Length: 320 pages
Please note the cover image leads to a universal Amazon buy link for the book
What they say:
“SAM! AVA! Get downstairs, NOW. Have you done your TEETH? HAIR? SHOES? Come on, come on, come on, we’re going to be bastarding late again. No, I haven’t seen Lego Optimus Prime, and nor do I give a shit about his whereabouts. Sam, will you stop winding your sister up and take this model of the Shard that I painstakingly sat up and created for you last night so that I wouldn’t be in trouble with your teacher. I mean, so that you wouldn’t be in trouble with your teacher. No, it doesn’t smell of ‘dirty wine’. Well, maybe it does a little bit. Look, Sam, I haven’t got time to argue. Just hold your nose and get in the car, okay? AVA! TEETH! HAIR! SHOES!”
Gemma is only just holding it together – she’s a single parent, she’s turning 40 and her seven-year-old daughter has drawn a cruelly accurate picture which locates Gemma’s boobs somewhere around her knees. So when her new next-door neighbour, Becky, suggests that Gemma should start dating again, it takes a lot of self-control not to laugh in her face.
But Becky is very persuasive and before long Gemma finds herself juggling a full-time job, the increasingly insane demands of the school mums’ Facebook group and the tricky etiquette of a new dating world. Not only that, but Gemma has to manage her attraction to her daughter’s teacher, Tom, who has swapped his life in the City for teaching thirty six to seven year olds spelling, grammar, basic fractions – and why it’s not ok to call your classmate a stinky poo-bum…
It’s going to be a long year – and one in which Gemma and Becky will learn a really crucial lesson: that in the end, being a good parent is just about being good enough.
The review: You all know by now rom coms/ chick lit/ mom lit are totally my bag, and so I jumped for this, the story of Gemma who is very much trying to juggle work life with parenting, aghast that she is floundering at the latter, only finding out about projects and school trips the night before and having to deal with inappropriate words coming out of her kids’ mouths.
I suppose I’ll jump straight in. Gemma, and her new neighbour Becky, whose child has just started the same school, are in a world of privilege, and one where they need to be keeping up with everyone or else they’ll be talked about by a group of mum’s that are always ready to talk! I really enjoyed all the day to day interactions, Gemma realising at the end of Christmas holidays that her and her child were supposed to be reading every day, finding out the night before a school tour that a) it was on and b) that waterproof trousers were necessary.
I liked all of this aspect to it, the one place it headed a bit south for me was the language. Basically every single word for every part of the anatomy out there being used by the kids or them suddenly mentioning sexual things, which is fine and even funny at times but it was very regular and got a bit old. Bad language was a given and I don’t mind that either but it was practically on every single page, a child saying something or Becky’s constant cursing … and I found myself sighing and willing the book to speed up.
The story was a nice idea, Gemma’s workplace having issues while Becky searched for a job that would fit in around her daughter and also a point of view from a new male teacher who was trying to cope with pushy mums. I wanted to see how they all got on, and didn’t consider not finishing, but at the same time this wasn’t for me. Thanks to Little Brown and Netgalley for the book in return for an honest review.