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!

 

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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!