It’s every parents’ nightmare – the start of the school holidays – and instead of sitting in the sun, reading a book over a cold, crisp glass of Pinot Grigio, Mummy has two bored moppets to attend to. After frantically booking sports camps, child minder slots, not to mention time off work, Mummy is exhausted. But this is only the beginning…
After being dragged to join the school’s PTA in the new term by an annoyingly kind-spirited neighbour, Mummy is stuck with organising the Christmas Fayre and pleasing all the overly disapproving parents. In combination with getting to know her father’s surprise new glamorous (and much younger) wife, and being forced to spend more time with her narcissistic mother, life isn’t cutting her much of a break. What more could possibly happen?
Warning: do not read Why Mummy Swears on public transport. You will definitely either laugh out loud like a nutter, or cry. I did both. And then no-one wanted to sit next to me. Which was better, actually… But still.
I loved the first book in this series, Why Mummy Drinks. Loved it. It was hilarious, brave, and completely captivating. You can check out my review here. The problem is, when you’ve loved the first book so much, there’s always that fear that the second won’t live up to your now sky-high expectations. I picked up Why Mummy Swears with some trepidation. But not to worry, because I immediately fell in love with it!
Why Mummy Swears is just as funny, sassy, and cool as the first book. The children are a year older, and the problems are somewhat different, but if you read the first book you will find yourself comforted by the familiarity of the world. This is an author who is sure of her style, and of what she has to say. The language is cleverly used to convey character in the first-person, diary style, and doesn’t slip for even a second. So much so, you have to begin to wonder how much of this is really fiction? They do say the best writers walk a fine line between the two, and I would say that’s the case here. If anything, as your attachment to the characters grows, and with a slightly more challenging and emotive storyline, Why Mummy Swears is the better book of the two.
This time, as well as continuing the Big Topic theme of the difficulties of raising children in a modern world (the internet, boredom, the lack of support, other people’s expectations), Gill Simms tackles women in the workplace. Working mothers. The point is very clearly made that women with children are treated differently. The relationship to child rearing between the father and the mother is tested. Ultimately, these issues are addressed and resolved to everyone’s satisfaction, but the ideas of inherent unfairness in a patriarchal society linger. It’s clever. The author doesn’t offer suggestions for improvement, just flags up the problem and lets the reader decide for themselves. And if you are a woman in the workplace, a working mother, I think you’ll recognise a few things.
Also, on a less serious note, I have become rather too attached to Judgy dog. I love him. I follow him on Instagram and I think I would be absolutely devastated if something were to happen to him. I’ve never met this dog… Is that weird?
The book is quite negative as regards child rearing (and children in general). As a childless person, Why Mummy Swears did make me consider why anyone would put themselves through having such revolting creatures in their house… And sacrificing all their time, only to be so unappreciated at the end of it… I could have done with a little more familial congeniality. And if my husband had expressed such sexist and, frankly, selfish views, I think I would have slapped him.
I absolutely adored this book. It’s wonderful. There is a very good reason it’s immediately hit the bestseller list, and I highly recommend it.