The Mumsnet Book Club continues to deliver on all fronts when it comes to their book selection. We have had beautiful novels, heart-wrenching novels, novels that tackle tough themes and novels that force you to confront uncomfortable truths. Now we have a novel that is uproariously funny. Why Mummy Swears by Gill Sims is the perfect summer holiday read. Pack it in your suitcase because you will want to read this on your holibobs.
A Fabulously Funny Read
This book is the much anticipated sequel to ‘Why Mummy Drinks’. I adored that book for its self-deprecating and accurate observations on motherhood, all delivered with a hefty dollop of humour. However, since reading that book I have embarked on the 100 days sober challenge and I was rather worried that I might have lost my sense of humour and no longer find the new novel funny. However, my fears were proven ill-founded because I was soon laughing a couple of pages in.
Ellen is still very much the same but she has kicked down the gate and now finds herself in a somewhat different pasture. She is now trying to juggle a new and challenging full-time job with being a mother and wife. There is much swearing and drinking in this book as she struggles to cope with everything that is thrown at her. The drinking was a sharp reminder as to why the 100 days challenge has been good for me. Drinking might be fun but I don’t miss the hangovers the next day; reading how Ellen had to endure them, as well as running around doing a million and one things, was a great reminder for why I shouldn’t be in a rush to open that wine bottle again.
An Easy Read
Why Mummy Swears is an easy read and on the surface it comes across as a frothy and rather lovely yet frivolous book. The reality is that the humour is laced with some spiky observations on a working woman’s place in society and marriage. It brings home the inequalities women still face and how predominately the role of carer still falls onto the woman, and how this can have a negative impact on your career. As such, Ellen doesn’t even reveal that she has children to her work colleagues for fear of being judged. This isn’t a deliberate action on her part, but she sees how a fellow colleague, who is a mother, is treated unfairly. When people wrongly assume she doesn’t have children she decides to keep quiet. A very accurate observation that there is still a long way to go when it comes to equality in the workplace. It still can feel very unfair being a woman and a mother.
A Funnier Bridget Jones
This book is a wittier and funnier Bridget Jones, sleep deprived and with plenty of baggage to boot. There was so much that I could relate to in this book, including the swearing (I’m only human) and the dreaded PTA. The passages on this made me laugh out loud and I could really relate to the description of it. We all have been guilty of seeing the PTA advance across the playground and running away and hiding. However, the PTA does a very important and often difficult job and again this novel reminded me of that. Next time I see them marching towards me I won’t be in such a rush to throw myself into the nearest bush.
Ellen doesn’t have a Mr Darcy but she does have her annoying husband – Simon. I felt I would have been swearing a great deal more had I been the one married to Simon. It made me realise how lucky I am to be married to Mr C, who might do my head in at times but at least he is supportive. Simon, on the other hand, spends much of the book acting like a petulant child. He is not supportive of Ellen’s desire to return to full-time work and can only see how this is going to have a negative impact on him. For the majority of the book I was willing Ellen to murder (and I don’t normally advocate violence of any kind) or at least divorce her husband.
A Juggling Act
Despite the fact that Ellen is now working full-time, she is the one that spends the majority of the book dashing around, parenting, cooking and cleaning. As a result, resentment builds up between her and Simon, Ellen decides to hire an Au Pair to help with the load. However, that doesn’t quite go to plan. Simon and Ellen’s marriage continues to hang on by a thread and they even end up sleeping in separate rooms.
She’s Not Perfect
Ellen is not perfect. She can be judgmental, a little bit bonkers and annoying, but that’s why I can relate to her as I can see a little bit of myself in her. If we are honest, we all have a little bit of Ellen inside of us, whether we want to or not. I certainly hope I have some of her good qualities. She wants to do her best for the children and she always whole-heartedly throws herself into everything and any situation, including almost delivering a baby. Don’t worry, she is an oasis of calm in the madness, thanks to the many episodes of Don’t Call The Midwife that she has watched.
I Love A Rant
I loved this book because it appealed to my inner-ranty side and it was also an incredibly easy read. Sometimes we all need an easy book, which just makes us laugh from start to finish. When the sun is shining I want to be able to kick back in the garden with a fabulous, feel-good read and this book delivered.
Order this book for your beach holidays and find out how Ellen dealt with the PTA, whether she made a good midwife, if she conquered her work/life balance, if work eventually found out that she had children, and, finally, if her marriage and family survived.
Cheers to that.
Why Mummy Swears is available to order from Amazon.
Disclaimer – please be aware that I was gifted this novel as I am working with the Mumsnet Book Club. However, all words, opinions and images are my own