In the aisle by the chill cabinets no one can hear you scream…
Funny, acutely observed, frighteningly honest and drawing on her own and hundreds of other mum’s real experiences, Stephanie Calman serves up the perfect antidote to all those books that tell you that your children must be perfect, and to all those Stepford mums and kids out there who look as if they just might be: perfectly groomed, perfectly behaved and perfectly brilliant. The reality, as we all know, encompasses sleepless nights, no sex for years, baby sick on your best cashmere cardy, the terrible twos and then, just when you thought it was safe to go back in the sitting room, terrible teenagers whose only means of communication is the slamming door or the grunt.
It was the above byline that grabbed my attention. I was feeling particularly annoyed with my own children and huffing and puffing to myself as I went in to the charity shop, started browsing the books. I saw this book, read the byline, said ‘aha’ loudly and maniacally and marched off to the til to pay my 50 pence!
I like Stephanie Calman’s writing. I’ve not come across her before but she writes regularly in a couple of national newspapers as well as books. She also has a website; Bad Mothers Club .
This book is in fact her own story of how she came to get married and have children and the experience of trying to parent two toddlers and never feeling she gets it quite right. I’d picked it up thinking it was fiction, but after an initial slight disappointment that it wasn’t I got stuck in and and quickly started to enjoy Stephanie’s witty writing and sheer honesty about the pitfalls and stresses of trying to raise children without losing your sanity entirely!
There are many funny stories, moments that have made me groan in recognition and others that have had me giggling nonstop.
This is an older book but it’s made me want to look out for other books that she’s written and I may even stumble on to the ‘bad mothers’ website to add a story or two of my own!
Verdict: A witty and entertaining read.
Reviewed by Lesley