When I first had my children, my husband took it upon himself to buy me some books that were fictional accounts of women and how their life had changed after having babies. There seem to be many books along this vein, mostly poking a bit of fun at how women feel at this stage of life, and I would describe the genre as not having a lot of plot, and being pretty easy to follow when you are severely sleep deprived and going through very much the same as these women yourself.
This book was first published in 2007. Its plot follows a mother called Hannah Allen, a woman who has become a stay at home mum to her two year old. She has just completed the move with her husband to New York where he grew up.
Hannah knows nobody, but her mother in law uses her contacts to find some women for Hannah to meet up with. The women make Hannah feel very insecure about all that she does as a mother and wife. It is certainly not a very pleasant environment to help women have a stable mental state when they are thrust into the backstabbing and bitchiness of New York.
Reading this as a mum, initially I must have found something appealing about the book as it has been read when new, but I have recently re-read it in an effort to get through a mountain of books in my pile to read. I picked it as I have been busy working marking exam papers, and I wanted something light and not needing much mental thought to read before I fall asleep, and this has been perfect for that.
Reading it now, I did find it a weak book that has severely dated in the five years or so since I first read this. Authors in this genre seem to put in little pop culture references like celebrity names and gossip, and this dates a book badly in my opinion. This one is not as bad as the book I am currently reading, but it did make me notice it a few times.
The plot to this book was ok in that it was not filled with quite so much domestic drudgery as you can get in this type of novel. Some women really are made out to be total drudges compared to their pre-pregnancy selves. While I see that the author does this to make the reader feel better, it doesn't really give a new mother much to look forward to I feel.
Here, I did find some things really did irritate me. Firstly, there are a lot of slang terms used throughout the book. So much so that the author felt the need to put a little glossary at the front of the book to help the reader. Some are quite offensive terms - like MILF, one that I think a few people will have come across, and I personally could not stand what is termed as the 'suicide hour' That time after 5pm when you are waiting for the husband to come home. While I get this is a hard part of the day and not always pleasant packing in bath and bedtime routines, I find it horrifying that this special sleepy time is being described in such a negative way. Don't get me wrong, I am often glad when my kids are tucked up, but I just think this is so negative.
I then found that littered throughout the book there are several instant messenger type conversations between some of the characters. These are vile. Not only are they littered with text slang that you see in text messages, there is just so much bitchiness in these interchanges and they were horrid to read, especially as I grew to like the main character. They were basically just slating her all the time from her clothes to her mothering skills, and I guess it felt in poor taste to me.
One bit of the novel I did like (and I realise that this might make me sound juvenile) was that the couple central to the story had this little silly thing they did where they left little notes to each other where they had changed the names of popular films into possible Titles for pornographic films. These always made me have a little laugh while I was reading, and helped to keep me interested in reading the story.
This wasn't so bad that I stopped reading, but I don't think there is much here even for fans of this genre. I realise I am probably now getting towards the end of this market now my offspring are over 5, but I still do enjoy some of it if well written.
I can't say I would recommend it now, though I might of five years ago.