29 Dec 2010



Maybe hormones ate her brain. How else did Judith's husband persuade her to give up her career and move from her beloved London to Northumberland with two toddlers in tow?

Pregnant with number three, Judith is about to discover that there are one or two things about life in the country that no one told her about: that she'd be making friends with people who believed in the four horsemen of the apocalypse; that running out of petrol could be a near-death experience; and that the closest thing to an ethnic minority would be a redhead.

Judith tries to do that simple thing that women do, make hers a happy family. A family that might live happily ever after. Possibly even up North.
..... From the outer back cover.

FIRST SENTENCE: As we dove out of the city's fabulous sprawl last night, I wondered whether I could kill my husband and plead insanity.

MEMORABLE MOMENT: He has no idea that a labouring woman would be much less trouble than my two boys, even if he ended up pulling into a lay-by, erecting a warning triangle behind the car and biting through the umbilical cord.

They say a change is as good as a rest so please forgive me for trying a new review format, it just seems appropriate to be recording my thoughts on this particular book in this way.

There were several things that I really liked about this book and several things I didn't.

To begin with, the positive.
  • My favourite thing about this book was the humour and especially that of the children who, typical children, told it exactly as they saw it to great effect. Still funny but less to my taste was the mother (Judith) who, at times, had a fairly caustic sense of humour that, to me, occasionally bordered on the cruel.
  • I found Judith's relationship with her mother very moving. The fact that her mother 'got old, blind, deaf' very sad and yet not without humour either.
  • There were a good mix of characters, many of whom seemed familiar in that you know people just like them.
  • Both the bullying and blogging elements to the book were fascinating and quite thought provoking - the bullying storyline very realistic.
And the negative?
  • I'm not a huge fan of books that are written in diary format and, for me, because of this the book did not always flow as I would have liked it to.
  • We did not get to know actual names, the children for example were known 'my 6 year-old, 'my 4 year-old', and 'the baby', Judith's  friends as 'The Yorkshire Mother', 'Evangelical Man' and 'Girl Friday' etc which I found meant I never really got to know the characters as well as I would have liked to.
Lent from a friend, I'm not too sure that this is a book I otherwise would have picked up let a lone read, I admit that on the whole I really enjoyed it and would certainly read this author's work again even if I wouldn't actually buy any of her books.


Mary said...

I've found that good writing can carry a book that normally wouldn't work for me. Interesting that characters weren't given names. Your review did interest me in the book so if I happen to find it at a book store or library I'll give it a try.

Misha said...

I think I might give it a try . It does bother me when the characters seem vague but the premise sounds interesting enough.

GMR said...

KUDOS to you for trying new things....review formats and books alike. I can't say that the new style doesn't suit you but if you lapse into your old familiar, no worries either. Certainly fits the book as you stated, and it does sound like it would be interesting at the very least....will I pick it up? Undetermined...but I definitely enjoyed the review. ^_^

Nick said...

All the best for the new year and thanks for the visits...nick

Oddyoddyo13 said...

That first line was quite brilliant, but I can see how that would be cruel, especially if you receive more comments like that. But I liked the fact that you reported it to be realistic and enjoyable. :) Thanks for the review!

Kelly said...

Isn't it nice to read something you wouldn't under other circumstances, then end up enjoying it!

It sounds pretty good to me.

Dorte H said...

I am all for change, but to be honest I couldn´t read the pink letters - they hurt my eyes.

Suko said...

Petty, many friends lend me books simply because I am a book blogger; they don't realize that I have a large TBR stack already! It sounds like you enjoyed certain features about this book. I'd have preferred names as well.

naida said...

I read this one and enjoyed it for the most part. I dont mind books that are in diary format. I laughed a few time while reading, but I know what you mean about her being borderline cruel at times.
Great review ;)