The Bad Mother's Handbook - Kate Long
Source: Review copy from Author
For seventeen-year-old Charlotte Cooper, it's too late. Despite her best efforts to finish school, tune out her angry, slightly hysterical mother, and cope with her loving but dotty grandmother, she is unexpectedly (now that's an understatement) pregnant. And don't even mention the jerk who knocked her up. Charlotte's mother, Karen, is trying to convince herself that there are worse things than becoming a grandmother at thirty-three. For instance, there's wanting to kill Charlotte for the mess she's made of her life. Between struggling to pay the bills and halfheartedly filling out questionnaires on Internet dating sites, Karen uncovers a scandalous family secret involving her own birth, and then falls back into bed with her sexy ex-husband. So much for perfect timing. In the meantime, Karen's mother, Nan, is having a wee bit of trouble with names (sometimes her own). But that doesn't keep her from retaining a few things she'd rather forget. Of course, Nan knows that everything will work out fine for Charlotte and the baby-these things usually do. Now, if only she could put the pieces of her own fragmented memory together, she might have an interesting tale or two to share. In this wickedly funny, disarmingly moving novel, three generations of mothers learn that it's the simplest mistakes that can change your life forever. With wit and wisdom, Kate Long proves that there are as many kinds of mothers as there are daughters, but the love that binds them all is what truly matters.
What an absolute treasure this book is.
From start to finish I was drowned in a sea of love for nan. Even though the book is told by all three of the family ladies, Nan, her daughter Karen and her daughter Charlotte, to me nan stole the show completely. Whether this is because she is so alike to how my nan was and their conditions and mannerisms where the same I don't know. Everyone's different though and the wonder of books and reading means we all connect with different characters for our own reasons.
As a mother this book was a fabulous reminder to how we were, and how we are, not just as parents, but as every day adults and teenagers. It's bursting full of every emotion available and has you reminiscing about your own life as you reminisce with Nan or Karen. With Charlotte you get to go back to the needy first time mother and the bitchy teenager. It's a brilliant obstacle course of life.
I can't express how much this book took me by surprise, I was expecting a funny quirky tale of teenage pregnancy that is full of drama and attitude resulting in bad parenting, what I got was an eye opening tale of family values, love and history.
One slight issue with the book though, as a northerner and an ex majorette I'm appalled that majorettes was classed as using Pom poms! Majorettes use batons in the UK, Morris dancers use Pom poms. Tut haha
Heart warningly fabulous. A must read for all ages.
Buy 'The Bad Mother's Handbook' here...