Motherland that covered similar topics (but I have to say, I think ‘Why Mummy Drinks’ is better, and I preferred Ellen to Julia as the main character.)

I’m not sure where this will fit into my 2018 Reading Challenge – but I don’t care!  It was worth going off piste because it was so good.  And I am DELIGHTED there is to be a sequel so we can find out what happens to Ellen, Simon, Jane and Peter next – in Why Mummy Swears which is out in July – hoorah!