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Having read some of Polly Williams' more recent novels, I was intrigued to go back and discover How To Be Married. I am a great chick-lit fan, and have spent many years reading the likes of Marian Keyes, Jane Green, Adele Parkes to name but a few. Therefore, I do like to think that I know what I'm talking about, to some extent anyway! So, let's recap the story slightly - Sadie Drew, husband and young son all move back to London, having been living in Canada since they married three years ago. Tom is a hardcore city worker; Sadie firmly believes that she is the worst wife since time began. What follows is a highly amusing tales of Sadie getting locked in other people's houses, turning up to Tom's work functions in old clothes, getting drunk with old friends, and generally not being a suitable city wife. What makes this tale more interesting is the introduction of Enid, an old lady who Sadie meets by chance in the park, who then takes her on a journey though her own interesting marriage, and decides to teach Sadie to be the perfect wife. This fascinating character is what made the story for me, and is, as far as I'm concerned, what makes this book stand out amongst others in the same genre. I would definitely recommend this to anyone who wants a bit of humour and fun in their lives!
After reading my last novel (see previous review if interested) I decided to have a little light hearted reading. My daughter bought me How To Be Married, by Polly Williams for my birthday a couple of months ago, so I had it on hand and ready to read!
I have read TONS of chicklit in my time. I like to alternate between heavy stuff and easy stuff, and tend to read in my work breaks while having a cuppa. This book filled that break very well, with a fairly large print spaced out on the page. In fact, if I think about it, the pages do resemble a children's book, but hey, I like kids books too!
There have been a veritable plethora of 'yummy mummy v domestic disaster' in recent years, and this is no exception.
Our hero of the day is called Sadie Drew, who has recently returned from Toronto where her hubby had been seconded. She herself is a florist part time, and a mum part time, to toddler Danny. There is the usual scornful mother in law; the usual 'other wives' to contend with; and the usual 'best single chum' for wild parties. So, all the ingredients are there to make this a perfect chicklit book.
The story unfolds, and we find Sadie accidentally making friends with an old lady who helps her after she has had a knock to the head from a fallen branch in a storm (did her mother never tell her not to stand under trees in thunder storms??). However, the relationship between the old lady and Sadie forms the basis of the book, and her quest to learn 'How To Be Married'.
So how did I relate to this tale? Well, I am older than our hero, but have lived abroad with a successful man who was more married to his work colleagues than to me. I was rather shocked that my daughter bought this for me, but she has never been one to take my feelings into too much consideration,which is a good thing as we don't ever take each other for granted, lol.
I related to it in part, shall I say. But not totally. I felt quite frustrated with Sadie, but I did understand where she was coming from. It was like watching a car crash about to happen for the most part, and I wanted to shout out to her 'look out!!'. It was quite funny, and I did actually 'laugh out loud' at times.
There were some very tender moments, when recalling past events (I will not spoil the plot) and I felt that they were written with insight. I wondered if the author Polly Williams had written from her own experience with these.
I really can't stand the term Alpha Wife. I wonder if I am an Alpha Wife (or was) as I am no longer married. I was houseproud, and entertained my husbands work friends (I hated every minute, actually). I dressed and behaved appropriately, like I was an actress, but it wasn't really me, and I never considered those people as my friends, and to be honest if they turned up on Facebook, I would ignore them!
Maybe I am an Alpha Female - much more scary!!
The book runs to 376 pages, but it isn't difficult to get to the end, due to it being a real page turner, funny, and a damn good yarn.
I highly recommend it to all women.
* * * Star * * *
This is a review of the book 'How to be married' by Polly Williams. It wouldn't be one I would have picked up myself as I didn't really rate the last book I read by this author 'the rise and fall of a yummy mummy' I didn't really rate it very much. However, a friend (who is herself getting married soon) bought me the book for my birthday so I had to read it!
I'm quite glad I did. It was on a similar theme to the previous book, eg. harrassed wife is a sloppy housekeeper and gets into various scrapes. But this one was definitely the better read of the two.
A brief outline of the book: Sadie Drew has moved back from Canada and is feeling a bit lost back in England with no mummy friends and a husband she thinks is cheating on her. A bizarre storm in the park leaves her with a light head injury and she meets old lady Enid who literally changes her life in a fairy godmother type role (hence the title).
Favourite bits: the evil mother in law that delivers insults by the bucket load (Sadie's not good enough for her son); the bit where florist Sadie is in a rich woman's appartment and gets caught by the owner trying on her designer shoes - oops! Oh I also laughed at the female friend who went for massages with 'happy endings' that tickled me (but not like that)!!
Worst bits: Sadie hates her new step mother to be and makes her out to be really common. I understand she misses her mum and doesn't want her replacing, but she insinuates someone who calls magazines 'books' is common and I think it's a regional/age thing because my nan called mags books and she wasn't at all common. Rant over!
Verdict: I quite liked this book but wasn't sad when I got to the end. Some of the themes covered in the book are touching and real although it does come accross as 'money no object' which is nice if that's your life and you can afford cleaners etc and can work a bit if you feel like it but don't really have to.
I liked the relationship Sadie built up with the other mums in her community who were all from different backgrounds but ultimately there for each other when one needed help.
I probably would read another one of Polly Williams' books, as they are good relaxation easy reading. Don't expect to be blown away though.
Since little man has been feeling a lot better I have managed to switch back from magazines to book, and I have now managed to crack through my second Mother's Day Book - How to be Married by Polly Williams. I had already read her 3 previous books and absolutely loved them all, so couldn't wait to get started on this one!
Sadie Drew thinks she is the world's worst wife. She doesn't cook or clean, and is happy as a working mum. That is until hubbie Tom gets a flash new job, and things begin to change. The Anderson wives are on par with the Stepford wives, and Sadie sticks out like a sore thumb. Sadie and Tom begin to argue more and more and Sadie wonders if she is still the woman her husband wants or needs. A chance meeting in Regents Park brings Enid into her life, full of wisdom and promises to transform Sadie in to the perfect wife
The book is written in the first person from Sadie's perspective. I normally prefer third person narrative, but this book was Sadie's story so the style really suited it. I loved Sadie from the outset, she was so real that this book could have almost been autobiographical, and I related to her on almost every level!! From not being the tidiest or the best cook, to leaving the house in slummy clothes. I could relate to her feeling like she was more in love with her son than her husband - it's one of those things you think that only you have felt. It seemed to be refreshingly honest!!
Despite the first person narrative, the descriptions of the supporting characters were excellent. Enid was a fantastic character, eccentric and wise and has that ability to speak her mind in a way that only the older generation can!! There were parts that made me blush, and then laugh hysterically! The Anderson wives all had very different characters, and you get to see how Sadie's perception of (some) of them changes as time goes on. I really liked Ruth, a successful lawyer who struggles to hold it together when hubbie Alex goes from being a househusband to one of the Anderson boys.
This book explores relationships and female friendships, but strays away from the predictable. There are a few twists and turns along the way and just when you think you know what is going to happen it moves in a different direction. I found it impossible to put down - It was a real slip into a hot bubble bath kind of book, which you find yourself still reading once it's gone cold!! I got through it in two nights, and felt really gutted when I finished it, not because of the ending, but because I just wanted to keep on reading!! You can't beat a book that can make you laugh and cry!!
I am going to stop saying this is the best book I have read this year as I seem to love everything I am reading at the mo - so many great releases at the moment!! However I did love this, and it was passed on to my best mate as part of a pile of books with strict instructions to read How to be married first. I got this book for mother's day as part of Tesco's ongoing 2 for £7 offer, but it is a pretty new one so widely available - Amazon price £3.85 delivered.
Paperback by Headline Books - 384 pages.
Sadie Drew thinks she's the world's worst wife. She doesn't keep her home spotless, she's a tad unorganised when it comes to paperwork and bills, and she's not exactly fond of her mother-in-law either. However, she loves being a mum and wife to her husband Tom, and everything seems just okay as it is. That is until Tom gets a promotion at works and starts to change towards Sadie. Suddenly, he's not happy with the Sadie of old and wants his wife to change so she mixes in better with the other high-flying wives and makes him look good. Sadie's devastated, and desperately wants to make Tom fall in love with her all over again. A chance meeting with Enid at the park might just be the answer to all of Sadie's problems...
I've been a fan of Polly Williams' books since I read and loved her debut novel The Rise and Fall of A Yummy Mummy good few years ago now, and since then I've made sure to read every book she has written. Her last novel, A Good Girl Comes Undone was fab but it was a few years ago, so I've been waiting a while for this one. It was scheduled for release a long while ago, but Polly changed publishers to Headline, and finally How To Be Married has hit the shelves. The gorgeous turquoise blue cover is a new look for Polly's books, and I hope it wins her a new set of readers too.
I actually started the book as soon as I received it a couple of months ago because I was so eager to read it, and I wasn't left disappointed. The book is written in the first person so we are in the head of lovely Sadie throughout the book, and see everything through her eyes. This works so well because we have to have sympathy for Sadie to make the book work, and through the writing style of Williams, we certainly get that. I loved Sadie straight away, she was a character that I could relate to and for once it was nice to see a housewife character who didn't always keep a tidy home and wasn't that bothered by the fact! Williams' always writes realistic female characters, and Sadie is one of her best yet.
The various relationships that Sadie has throughout the book kept me hooked, and I loved how different they all were. I thnk a lot of women will be able to relate to the relationship of Sadie and her mother-in-law, and I loved how cringingly awkward it was written between the pair. Why can mothers-in-law never see their sons are ever wrong?! Sadie's hubby Tom was quite unlikeable for the most part of the book, yet you can sort of understand where he's coming from in a way. I liked the balance of this particular storyline, and I feel Williams' captured the essence of their marriage perfectly.
My favourite part of the book was the scenes with Sadie and Enid at her lovely house where Sadie does her flowers (she's a florist). In these scenes, I felt the character of Sadie came to life, and I loved the wisdom that this elderly character imparted on Sadie, whether she wanted it or not! There was a bit of a puzzle about her throughout the book and I couldn't quite work it out, but it was nicely wrapped up in the end, and it was pretty emotional as well I have to say. The tenderness between the two strangers was incredibly touching, and I felt that Williams totally did this relationship the justice it deserved.
Relationships are probably the most written about thing in chick lit, but this book is fresh and totally had me absorbed right from the beginning. I loved the setting, I loved the characters but I also really enjoyed learning about floristry and flowers along the way too. Williams has clearly done her research into this profession because she writes about it with ease, and even someone who knows nothing about gardening and flowers (like me!) can enjoy it and imagine what is being written. It's always fun to read about something realistic in a fiction book, and I always appreciate the effort these authors go to to make the reading experience believable and full of facts for us.
This book was definitely worth the wait and I loved every page of it. I think it's definitely Polly's best book to date and judging by how I have loved her previous book, it's no mean feat! Yes, it is every so slightly predictable but I was enjoying the read so much I simply didn't care that I could guess how it was all going to end. The relationships were so excellent to read, and the twists and turns along the way kept me hooked. It's very well written, it has characters you can warm to and believe in, and most importantly, it's just a fantastic read. I highly recommend it, it's brilliant!
ISBN: 978-0755359356. Published by Headline in March 2010. Pages: 384. RRP: £6.99.
Thanks to the publishers for sending me a copy to review for http://chicklitreviews.com.
Thanks for reading.