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This book was one of the three I bought in 'The Works' as part of the offer they had of 3 books for £5. It was the last one I read out of them all and I have to say I really did enjoy it! I had picked this book up because it seemed amusing from the title itself to the description on the back. I was taken by the fact that rather than pretend it is all easy it was blatantly describing parenthood as difficult and seeming to be honest and truthful and also amusing in the way it was written.
I have to admit the author is not one I had heard of before and I was sure I would have done with a name like Mink Elliott! She is a journalist who has worked on various magazines both here and in Australia. She is married with a daughter and currently lives in Sydney. As far as I can tell this is her one and only book.
Roxy has moved with her fiancé Jack and her daughter Joey to the countryside from London. Missing not only her friends and the hectic lifestyle, she is also struggling with being a new mum. Throw in the fact that everyone thinks her daughter is a boy, she cannot seem to lose weight, make friends and that Jack seems even more distant it is no wonder she is pi**ed off!
When it all becomes too much she puts an ad up in the post office for like minded parents to come and let it all off their chest over a drink or too and before long the club, aptly named the Pi**ed off parents club, or POP for short , is soon taking off.
Roxy, of course, is our main character and from the very beginning of the book it is easy to like her as she comes across as down to earth and somebody who seems to have a sense of humour too. It is also very easy to feel sorry for her as you can also see how hard she tries to make friends and make a go of other mother and baby groups and yet it just seems like nobody wants to know! Even though I haven't got children I found it easy to relate to her as she has been made to be somebody just like the rest of us who has doubts about life in general and tries to do the best she can anyway. I think the author has done a great job in the way she has created the character of Roxy and she clearly knew how to make her appeal to the reader.
Jack is Roxys fiancé and I found him to be an odd character when I think about it, as one minute he seemed very happy with Roxy and played the doting dad very well and then he seemed to be distant and cool and in one way this fitted the person well as the story moves along but, at the same time it seemed like he was too distant. I have a feeling this was exactly how the author wanted him to come across to the reader but, for me he wasn't as great a character as Roxy.
We also meet various other characters in the book who all become part of the POP club and these add an interesting twist to the book and give the book more depth rather than it literally just being about Roxy and her family. Overall I felt that pretty much all the characters added something to the story and there was not a single one I would have said could have been left out as they all added something to the book.
I bought this book as part of an offer in the works where three books were priced at £5. This meant that each book worked out at the £1.67 mark which for a brand new book is brilliant! I have had a check and you can purchase this book on many online sites so f you do not have a works near you then it is available to get online. Prices online start around the £2.80 mark depending on where you buy it from.
I will of course be definitely recommending this book - it was very easy to get into, funny, easy to relate to and overall a very enjoyable read. Once I started I could not stop and I finished the book really quickly because I just didn't want to put it down and the story flowed really well making it easy to follow. It think it is safe to say that if this author brings another book out I will definitely be buying it and I think for the price it was a total bargain of a book!
I really liked the sound of The Pissed-Off Parents Club after reading a few reviews on here, so when I saw it in The Works as part of their 3 for £5 deal it seemed rude not to buy it - ok yes I am meant to still be on my book buying hiatus, but come on - 3 books for a fiver!!!
The Pissed Off Parents Club is the debut novel by Mink Elliott, former deputy Editor of Practical Parenting. The book is about Roxy Carmichael, a first time mum approaching 40. Struggling to make friends following her move to the country from London, and finding being a mum both isolated and a struggle. Failing to find solace in the recommended mother and baby groups she decides to set up the Pissed-Off Parents Club (or POP for short) in the local pub on a Wednesday night to find likeminded people.
Meeting in the Local on a Wednesday night at 8.15 (so you can watch Corrie first)Roxy meets a small group of people, who although not all parents are all fed up with parenting in some form or another. Starting with just a couple of members can Roxy make the club a success and find the solace she needs in a group of strangers?
The book is written in the first person narrative from Roxy's point of view, which I think works ok, although you do not really get that deep an understanding of the other characters. It is mostly all about Roxy, with very light attention paid to the other characters - I think this is a bit of a shame as the other character s could have really added something to the book, especially Tim and Olivia, but they came across as a bit one dimensional.
I quite liked Roxy as a character - there was a lot about her that I could emphasise with. It took me a while to fall pregnant, and with little man's problems when he was born I missed out on joining new baby groups so felt pretty isolated in the beginning. I also worked in the city before I had him, and there is a scene where she looks back on London with rose tinted glasses, and then revisiting it to find it's not all you once thought really struck a chord with me!
However there was a lot about her that I couldn't relate to at all. She doesn't seem to really like her daughter Joey that much in the beginning, but then moans when she seems to favour her dad. She seems completely preoccupied with her weight and the fact she looks like a boy, and rather than doing anything to change this she chooses to dress her in blue sweatshirts and moan about how she looks to anyone who will listen. She also seems to spend most of her time smoking or in the local cafe, and doesn't seem to wash very often!
Roxy is a freelance writer and former columnist for Positive Parenting, so Mink Elliot is clearly drawing from her own experiences. Some of the arguments that Jack and Roxy have will be familiar to most parents such as what is harder going out to work or bringing the kids up? There are also the inevitable money worries of being on one wage, and of course the lack of 'the other' after you have a baby (not that I know anything about that LOL!!) It is at such times that the first person narrative works so well, and I felt like I was watching someone else's life and thinking 'Phew, not just me then
On the whole I really enjoyed the book, but it wasn't perfect. It needed a bit more depth of character for me, and although there was some start realism to the story line other parts were just not realistic at all. It was also a tad predictable, and therefore I am going to have to deduct a star as I liked it but didn't love it. However it is worth a read (although not if you are one of these Mum's who glided through raising kids without a grey hair or a crossed word with their partners!), and I would lookout for further releases from Mink Elliot. If you don't have a The Works store near you then it is available from Amazon for £4.45 new delivered or from a penny plus postage used.
Paperback 376 pages. Published by Sphere
this laugh out loud novel is perfect for all ages with or without children wither way you will surely enjoy it. it tells the tale of a struggling new mum who cannot get to grips with their baby. any average story about a new mum and their child depict the perfect lifestyle while it depicts the reality of motherhood with al the twists and turns that it can bring. not wanting to join the traditional mother and baby group she conventionally invents the pissed off parents club. however some people will not be able to bring themselve to enjoy a book in which the mother isn't good at bondong with their own child although any parents looking to read a book which does not sugar coat the difficult reality of being a parent then this is perhapss the perfect book for you as it is one of the truest to life books on parenting i have seen to date. bringing in a lot of humour for all.
I thoroughly enjoyed this book. I have not read/seen a 'mums lit' book before that does not pour treacle over the mother/child relationship, so this was a real treat. The characters were believable and the interplay between them was very funny - I did laugh out loud on several occasions and was sorry when I had finished it! I would recommend this to anyone who needs a good laugh - especially parents! Has this author written any other books as I can't find any?
Roxy feels over-whelmed with being a mother for the first time. At the age of nearly 40, she feels a lot older than many of the mums she spots around the town, and isn't taking to motherhood quite as easily as she would have hoped. Her daughter Joey is constantly being mistaken for a boy because of her short hair and she's also getting too heavy for a 1 year old. Never mind the fact the relationship between Roxy and her fiancé Jack isn't a bed of roses - they've moved from London to the country for a better life, but it's just bringing headaches what with the commute, the delapidated old house they've bought and not having any friends or family around. Roxy decides to start The Pissed Off Parents Club, and is surprised when it really takes off. Is it going to help Roxy feel at home in the country, and will she finally make some much needed friends?!
This is one debut novel for 2010 that I have really been looking forward to. Being a mum, I always enjoy books based on mums and parenting because often they are a bit of a satire and are quite funny as a result. Mink Elliott is apparently a former editor of a parenting magazine, so perhaps she's used some of the stories and news from her days as editor to help with this book? The cover isn't overly inspiring if I am honest, with pink and orange tones, and the title in a large font in the middle, but it would make me curious enough to pick it up off a shelf and have a look at it! As I mentioned, this is Elliott's debut novel, so it was going to be interesting to see how good the writing is.
I did find the book was quite a slow starter for me. We are introduced to Roxy and her daughter Joey straight away but I just could not warm to Roxy as a mother at all. She seemed very blasé about things and didn't seem too keen on her child either which is a bit of a worry! I felt that Elliott hasn't written Joey very well either, portraying her as being quite overweight for a baby and looking somewhat like a boy... it made me feel like she was trying to find reasons for Roxy to struggle at being a mother and Joey was one of them. I really did like Roxy's fiance Jack though, he was an Australian character and I loved the scenes with him in. Elliott wrote Jack as a great dad, and I wish she could have done the same for Roxy.
The story is a bit different to other new mum stories I have read before. Instead of joining some awful "Mother and Baby" group, Roxy decides to set up her own group, but this time only for the parents. Now, I realise this part of the book is quite unrealistic as I certainly wouldn't go along to anything called "The Pissed Off Parents Club" and having lots of people join and become instant best friends with them is a bit far-fetched but for the purpose of the book, it was a funny idea and I felt it worked very well. It was a great way to introduce some different characters, and I felt this was when the book came alive for me. Elliott suddenly seemed to grasp her characters, especially Roxy, fully and it read much more smoothly and the story moved at a better pace too.
I enjoyed the sub-story that came along halfway through the book because it allowed for Elliott to change the pace of the book, and it was funny to read some of the things that happen to Roxy and Jack as well. I definitely got to like Roxy more as the book progressed, but I just wish Elliott had "got" Roxy much more at the start because then I would have liked her from the beginning! I found the book was quite a quick read, with me finishing it in a couple of days as it wasn't especially challenging, and kept me wanting to read more to find out what scrapes Roxy and Joey would find themselves in next.
Those without children will enjoy this just as much as those with them because it's a well written story that has some good twists and turns along the way that keep you reading. The book moves from the rural countryside and back into London for a while so there's a nice change of pace, and the members of The Pissed Off Parents Club are all great characters, and I'm glad the book doesn't focus too heavily on Roxy because she couldn't hold the book together on her own! A very good debut, it's funny, has some cringy mummy moments and I would recommend it.
ISBN: 978-0751543391. Published by Sphere on 21st January 2010. The paperback has 384 pages.
Thank you to the publishers for sending me a copy to review for http://chicklitreviews.com
Thank you for reading.