Today is the final day on Tracy Bloom's Book Tour for her fantastic novel No-One Ever Has Sex On A Tuesday.
I was thrilled to be asked to join the tour as I've been a fan of Tracy for a while. She was one of the first authors to ask me to review her book when I had just started up The Book Geek. I instantly fell in love with Tracy's Witt, interesting mind and fantastic writing skills. No-One Ever Has Sex On A Tuesday won me over and I have read more of her work, but I'll keep hush on that for the next tour.
Not only do I have a review for you today Book Geeks, but an extract of the pivotal first antenatal class scene from the book, and a book give away courtesy of Random House. How good is that?
Childhood sweethearts Matthew and Katy agree they must never see each other again after they end up in bed together following a school re-union.
So all is forgotten... until eight months later when a shock meeting at an antenatal class forces them to confront the fact that Matthew could be the father of Katy's baby. Oblivious to the mayhem unfolding, Matthew's highly-strung wife frets over giving birth to twins and Katy’s much younger boyfriend refuses to take fatherhood seriously.
Love and life are messy but Katy and Matthew take things to a whole new level as deep emotions begin to resurface and hormones run riot. How will they navigate their way through this almighty cock-up?
Matthew thought he had done a pretty good job of forgettingsince the school reunion. The guilt had almost torn him apart to start with. Not really the sex part, in some ways that felt incidental. What kept him awake at night was the fact that he had taken such joy in another woman’s company. The ultimate betrayal. He found himself constantly reliving their meeting, desperately searching for something that would let him off the hook. She must have done something wrong, there must have been something not to like. He just needed something that would banish her from his mind. In theend it was Alison who managed to kidnap his thoughts back again by announcing she was finally pregnant, and miraculously some joy had filtered back into their married life. At that point he had sat himself down and told himself enough was enough. It was a one night stand that should never have happened and now he must put his all into his wife andthier new family on its way.
But here she was. Eight months later. In a hospital. At anantenatal class. Walking towards him. Fat.
“Welcome, welcome,” boomed the lady in charge of the class,interrupting Matthew’s highly disturbed thoughts. She roseunsteadily out of her chair, her wobbly bits and greying hair the product of four pregnancies leading to four energetic boys aged from twenty-one to six. Her impressive child-bearing thighs stressed a pair of over washed black leggings whilst pink polka dots stretched over her ample bosom and bobbed around like buoys on a stormy sea.
“I’m Joan and you must be Ben and Katy. Don’t worry,you’ve missed nothing really, just the usual toilets and fire exits stuff. Sit down, and now that we’re all here, we can do some introductions.”
Ben and Katy took the last two seats, which were directlyopposite Matthew. Matthew’s stunned glare was pointedly ignored by Katy, who refused to raise her eyes from the floor.
“So let’s start by going round the room and you can each giveyour name, when the baby is due and tell us what your biggestconcern is about childbirth,” said Joan.
Matthew watched mesmerised as the man Katy had arrivedwith leant over and whispered into her ear.
“Hi, I’m Rachel,” a sweet-looking girl muttered. “I’m due onthe 1st of September and I’m most worried about knowing how to push and when.” She went bright red, clearly not used to talking infront of strangers.
“Hello, I’m Richard and I’m most worried about making sureI know exactly what I can best do to help my wife,” he said,smiling at his wife reassuringly and squeezing her hand.
“Fetch me a bucket,” muttered Ben a little too loudly”
“And what about you?” said Joan gently to a girl in her lateteens, clutching the hand of the boy next to her. “There’sabsolutely no need to be shy, we are all in this together. Why don’t you just start by telling us your name? You don’t have to say anything else if you don’t want to.”
“Well Joan, I’m Charlene,” began the girl, moving forward inher chair and adeptly flicking her shaggy, dirty blonde hair over her shoulder causing the numerous bangles on her wrist to jangle noisily. “And this is my Luke. And he is the father of my child,” she said proudly raising his hand with hers as if in a victory salute.
“And when….,” started Joan.
“We started going out when we were fifteen, when he walkedme home from McDonalds after Jez Langton dumped me because I wouldn’t give him the toy out of my Happy Meal. I’m his only ever girlfriend aren’t I, Luke?” she said, nudging him. Luke stared at the floor and said nothing.
“Well that’s wonderful. So when are…” Joan started again.
“And we’re getting married aren’t we, Luke?” Charleneinterrupted again. “As soon as I told him I was pregnant he went straight out a bought me a ring. I’m not kidding. He’s been just brilliant. He is the kindest most wonderful person you could ever meet, aren’t you, Luke?” Luke nodded at the floor.
“Well that’s just wonderful Charlene,” said Joan. “I’m sothrilled that you are both embracing your pregnancy in this way. Now we do like to help our very young mums as much as we canand it so happens that next week we are all going out for a pizza, so we can all have a proper chat, you know in a nice, unthreatening environment, about anything that maybe on your mind.”
“Which pizza place?” asked Charlene abruptly.
“Well, err, I’m not sure,” replied Joan. “I guess it’ll be PizzaPalace as that’s where we usually go.”
“Sorry, no can do. They don’t do deep-pan and Luke only eatsdeep-pan.”
“I see. Actually it’ll be girls only, so maybe you could comealong and leave Luke at home?”
Charlene turned to look at Luke questioningly who stillrefused to raise his eyes from the floor. “We’ll discuss it and I’ll let you know if Luke doesn’t mind,”replied Charlene eventually.
“Right you are then. Now Luke is there anything that youwant to add?” asked Joan, turning to the boy sat next to Charlene. He slouched further down in his chair and grunted a no. “Well that’s fine. There will be plenty of opportunities for you to say whatever you want,” said Joan beaming at his bowedhead. “So who do we have next?”
Ben was waiting and ready. He looked around the room as ifchecking to see if his audience was listening. “Hello. I’m Ben and I am most worried that the poor kidmight be ginger,” said Ben grinning from ear to ear.
Matthew’s mouth fell open in astonishment. Who was thisguy?
Now it was Katy’s turn. Matthew could feel himself holdinghis breath.
“Err, hi, I’m Katy. I’m, err, due in five weeks and I guess I am pretty much petrified of everything.”
Matthew’s head started to spin as Katy’s words kicked off achain of thought he had stopped himself from putting into motion from the moment he saw Katy enter into the room. So if she was due in September that made December nine months ago. When exactly was that damn reunion, he thought desperately? He wasn’t exactly sure until the memory of Katy dragging him across the school hall to the soundtrack of Last Christmas by Wham came flooding back, bringing a wave of nausea to his throat. There wasn’t a chance, was there? It couldn’t be his could it? He couldn’t have had a one night stand resulting in a pregnancy just as his wife managed to conceive after five years of trying? That couldn’t happen, surely? Katy would have made sure they were safe. She must have been on the pill. Women don’t get to thirty-six withouthaving a baby and not have birth control fully in hand do they?
And who was the clown sitting next to her? He wouldn’t be here if he wasn’t the father would he? His breathing was going too fast now, too fast not to benoticed. He looked around nervously and was suddenly aware thateveryone was looking at him and Alison was nudging him. Shit, it was his turn. His turn to tell the class what his biggest fear was concerning childbirth. How about your wife finding out she might not be the only one carrying your child.
“Sorry, got to get some air,” he managed to gasp before he gotup and virtually ran for the door. Joan chuckling was the last thing he heard as the door swung shut behind him.
“Oh there’s always one who finally gets a reality check oncethey get to this stage. Give him a minute and he will be as right as rain, you mark my words. Why don’t you tell us about both of you?” she said looking at the woman sat next to Matthew’s empty chair.
“Well that was my husband Matthew who isn’t normally likethat I promise you. I have no idea what’s come over him. Anyway my name is Alison. We’ve just moved up from London with Matthew’s job because we wanted a house with a garden rather than the flat we were living in. We are really going to need it you see because we are actually expecting twins,” she said with rather a smug smile.
A hushed “Wow,” ebbed around the room followed by aspontaneous round of applause. Katy clapped her hands just a little bit slower than everyone else, staring at the closed door Matthew was no doubt hiding behind.
Thank you very much for joining me today and I hope you will love No-One Ever Has SEX On A Tuesday.
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