Most helpful critical review
5 of 8 people found the following review helpful
Not a book for me!
on 9 March 2013
The book began quite well, although from the beginning I struggled to get over the very bizarre narrative that I just did not like at all. It was written in the first person from the point of view of Stella, the chairwoman of 'Mums Like Us', a new mums club based around the idea that no mother is perfect and we're all just getting by! The narrative is addressing the members of the club, which is really weird and I found it hard to like it, I couldn't settle into it and that was a shame right from the beginning. She was directly addressing them throughout, even so far as to point out where the biscuits were in her kitchen and other things that just didn't work for me.
Oddly though, Stella's husband Matt makes infrequent posts throughout the book, on his dad's football club blog and I really enjoyed these. Actually, I enjoyed these much more than Stella's story, and for some reason, his narrative worked so well. He was funny, and kind and I really liked Matt. Stella on the other hand, well. She tries to be the 'every woman' but I just didn't like her. Yes, some of the things she said ran true for me but others were written just to be inflammatory or to really poke fun at the mum's who do like to dress up, have the best for their kids, and I didn't particularly enjoy that side of it, although I have to confess 'smugaboo' did make me giggle.
My really huge problem with the book was its unrealistic story and progression. Stella went from being a normal mum doing normal things with her life, to a virtual media magnate, with exclusive access to the Prime Minister (!!), appearances on national television and a million pound selling calendar, all in a ridiculously small space of time and for silly reasons. I found myself getting more and more annoyed by it as I was reading, and there were times I was ready to give up on it. Yes, I know it's fiction, but I like a certain amount of believability in my books and I didn't feel that was there at all in this book. I disliked Stella the more I read on, and as things got completely silly, I just wanted to get to the end simply so I would know how the loose ends would be tied up, and also what would happen to Matt, probably the only one in the book I liked.
I was so disappointed by this book, especially as I had such high hopes for it. I found the narrative annoying, the main character particularly detestable and I didn't enjoy how unrealistic it was at all. As I said, I do know its fiction but it really wasn't for me simply because it wasn't a believable look at a parenting club, much like other books I've read on the subject. While it was at times funny, and I could relate to several of the parenting quips made in the book and I did laugh a few times, the bad far outweighed the good for me and I was left with a bit of a sour taste in my mouth afterwards. Sadly, it wasn't a debut novel I enjoyed that much, and would struggle to recommend!