This is a review of the 2007 book 'The egg race' by Polly Williams. I got a real sense of déjà vu when reading the first few chapters but I write down all the books I read in an A4 a-z book so I checked and hadn't read it before so I can only assume it's either similar to another read or I didn't finish it the first time I picked it up (which is rare for me).
A bit about the story
Funnily enough, this book is not about a school egg and spoon race, it does, of course refer to the fertility issues associated with women's eggs and this book follows Stevie Johnson who is getting married to Jez, both are keen to start a family. Just not with each other it seems! The wedding goes ahead after a wobbly start and their honeymoon in Thailand throws a few tests their way. When they both get back to England they continue to ignore each other and quite frankly; it's not going well.
Keys in a basket?
The couple meet another couple on holiday and things get a bit erm dodgy in their private infinity pool and Jacuzzi. I could see that one coming from a mile as they got drunker and less inhibited.
The old ones are the best
Stevie's childhood friend Sam features heavily throughout and you can't help but wonder if something will ever happen between them, despite Stevie setting him up with her best mate Lara.
Here, there and everywhere
The book zips between London and New York (and Thailand) pleasingly and this injects a quite interesting background to the story. I love New York so welcome it featuring in this book.
For goodness sake!
To describe the difference between Stevie and Katy (her old childhood rival) the book describes Stevie's 9 stone frame as heavy and wobbly which I frankly find a bit insulting. A size 12 is neither fat nor overweight so please give it a rest!
We are left wondering through the book who will get pregnant first? But it's not the be and end all to this book as there is plenty of other stuff going on! As the women head to their 40s they are starting to panic and regret waiting so long before settling down.
This book was an OK read but I did find it a bit slow in places and I really hoped that the outcome was more exciting but I had guessed what would happen. I'm not saying here because I don't want to spoil it for anyone but as reads go it was quite mediocre to me.
When I saw on Amazon that Polly Williams had released a new book, I decided I would order it straight away, as I had enjoyed her debut novel "The Rise and Fall of a Yummy Mummy" so much. I expected to enjoy this one just as much as her first one, as I have often found second novels better than an author's debut so I eargerly awaited it's arrival. The compact little hardback arrived a few days later, with a lovely bright blue cover, and I began my new book (don't you just love a brand new book?!).
As mentioned, this is the second novel by author Polly Williams. Williams has previously worked as a journalist before having her own baby. Then came her first novel loosly based on her experiences as a mum, and following that comes this one, The Egg Race.
Now a quick note to mention. You may see this book in hardback edition with the cover shown on this website, bright blue bearing the title of The Egg Race. However, for whatever reason, the publisher's have renamed the book for it's paperback released, and it has been called "A Bad Bride's Tale". So don't purchase the two books like I almost did thinking they are different! I think it is wrong of the publishers to change the title, especially as on the back of The Bad Bride's Tale, it is only written in tiny letters at the bottom that it has been previously published as The Egg Race! So just watch out when you are looking for this book.
The book centres around Stevie Johnson, a thirty-something woman who is engaged to a man named Jeremy. However, she is now unsure that he is the man for her, but scared that her biological clock is ticking and that she won't find another man to reproduce with Stevie decides to go ahead with her wedding, for better or for worse. Alongside Stevie's story, we meet Katy Norris, an attached thirty-something who again is with a man she is unsure of but this time, Katy is desperate to get married and have children before it's too late. But is her boyfriend Seb thinking the same thing as Katy or are they too headed in different directions? And what will happen when the 2 couples bump into each other?!
Now, the title of the book would suggest that this book is based around the thirty-something year old woman's race to have a baby before she is unable to concieve anymore. However, I found that this actually wasn't the whole story throughout the book. I actually found that the book more focused on the relationships between the characters and the lifelong friendships that we form with people, and how things can change in your life in just a heartbeat. Yes, the children reference did run throughout the book, but not as much as I would have thought, especially because this is really what the title hints heavily at.
The characters were well-written and you could see which way the author was trying to make you feel about certain characters. For example, it is clear we are meant to love Stevie as our main character, and want it all to work out for her in the end, yet we hate Jez because frankly, he is a bit of a pain in the bottom, and not your ideal husband material to be frank! Katy was instantly unlikeable although I did warm to her as the novel went on, whereas I couldn't stand snooby stuck-up Seb from the off! One other character I loved and could very much empathise with was Poppy, Stevie's younger married sister and mother of three. Poppy got married young and then brought her first child in the world, and now is wondering whether she did the right thing in settling down with her husband straight away. The relationship between these 2 characters is very close and sisterly, and makes me wish I had had a sister growing up!
As I said I really enjoyed the first book by this author but to be honest, I didn't actually enjoy this one as much. It was a fun story, but I just couldn't get into it, especially in the first couple of chapters. I really had to sit down and concentrate on what I was reading, but I found it got a bit easier to get into as the book went on. It was a nice little story, a bit predictable but fits into the chick-lit genre perfectly. A nice little story, although if you want more laugh-out-loud writing, I would advide trying Williams' first novel first! And after reading it, I do think that the new title "A Bad Bride's Tale" does suit the book a lot more than "The Egg Race"!
ISBN: 978-1847440075. The hardback version has an RRP of £12.99, but Amazon is currently selling it for £7.79. The hardcover version has 359 pages, and was released in February 2007. The paperback version is on Amazon for £3.49 under the title "A Bad Bride's Tale" and has an ISBN of 978-0751540550. Paperback version released in September 2007 and has 352 pages.
Thank you for reading.