I have come across Kathryn Wallace’s postings on social media before – where she writes under the name ‘I Know, I Need To Stop Talking’ with some hilarious parodies of the omnipresent (if you have small children starting to learn to read) Biff, Chip and Kipper Robinson (slight show off that I know their surname!!) and other musings on life as a parent.
Then my oldest friend (oldest as in she came to visit me in hospital when I was born rather than in her own age being substantial!) noticed that the publisher had tweeted to see if any book bloggers wanted an advanced review copy – and she suggested me! Never one to turn down a free book, I immediately sent my details, and the book arrived the very next day!
Here is the Amazon blurb:
” “SAM! AVA! Get downstairs, NOW. Have you done your TEETH? HAIR? SHOES? Come on, come on, come on, we’re going to be bastarding late again. No, I haven’t seen Lego Optimus Prime, and nor do I give a shit about his whereabouts. Sam, will you stop winding your sister up and take this model of the Shard that I painstakingly sat up and created for you last night so that I wouldn’t be in trouble with your teacher. I mean, so that you wouldn’t be in trouble with your teacher. No, it doesn’t smell of ‘dirty wine’. Well, maybe it does a little bit. Look, Sam, I haven’t got time to argue. Just hold your nose and get in the car, okay? AVA! TEETH! HAIR! SHOES!”
Gemma is only just holding it together – she’s a single parent, she’s turning 40 and her seven-year-old daughter has drawn a cruelly accurate picture which locates Gemma’s boobs somewhere around her knees. So when her new next-door neighbour, Becky, suggests that Gemma should start dating again, it takes a lot of self-control not to laugh in her face.
But Becky is very persuasive and before long Gemma finds herself juggling a full-time job, the increasingly insane demands of the school mums’ Facebook group and the tricky etiquette of a new dating world. Not only that, but Gemma has to manage her attraction to her daughter’s teacher, Tom, who has swapped his life in the City for teaching thirty six to seven year olds spelling, grammar, basic fractions – and why it’s not ok to call your classmate a stinky poo-bum…
It’s going to be a long year – and one in which Gemma and Becky will learn a really crucial lesson: that in the end, being a good parent is just about being good enough.”
As expected, the book is all about the stresses and strains of parenthood – and is pretty sweary! It is true to life in lots of ways – everyone who has waited in a playground can identify the different types of parent! And feels quite similar in genre to lots of the Mummy bloggers who have gone on to write books (such as Why Mummy Drinks ) – but I guess parental experiences are quite similar, so that’s why they feel alike.
I liked Gemma and wanted everything to work out for her personally – not just as a mother and as an employee, but as an individual too. Her friendship with Becky was also explored – and definitely shows the importance of having Mum friends that you actually want to be friends with – not just because they have children the same age.
This book is not going to set the literary world alight – it is a simple, easy, non-challenging read – but sometimes that’s what you want after a long day of parenting. There are some laugh out loud moments (so much so that I was told off by the 7 year old for making her bed shake when reading it one evening as trying to get her to sleep!) and I didn’t regret reading it – but I’m not sure #absolutelysmashingit has been achieved.
Thank you very much to the publishers for my free ARC – and the book has now made it’s way across the Irish Sea to the aforementioned oldest friend for her to read too.
It’s released on 7 March 2019.