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May Contain Nuts Paperback – 1 Mar 2006


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Product details

  • Paperback: 400 pages
  • Publisher: Black Swan; New Ed edition (1 Mar. 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0552771627
  • ISBN-13: 978-0552771627
  • Product Dimensions: 12.7 x 2.5 x 19.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (72 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 26,027 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

John O'Farrell is the bestselling author of several novels including The Best A Man Can Get, This is Your Life, May Contain Nuts and The Man Who Forgot His Wife. He has also written the very successful history books An Utterly Impartial History of Britain and An Utterly Exasperated History of Modern Britain, as well as a political memoir, Things Can Only Get Better. A former comedy scriptwriter for shows such as Spitting Image and Alias Smith and Jones, he is the founder of the satirical website NewsBiscuit and is well known for appearing on TV programmes including Grumpy Old Men, The Review Show and Have I Got News For You.

Product Description

Review

"As hilarious as it is spot-on" (Mail on Sunday)

"O'Farrell is a consistently humorous writer with an acute ear for the absurdities of middle class pretension. It's hard to fault his satire on competitive parenting or his conclusions regarding social inequalities" (Mail on Sunday)

"O'Farrell is one of the best contemporary satirists in the business and he has middle class pushy mothers down to a tee in this latest toe-curling, hackle-rising chronicle of hyper-parenting... The one-liners are sublime and the comedic situations utterly hilarious. Don't miss this" (Daily Record)

"O'Farrell has scored a bullseye with this satirical salvo... Taps into Middle England's neuroses with terrific wit" (The Herald)

Book Description

A satire about competitive, over-protective parents driving their children to tutors, to ballet, to insanity ...

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Customer Reviews

3.8 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

11 of 11 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 11 Sept. 2005
Format: Hardcover
A very funny read. Especially for anyone who has been around over-anxious/over-competitive middle class parents in the UK. Some great scenes (i.e. teaching young kids to play contract bridge) and dialogue.
The ending lacks subtlety (tho' has a good message). But perhaps O'Farrell deliberately wrote a book that does not demand too heavy attention levels, so that tired and distracted parents can read it without too much trouble.
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15 of 16 people found the following review helpful By Helenbookworm on 22 Jun. 2007
Format: Hardcover
This my first time reading a John O Farrell book and I was not sure what to expect. The book is written from the point of view of Alice an over anxious middle class mother desperately wanting the best for her children and loosing site to the fact that if she does everything for them they won't learn to do things themselves. After reading the first couple of pages (involving the `heroine' causing a car crash after ambushing an unsuspecting speeding driving with a mannequin dressed as Tony Blair in school uniform!) I was worried that the book was going to be ridiculous rather than satirical.

However I was wrong, though some of the premises in the book are a little off the wall (a mother sitting an exam for her daughter for one) he keeps the right side of satire and has written an extremely entertaining book. The over pushy parents timetabling every second of their children's life were priceless and sadly recognizable. I laughed out loud on several occasions especially at the children's book club.

The only problem that I had with the book was though I applaud the message that it is important that a school concentrates on pupils as people and not just their exam results I do think the last few chapters of the book were just a little over idealized. Generally a really good read.
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34 of 37 people found the following review helpful By K. MCPOLIN on 16 Feb. 2006
Format: Paperback
I picked this book up with no real enthusiasm, but after ten pages I was in fits of laughter. It is a very funny book indeed, and sharp as a razor. The characters are exaggerations but if you have a children of school age, or even better, if you know parents who do, you will immdediately recognise the absurd behaviour of people obsessed with protecting and promoting their little darlings. A wonderful, hysterical, bitter sweet satire of our time!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Keen Reader TOP 50 REVIEWER on 5 Nov. 2014
Format: Paperback
I really enjoyed this rather witty novel. The main character Alice is a bit of a ‘helicopter’ parent; always worrying about her children, never letting them walk down the street, or experience anything like the ‘real’ world; obsessing about their development, which school they will go to and more of the like. Alice and David’s friends are all fairly similar, and the competition heats up between them when it’s time for their 11 year olds to move to secondary school – how will they cope with the entrance exam of the only school that they really absolutely must go to!?

I can readily believe that there are parents out there like this, which makes the comedic aspect of this book quite brutally hard-hitting. The obvious irony of some of the things that Alice’s narrative tells the reader clearly sail well over her head – taking her children to school in the 4x4 and then complaining about other mothers who do the same, for example.

An entertaining read, this book loses one star for me because of the slightly heavy-handed way in which the moral dilemma faced by Alice is handled, but for an undemanding, witty and rather entertainingly engaging read, this was very enjoyable. I shall definitely look out for more works by the author.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By L. H. Healy TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 16 April 2008
Format: Paperback
I have read a few of John O'Farrell's other works and had a rough idea what to expect, some social comment mixed with a good deal of clever humour and satire. And I did get this. The novel made me have a really good laugh from time to time, at the main character and first person narrator's (Alice Chaplin's) thoughts and behaviours in her attempts to give her children everything in life, and more. O'Farrell cleverly pokes fun at over-protective parents doing everything for their children and wrapping them in cotton wool, until these children aren't really experiencing the 'real world' as such. A humorous situation plays out, involving entrance exams for private secondary schools. The ultimate message is that a secondary school can be just as worthwhile if not more so than a private fee-paying school in producing a well-rounded, happy child, with other underlying messages to go with it.

A good quick entertaining and humorous read, with well-intentioned messages, even if they are really just a little bit on the idealistic side.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By N. Krisztina on 5 Sept. 2008
Format: Paperback
I found this novel highly unreal - therefore astonishing. It was very interesting to read these reviews. Generally I have to say I disagree with most of the other viewers, as I did not find it funny, I found it so unbelieveable I rather chuckled at it. It looks like it was a fiction but it is rather like a story resembling to Oz. And how could anyone suppose to get real-life characters out of an eerie tale? I don't deem the storyline to be as interesting as the world created by this novel. I don't think it's about school selection, as some people said, either. Just enter the creation of JOF and let it take you to a different reality. That's how I felt. Thanks, John.
Ps. And do not think school selection is not an issue in Hungary. I have to enroll my baby for his/her starting nursery right when he/she is born (so I know for sure his/her name). Otherwise when he/she becomes 2 years old there will be no empty place in the nursery. And this is just the beginning!
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