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15 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A thought-provoking, hilarious romp through family life and definitely not just for women...
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...
Published on 23 Jun 2011 by Jon Rance

versus
7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Easy and Funny Read
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...
Published on 6 April 2011 by Lincs Reader


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15 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A thought-provoking, hilarious romp through family life and definitely not just for women..., 23 Jun 2011
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.

This isn't chic-lit, it's deeper, more meaningful and says something important about how we live today - trying to have everything and risking ending up with nothing. It should resonate with both women and men in equal measure.

Top marks Christina for a great read. If you find this book amongst the pile of stuff at the bottom of the stairs, I'd sit down and read it and worry about the cleaning up later.
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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
By 
Karen Baxter (Wales UK) - See all my reviews
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Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (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
By 
Lincs Reader (Lincolnshire, England) - See all my reviews
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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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1.0 out of 5 stars An unpleasant book, 26 Aug 2014
By 
Mrs. K. A. Wheatley "katywheatley" (Leicester, UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Pile of Stuff at the Bottom of the Stairs (Paperback)
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 effect some kind of change to ensure a more equal partnership sounded reasonable and in the right hands could be thought provoking and funny.

As it was, I found this book more and more unpleasant as I read on. Mary comes across as graceless and ungrateful in equal measures. She strikes me as being more than a little unhinged. We all appreciate some of the domestic situations she describes, but is she really a) so blind to what she has that is good in her life, b) so surrounded by filth? I'm sorry, but her domestic descriptions did not ring true for a woman who is depicted as constantly cleaning and has a cleaner in for three hours a week and lives in a small house. If you clean your toilets as much as she does it is virtually impossible for them to sustain the kind of filth she's talking about. If you're that anal about scraping dirt from round the fridge moulding, would you really go on holiday and leave rotting food around the house for ants to find? It just didn't add up. It feels like the author exaggerates things to such an extent that the reality of what is most women's domestic life, and the humour, got thrown out in an attempt to blow everything up to cartoonish proportions. I sympathise with much of what she describes. I have a husband who leaves dirty socks about, and puts empty cereal packets back etc, but I did find myself losing sympathy with her about the way she fetishes it and her inability to do anything for or about her own stuff.

I also found it difficult to like Mary. She seems to hate herself, hate her life and hate her husband. Because we see everything through her disappointed and damaged consciousness there is no sense of what Mary brings to the table to make people like/love her. Many of the characters come across as vehicles, setting up another whinge Mary can indulge in about her 'poor me' life. Really? If her life were as intolerable as she describes, why wouldn't she have asked for a divorce before, and a divorce from all her horrible friends, relatives and her job?

The sexual element of the story seemed weirdly gratuitous and unnecessary. Do we really need to indulge in lesbian erotica and coprophilia in a book otherwise dominated by scraping s*** from buggy wheels with toothbrushes and infestations of mice in the kitchen cupboards? I'm no prude but I find unconvincing descriptions of sex and/or violence in novels, seemingly put there just to keep people turning the pages rather than to add anything at all to the story utterly tedious.
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3.0 out of 5 stars Chic-lit it isn't!, 22 Oct 2014
This review is from: The Pile of Stuff at the Bottom of the Stairs (Paperback)
Read my full review: http://theedittin.wordpress.com/2014/10/22/review-christina-hopkinsons-pile-of-stuff-at-the-bottom-of-the-stairs/

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.

http://theedittin.wordpress.com
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars How true to life!, 31 July 2011
I found this book so true to life (apart from the Norfolk episode which kept me giggling for ages!) Everyone who is married should read this and realise that nothing is perfect. Christina must write from experience as she has domestic hell portrayed exactly right. I shall certainly view my 'posh' friend through very different eyes now!
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Domestic bliss - not quite!, 20 Oct 2011
By 
D. Jones (Warwickshire) - See all my reviews
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This book is a bit like those reality, fly-on-the-wall type of tv programs, where you can be nosey and look at other people's domestic life. It is a humorous, very well written book. The characters are rounded out with enough detail so as to be credible. I am sure you would recognise the types in your own life.

The story revolves around a middle class couple, Mary and husband Joel. Mary is a very grumpy, domestic-goddess obsessed character who longs for perfection in her life. Her idea of entertainment is to read Ideal Home interior magazines in bed. She wants the perfect well-behaved toddlers (they are not), she wants the perfect husband who shares all the chores and child care duties - he tries his best, but to be honest I could not see any husband come up to her standards.

As she is an organisation addict, she sets up a spreadsheet to highlight each and every domestic 'transgression' her husband makes over a period of six months with the end goal being to decide whether to possibly divorce him or not. Some of her friends are far richer, with huge houses along with nannies and maids they take for granted. She hides her envy, but of course behind the perfect facade, they too, have their foibles, which the book hilariously describes.

Towards the end of the book, the six months is reached and the story must resolve itself. I won't spoil its conclusion, but enough to say the author avoids any farcical drama and treats it with realism.

Overall an excellent, humorous light read in which you will no doubt recognise the faults and foibles of the male species in your own life.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars This gets six stars from me!, 23 Mar 2011
Five stars does not do this brilliant and hilarious read justice. I want to give it another star just for the 'episode' in Norwich at which I found myself laughing out loud on the tube. This book will appeal to all, women and men, whether they are the nagee or the nagor. Every incident in the story is entirely plausible in any relationship (well apart from the Norwich 'episode' I hope...) and it is this that makes the book well worth a read.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Great fun; all mothers will relate to this!, 17 Mar 2011
By 
Beansmummy (Oxfordshire, UK) - See all my reviews
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This book appealed to me, and I wasn't disappointed. The story follows a harrassed working mother of two small boys who has stopped recognising herself; why is she constantly angry about everything, feeling as if noone does anything except her, and increasingly resentful of her laid-back husband? Everyone else tells her how lucky she is to have him, so why doesn't she feel it? She starts to test him, with little things at first, and then starts to formulate a plan on which to base a decision about whether or not she is going to leave him!

She devises a scheme of debits and credits, like a secret star chart, against which to measure her husband...

It's a brilliantly entertaining idea, and we watch as her plan unfolds and eventually unravels. In the meantime we get to know her yummy mummy friends, and others, as she begins to gain some perspective on her life.

Apart from one unnecessarily revolting episode (you'll have to read it; I'm not describing it here) which reveals her old 'friend' in a new light, this book was most enjoyable. It will resonate with any busy mother (who is married to any normal man), and I recommend it.
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1.0 out of 5 stars Would not even pass this book on to a charity shop. it's going in the bin, 27 Aug 2014
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This review is from: The Pile of Stuff at the Bottom of the Stairs (Paperback)
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.Makes me wonder if people get paid for these, or they write positive reviews
In order to have positive reviews written on their books.As this was a book club choice I felt obliged to really make an effort to Finnish it, It was badly written, implausible characters, the so called humour and insights into family life advertised on the cover was just not there
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The Pile of Stuff at the Bottom of the Stairs
The Pile of Stuff at the Bottom of the Stairs by Christina Hopkinson (Paperback - 16 Feb 2012)
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