Tuesday, January 10, 2006

The Bad Mother's Handbook by Kate Long

Author: Kate Long
ISBN # 0330419331
Publisher: Picador
1st Published: 2004
365 pages

What do you get when you put three generations of women from the same family in the same house, with no men to act as buffers? You get flying hormones, raging arguments & a whole lot of love. Charlotte is 17 & stroppy; Nan is 79 & pretty much embarking on her 2nd childhood; & in the middle, there’s Karen, who at 33-years-old, thinks it’s about time she got to live her own life, rather than looking out for everyone else.

This funny, witty look at the ever-changing relationships between these 3 women is wonderfully handled & I found myself giggling every other paragraph. I found I could sympathise with each of the characters in turn, even when they were at logger-heads with each other, & I was constantly looking forward to how the next disastrous moment would play out. Having each chapter broken into sections told by each of them in turn also gives a unique perspective on the situation at hand & means the reader is often one small step ahead of the characters in terms of what they’re thinking, but never in terms of where the story is leading. Very cleverly done.

It’s not the kind of book I would usually choose to read, but, after hearing good things from others, when it came up in a swap, I grabbed it & I’m very glad I did. It’s an entertaining read that whiles away the hours nicely. I’d recommend it as either a beach-read or something to get into on one of those days when you’re just not feeling your best – it’s guaranteed to put a smile on your face, no matter how low you’re feeling when you start.

Rating: 7/10


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