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The Pile of Stuff at the Bottom of the Stairs [Kindle Edition]

Christina Hopkinson
3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (69 customer reviews)

Print List Price: £7.99
Kindle Price: £4.99 includes VAT* & free wireless delivery via Amazon Whispernet
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Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
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Book Description

Mary doesn't know what makes her angrier - the way he doesn't quite reach the laundry basket when he throws his dirty clothes at it (but never walks over and picks them up and puts them in), or the balled-up tissues he leaves on the bedside table when he has a cold, or the way he never completely empties the dishwasher, but leaves the 'difficult' things for her to put away. Is it that because she is 'only working part-time' she is responsible for everything on the domestic front? Or is it, simply, that he puts used teabags in the sink?

Mary is the mother of two young boys - she knows how you're supposed to get the behaviour you want. So now she's designing the spousal equivalent of a star chart. Every little thing her husband does wrong is going on it. And yes, she know you're supposed to reward the good behaviour rather than punish the bad, but obviously the rules for those in middle age are different than the rules for those not even in middle school...

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Product Description


'An enjoyable and engaging read - I loved it - but amid the fun there's some sharp-eyed comment about the way having children can skewer a previously equal relationship. Really does merit comparison with the bestselling I Don't Know How She Does It, and I think this one could be huge' (Bookseller)

'Christina Hopkinson has wittily and very realistically tapped into the zeitgeist - literally the most relevant novel for a working mother since I Don't Know How She Does It by Allison Pearson.' (Plum Sykes, author of Bergdorf Blondes)

'Utter genius. The funniest, truest and most insightful book about being a parent I have ever read.' (Lisa Jewell)

'Funny, smart, sharp - this perceptive look at modern marriage and motherhood is much too good to languish on a pile at the bottom of the stairs.' (Press Association)

'I read it, I really enjoyed it, I left it on the stairs.' (John O'Farrell)

'A funny, thought-provoking take on what happens to a relationship when children come along.' (Grazia)

THE PILE OF STUFF AT THE BOTTOM OF THE STAIRS is being described as the contemporary equivalent of Superwoman (The Times)

'Fantastically well written, searingly truthful, occasionally very moving' (Wendy Holden, Daily Mail)

'Chick-lit checklist - just don't get so engrossed you forget to eat/sleep/get off the bus . . .' (Fabulous)

'The new I Don't Know How She Does It' (Grazia)

'A bittersweet domestic drama . . . It's flippant and sharply funny, but at the heart of this novel there is a terrible poignancy, a familiar story that charts the effect of procreation on a loving relationship. Fans of Allison Pearson's I Don't Know How She Does It will love it.' (Marie Claire)

'A great comic novel on marriage and motherhood . . . very funny.' **** (Red)

'A witty paean to domestic and marital discontent . . . [it] struck a chord.' (Telegraph)

'Sharp look at the craziness of modern life and love . . . Hopkinson nails a marriage cracking into a million pieces, and manages to make you believe there's always a way to patch things up.' (Publishers Weekly)

'You'll know exactly where she's coming from if you've ever felt like you spend your life picking up after a messy partner, you won't know whether to laugh or cry.' (U magazine, Ireland)

'Hilarious . . . Packed with witty one liners, this is a story that will resonate with women the world over . . . THE PILE OF STUFF AT THE BOTTOM OF THE STAIRS is the Bridget Jones's Diary for a married generation.' (

'A great read which will provide you with plenty of food for thought, perfect for whiling away a boring commute or packing for the beach. Though, couple ups beware, it may well prompt you to re-evaluate your current set-up.' (

'A hilariously funny insight into the battle of the sexes . . . Hopkinson nails perfectly the daily frustrations that can drive a wedge into long-term relationships.' (

'Hopkinson's writing is bright and accessible and her characters are very real.' (Washington Times)


'This should be compulsory reading for all working couples with small children, since it encapsulates precisely, but with plenty of humour, the madness of the modern working family' (Sarah Vine, The Times )

'The new I Don't Know How She Does It'

(Grazia )

'I read it, I really enjoyed it, I left it on the stairs.'

(John O'Farrell )

'Christina Hopkinson is a talented writer with a gift for observational humour and sharp one-liners' (Spectator )

'Christina Hopkinson has wittily and very realistically tapped into the zeitgeist - literally the most relevant novel for a working mother since I Don't Know How She Does It by Allison Pearson.'

(Plum Sykes, author of Bergdorf Blondes )

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 1303 KB
  • Print Length: 353 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 0446573183
  • Publisher: Hodder & Stoughton (3 Mar. 2011)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B004O0U570
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (69 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #151,170 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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More About the Author

Christina Hopkinson is an author and journalist whose work has appeared in the Daily Telegraph, the Guardian, the Times, Grazia and Red magazine.

Her critically-acclaimed novels are, The Pile of Stuff at the Bottom of the Stairs and Just Like Proper Grown-Ups.

Christina lives in London with her husband and three children. You can find out more about her at or follow her on Twitter @xtinahopkinson.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
15 of 16 people found the following review helpful
The Pile of Stuff at the Bottom of the Stairs by Christina Hopkinson is a truly laugh-out-loud wry take on wedded bliss gone awry. On the face of it, it seems to be just a middle-class comedy of errors about one women's fight to get her slothful husband to change his slovenly ways.

Joel is the traditional slacker; the husband who leaves his coffee mug around to collect all manner of detritus, discards wet towels like chewing gum wrappers and generally doesn't do his fair share around the house or with the kids, expecting Mary to pick up the pieces he leaves behind. All Mary wants is a neat, ordered house - just like her friend Mitzi - and so she starts The List, an excel spreadsheet of Joel's domestic disappointments and gives him six months to prove his worth or else.

However, as the book unfolds it becomes much more than just a domestic drama about Mary's marital discontent. At the heart of this book is the love story between Mary and Joel that with the introduction of children falls apart. It's the middle-class dream in all it's Aga, soy café lattes beauty turned upside down with the realisation that with children our lives are no longer our own. Mary's friend Mitzi seems to have it all; the beautiful, perpetually clean house, the wonderful children and the perfect alpha-male husband, while Mary is up to her arms in detritus and baby poo.

I won't give anything away but as with everything in life; the realisation that all is not what it seems and that we should always be wary of what we wish for comes true.

Being a married man with two children myself there was much to relate to in this book. The laughs were plentiful, the drama gripping, the scene in Norfolk shocking and the ending - as ending should be- was perfect.
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14 of 15 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Typically woman versus man humour. 21 Mar. 2011
Format:Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
If you have a husband or partner and children you will find 'The Pile of Stuff at the Bottom of the Stairs' by
Christina Hopkinson extremely amusing, plenty of laugh out loud moments throughout. In fact my husband
got quite fed up with me reading out bits to him especially as some snippets bared a remarkable resemblance
to someone very close to me ... need I say more!

Here's the gist ...

Mary is dissatisfied with her husband Joel big time. Her gripes (and boy there are a few) are mainly about
her husband's lack of ability in the domestic line of things, being totally incapable of tidying up after himself
for example really rankles her. On top of that there's his lethargic attitude to looking after their children
and the fact that he sides with his mother about all manner of minor but never the less annoying topics.

It's a typical woman versus man type of war, however this time with a difference ... Joel has no idea it's
even going on, totally oblivious in his laziness he fails to notice that Mary appears to be preoccupied of late,
in fact she is completely engrossed in her version of a star chart, this one's for her husband and whereas a
child's star chart keeps track of good deeds, this one keeps meticulous detail of all Joel's bad points.

I love the quote at the beginning of the book from the author 'To Alex - you constantly inspire me but you are
not the inspiration for the story of a grumpy woman married to an untidy man', but sometimes you get to wondering
just how does she know so much :)

A great read and a fun book to discuss with other member of a reading book club.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Easy and Funny Read 6 April 2011
Christina Hopkinson's novel is a wry look at modern-day marriage, totally honest, often funny and at times, alarmingly familiar. All too often it is the tiny irritations in life that make the most impact on how we are feeling; the wet towels left on the floor, the piles of loose change and crumpled tissues on the kitchen table, and yes, the pile of stuff at the bottom of the stairs. Mary decides she has had enough of Joel's laziness and compiles a complicated list that has debits and credits according to his behaviour - if he goes over his allocated credits, then she is thinking about divorce. Only Joel has no idea that the list exists.

At times I got incredibly irritated by Mary's whinges, on the face of it she has a pretty nice life, with a handsome husband, two beautiful children, a part time job that she loves and good friends. I began to ask myself what was the point of all of this. There were other times when I found myself nodding in agreement when she described Joel's annoying habits, but other times I was envious of her, and wishing I had a husband who could rustle up a fabulous meal at the drop of a hat - even if it did mean that he used every pan in the house.

This is a funny read that at times deals with some serious subjects. Mary's friend Mitzi and her husband Michael are two obnoxious characters who take a starring role towards the end of the book, even if it's a toe-curlingly embarrassing scene to read!

An easy read, that doesnt take long and looks at the everyday stresses and strains of life in a humorous and touching way.
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3.0 out of 5 stars Chic-lit it isn't! 22 Oct. 2014
Read my full review:

Picture this, I’m sat at the dining table eating my home-cooked dinner and my husband walks in with Burger King stains on his chin and grease on his ‘dinner jumper’, he’s all smiles. He’s happy to see me after a long day at work (and after a grim fast food stop-off), but there’s fear in his eyes too. I’ve cooked dinner, he’s clearly eaten already, he didn’t let me know he wouldn’t be home for dinner and he hasn’t – I can tell just by looking at him – paid our cheque into the bank. Well, this scene is the embodiment of Hopkinson’s book. Modern, real life marriage.

I’m one of those old-fashioned (but relatively young) people who dash into the Quick Choice section of the library to choose something, anything, to read for their next quick fix. I chose The Pile of Stuff at the Bottom of the Stairs by Christina Hopkinson because it looked like an easy, quick hit. Don’t be deceived by the obvious man versus woman, or more accurately, woman versus man humour, it is laugh-out-loud and, if you’re married, completely believable.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
1.0 out of 5 stars Not my cup of tea.
Frankly, it bored me. Too many chapters with nothing but whinging and criticism. Pile of stuff? Too right.
Published 4 months ago by Pamela
5.0 out of 5 stars just like so many households
Hilarious, just like so many households, frustrated woman fight the daily battle,
Published 6 months ago by T. Knowles
5.0 out of 5 stars lovely read
Excellent read
Published 6 months ago by K O'Neill Mrs Kathleen O'Neill
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
Good Book, Easy read
Published 8 months ago by Stacy morris-Stather
1.0 out of 5 stars One Star
Boring, couldn't waste any time on finishing it.
Published 9 months ago by f spall
5.0 out of 5 stars Laugh out loud!
So funny! Recommend a read :)
Published 10 months ago by Vicki
1.0 out of 5 stars One Star
Found this story a bit monotonous. Felt the main character limp.
Published 12 months ago by joyce kingham
1.0 out of 5 stars Would not even pass this book on to a charity shop. it's going in the...
One long whinge, would not recommend this book, flat characters, didn't finish it. Who ever wrote the blurb on the cover and the reviews want their heads feeling. Read more
Published 13 months ago by Well read
1.0 out of 5 stars An unpleasant book
I enjoyed the premise of this book. The idea that a woman, fed up with inequality in the home, would focus on the things her husband does not do in the domestic sphere and try to... Read more
Published 13 months ago by Mrs. K. A. Wheatley
5.0 out of 5 stars Really compelling
Insightful and well written exploration of relationships and the effect of children on them.
Great plot and well rounded characters.
Published 16 months ago by cat26
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