Top positive review
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A thought-provoking, hilarious romp through family life and definitely not just for women...
on 23 June 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.