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The Rise and Fall of a Yummy Mummy - Polly Williams

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Genre: Fiction / Author: Polly Williams

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    6 Reviews
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      20.04.2011 12:37
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      How not to transform yourself into a yummy mummy.

      Amy Crane is mum to 6 month old Evie and still slobbing around in mismatched clothes, unmade up and with unbrushed hair, like the rest of her NCT class pals, when she becomes friends with the glamourous yummy mummy Alice.

      Single mum Alice is everything Amy wishes to be; cool, confident, slim, stylish, and with a bunch of glamourous pals to match.

      Amy asks Alice to help her take on Project Amy - to transform herself back into someone she recognises rather than the mum she has become, although there is more to it than you would first guess. It is not just that she has missed a waxing appointment or two, or not lost the baby weight yet. Amy saw her boyfriend Joe with another woman when she was 8 months pregnant, and rather than confront him about it she pretended it didn't happen. 6 months later, she is still pretending it didn't happen by immersing herself in her baby and mundane household tasks rather than risk Joe walking out like her own father did.

      Part of the plan is to regain some of the old Amy so she has the confidence to tackle Joe about what she saw and be strong enough to get on with life as a single mum if the need arises.

      While a lot of the book comically describes exercise classes, waxing appointments, trips to the hairdressers and the contrast between the middle class mums at NCT and the yummy mummy pals of Alice's, the book actually touches very deeply on a lot of emotional issues with Amy and the other characters. There seems to be an element of her being in shock and almost a depression about how this little thing has stolen what she was and her relationship with her boyfriend, and how she needs to regain some of herself back. This is complicated by her feelings about her dad walking out when she was small, and the responsibility she feels for her mothers happiness.

      At the same time, the other characters are dealing with their own fears and obsessions, so life is not as perfect as it seems for these yummy mummys who seem so together either. And just what is Alice's motivation for propelling Amy so hard to change?

      I was expecting quite a light chick lit book, and it has more depth than you at first expect. A lot of it any new mother will relate too. The sleeplessness, the leaky breasts, the struggle to regain intimacy after a baby. If i was not a mother, i might not have liked some of the detail in it, but it was very realistic, and as i am a mother i could relate very well to Amy and the other characters.

      It was not quite as predictable as i was expecting, so my level of enjoyment was more than normal for this genre of book. At 370 pages it seemed a little longer than other books i have read too.

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        29.06.2010 16:36
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        Yummy Mummy or MILF??....

        New mum Amy feels as if her life has been turned upside down since giving birth to her daughter Evie just over 6 months ago. Whilst Amy loves being a mother to Evie, she wishes she had more mummy friends to share the joys of motherhood with. Before Evie was born Amy took good care of herself and would regularly get her eyelashes tinted and spend a small fortune on beauty products and clothes. However since Evie was born Any hasn't even had the time to get her eyelashes tinted, or even put bit of makeup on, Amy feels as if she is a shadow of her former self. Even although Evie was born 6 months ago Amy is still wearing her maternity jeans, mainly because most of her clothes are too small for her as she has been unable to lose the baby weight and regain her post baby figure. Amy also feels like her marriage is suffering, she and her husband Jo are barely speaking and she is convinced he is having an affair - Amy has been convinced he's been having an affair since she was 8 months pregnant with Evie, the only problem is Amy doesn't know how to speak to Jo about it, the only person she can confide in is her friend Alice who she met at the National Childbirth Trust Group (NCT for short). Alice looks more like a 30 something film star than a mummy - Alice vows to help Amy transform herself into a Yummy Mummy and this is where the fun starts.....


        Amy is the main character of the book; she is in her early thirties and is a first time mum to baby Evie. Amy's character is very likable and also believable, being a mother myself I could fully relate to the way Amy was feeling throughout the book. In a nutshell Amy feels unattractive since having Evie because she hasn't regained her post baby figure, Amy feels like a beach whale even although she is only a size 10/12 and weighs 10 stone 3 pounds. Even although Amy only has a few pounds to lose to regain her post baby figure I can relate to her as I felt like a beach whale after my son was born even although I only has to lose 1 dress size and 8 pounds to regain my post baby figure. I'm sure a lot of other mothers will be able to relate to Amy with this issue as a few extra pounds after you have had your first baby feel like a few stones.


        Written in the first person context with Amy being the narrator of the book we get to know her really well as we know what her emotional state is and as the book progresses we see Amy 's character and personality change as she becomes more confident both as a person and as a wife and mother. You also get to see the bond between Amy and her daughter strengthen, Amy's daughter Evie also plays a big part in the book - Evie's character in the book is portrayed very well in my opinion, she is just the way you would expect a young child of 6 months to be; hard work without being too demanding.


        There are a few other main characters who you will get to know throughout the book, not all of them being as likable as Amy and daughter Evie. A character who forms a close bond with Amy is her friend Alice, I didn't really warm to the character of Alice I thought she was leading Amy astray and trying to mould her into another version of herself. Amy and Alice get on really well throughout the book however the reader does get the impression that Alice is more interested in makeup than she is of her own son Alfie. She would rather spend time going out shopping, getting her hair done or out at the pub than deal with her son and I think that this is the road she is trying to lead Amy down. In some parts of the book the advice Alice gives to Amy is good as she seems to help her out a lot and Amy seems to like her however I don't think that their bond is as strong as Amy would like it to be. Alice's character in my opinion is portrayed more like a film star than a mother and in some instances her character as a mother isn't totally believable and I think this is the reason I couldn't warm to her.


        There are a lot of other characters throughout the book however they only play small parts. I actually thought that there were too many characters and this ruined the book somewhat as I had to keep skimming through parts I had already read to figure out who was who. I was confused because there were too many mothers at the NCT and you had to remember their names as well as their children's and this is where it became confusing for me. The other characters which added to the confusion were the ones Amy and Alice met along the way as Alice did seem to have a lot of friends and knew quite a few people and different names kept popping up throughout the book. Had there not been too many insignificant characters that confuse the reader then I think that this book would have actually been a lot more enjoyable than it was, rather than confusing.


        The Rise and Fall of a Yummy Mummy didn't have a complicated plot; I actually thought that the plot was rather predictable in most parts throughout the book. However there were a small succession of twists throughout the plot which the reader wasn't expecting and these added a little bit more excitement and depth to the predictable plot. The twists in the plot do not confuse the reader; the only confusing parts in the book are the numerous insignificant characters we meet throughout. At 384 pages long The Rise and Fall of a Yummy Mummy isn't a very long book and you will find yourself whizzing through it in a few days. The plot doesn't cover a huge timescale either; I would say that the plot flows naturally over a period of 6 months.


        In all I would say that this is a good book to read with lots of funny parts which will have you laughing out loud. The little twists in the plot add a little suspense and make the book more enjoyable for the reader. Having never read any of Polly Williams' books before I didn't quite know what to expect with The Rise and Fall of a Yummy Mummy, but I did enjoy the book even although the numerous amount of insignificant characters confused me somewhat. The Rise and fall of a Yummy Mummy is a great mix of humour and the joys of motherhood which I am sure will appeal to many readers.



        Thanks for reading

        © just.bcoz / Butterfly-Wings
        2010

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          19.03.2010 09:37
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          Don't bother

          This is a review of the book 'The rise and fall of a yummy mummy' by Polly Williams. I didn't really enjoy reading it that much as I felt it was all hung on an unrealistic and silly 'is he/she cheating on me' storyline.

          ~~~Brief plot outline~~~
          Amy Crane is 30 ish and has a six month old with boyfriend Joe. She is struggling with her body post birth {She's a huge size 10/12} and is trying to keep up with the group of trendy mums in South London who have botox, designer bags and nannies.

          ~~~Good bits~~
          Not many really. The family friend, Kate is quite a touching character and is quite jealous of Amy because she wants a baby but that goes a bit wrong towards the end when it turns out she wants Joe too (but does Joe want her?). I couldn't work out that one as it was a bit wooly.

          ~~~Bad bits~~
          I wasn't convinced at all by this book and felt that although she makes some foolish decisions you don't feel that sorry for Amy and you're not bothered whether she makes it with Joe or her hunky but wet pilates instructor.

          Too many characters are brought into the story but it doesn't give you enough insight into their lives. Amy is quick to fall out with most of them.

          The book hints that Amy is having money problems when she spends too much on a shopping spree but then it never really returns to the issue and so it makes me wonder if she is living on fresh air when Joe leaves and her and the baby are alone and living together.

          ~~Main bugbear~~
          I fell out with this book early on when Amy complains of being fat because a size 10 tshirt is a little snug. Sorry but am I supposed to feel sorry for you 'cos you've just had a baby and you are a size 12? The story focuses a lot on the ups and downs of Amy's weight which fluctuates from a 10 to a 12. Speaking as someone who is made of 'bigger stuff' I just can't empathise with that! I worry that a new mum may pick up this book as she might have something in common with the title and how is this going to leave her feeling? Rant over.

          ~~Over and out~~
          As you can tell, I really didn't get on with this book. I just didn't find any of the characters that endearing and felt the story line was weak, touching on areas that could be interesting but then never really pulling it into the storyline. There are so many better books out there than this one so my advice to you is just not to bother with it. Two stars from me as I have read worse.

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          28.01.2010 22:16

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          Polly William's has written a book which many yummy mummy can relate to!

          Polly Williams relates to all those frustrated mother's out there. As a mum myself I laughed out loud at this story. It is well written and realistic. She considers what society has come to perceive as a typical, yummy mummy stereotype and breathes life into it. Main character Amy Crane is coming to terms with the trials and tribulations of motherhood and has realised all is not as easy as it seems. She begins to question her own experience of her own mother as a child and how it has impacted her own mothering instincts, add to this the feeling that partner Joe no longer understands her or is attracted to her and you have a catchy story. It is humorous and yet touching in places. I found Amy easy to warm to and was engrossed in this book from cover to cover. Williams is a fantastic writer and I would highly recommend this book to any mother out there.

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          24.06.2009 09:23
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          an ok sort of read

          Last time I was in West London the "Yummy Mummy" tribe appeared to be alive and well, pushing their Bugaboos though maybe looking a bit more nervous since the whole Lehman brothers thing.

          This book was set in a pre-credit crunch London, and I first read it when it was published in 2006 and I was living on the fringes of the world the book describes, this novel is about being a new mum and trying to find your way. It is a light "chick lit" read with touches of humour.

          I have just finished re-reading this book, having run out of fresh books to read I sometimes plunder my shelves for books I loved first time round, or, as in this case, books I couldn't quite remember reading which I then read before deciding if they are keepers or not. I will be passing this book on, it was mildly enjoyable but not very memorable even on a second read. I'd put my lack of recall down to sleep deprivation in the time it was published and I bought it, but actually suspect that this book is entertaining at the time but fairly forgettable.

          Amy Crane, the heroine of this novel, is a mum of six months standing trying to work out her new identity and caught between a crowd of NCT mums and a slick band of "yummy mummies" who fit Botox and shopping into their glamourous nanny-aided motherhood. Amy is not married to Joe, the father of her baby Evie and suspects him of having had an affair whilst she was pregnant - this is not a spoiler by the way as her suspicion is what starts the book.

          We follow Amy through a journey of having one of the yummy mummies, Alice, try to give her a makeover, whilst Amy feels she fails to measure up to the expectations of the earth mother NCT types and lusts after a rather two-dimensional Pilates instructor, Josh. Alice has is the glamourous, seemingly non-sleep deprived and as gorgeous as pre kids mum that Amy thinks she wants to be, a MILF (mum I'd like to...f***), according to the book. OK then.

          It is all mildly amusing, however I couldn't help but feel that the author was working through some sort of new mum checklist to appeal to the reader. Williams is a journalist, now on her fourth book and I think her third child - this one was written after the birth of her first I believe. There were a few new mum classic experiences of changing vile nappies and trying to squeeze into previous clothes whilst being appalled by your tummy. One reference to a soggy breast pad was obviously meant to be funnier than I found it, but I could relate to some of the incidents in the book and definitely that feeling of finding that your NCT (national child birth trust) group are not necessarily the soul mates you might imagine and it is possible to have nothing in common with people, you won't all be friends just because you have had a baby recently though you might understand each other a bit.

          The checklist continued with "scene designed to show loving mum really" and "scene with completely non-child reality understanding woman" and "Botox trip"- I just found I could see it all coming. I also found references to breastfeeding a bit strange and definitely contrived "let's tick that one off without offending anyone" - the author was quite negative in that the language used to describe women feeding was meant to be comic but actually quite scathing, whilst on the other hand the character had fed up until 6 months and was stopping so she could lose weight and get her body back. It was all seemed designed to not offend anyone on either side of the breastfeeding debate whilst not actually adding to the story.

          Although I could relate to some of this book I just wasn't sure who this was supposed to appeal to - clearly it does appeal as Polly's website is full of glowing comments about this book (www.pollywilliams.com). The world painted is probably a bit more niche than mummy London-dwellers might imagine - I don't know if anyone uses the term "yummy mummy" in anything but an ironic way anymore though the magazines are still full of celebrities who look as if they lose their baby bump overnight, I am not sure if women aspire to find their old selves, maybe some just accept and enjoy being mums.

          The heroine of this book couldn't work out who she wanted to be like just came over as a bit self obsessed. I did like the character of her friend Nicola, who seemed to be there to present some sort of middle path, but some of the other characters were just very cliched, though actually when I lived in London I suppose they were the sort of mums who existed. I never was very yummy though.

          Some of the characters in this book were more believable than others and overall it was an ok read for its genre but I would class it as just "alright".
          Objectively this may be as personally I have moved on long ago from the worrying about becoming a mum thing - you might enjoy this if you are a newish mum but set in a different time as it is it may not seem very relevant. Pre-recession women might just seem like a world away; though I do believe this book has been re-printed for the American market as "The Yummy Mummy" - I don't know why maybe words like "rise" and "fall" are just a bit unfortunate now.

          In the niche genre of female chick lit for people who are mums this is probably an ok book - if you haven't had kids it might put you off in some ways or you might fail to "get" the attempts at humour. I would read another of the author's books if I needed some light diversion and they were available at the library, but for my money there is better chick lit out there.


          Book currently available from Amazon £5.49, details below:

          Paperback: 371 pages
          Publisher: Sphere (31 Aug 2006)
          Language English
          ISBN-10: 0751537446
          ISBN-13: 978-0751537444
          Product Dimensions: 19.6 x 12.6 x 2.6 cm

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            27.08.2007 23:13
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            Great fun book

            I enjoy reading books on parenting issues and about families at the moment, as you will be able to see from the other book reviews I have posted on Dooyoo! For some reason the powers that be at Dooyoo have categorised this as a Children's Book, but it certainly is anything but!

            Polly Williams is a journalist, who turned to writing novels when she had her first baby. She then wrote this novel, The Rise and Fall of a Yummy Mummy, somewhat based on her experience as a mum. She recently had her second child, and her second novel has just been published, one I am eager to read!

            I must say, this book is just fantastic. It made me laugh out loud at some points, sympathise with the main character Amy. Amy recently gave birth to her daughter Evie, whom she adores, but everything is not rosy in her relationship with her partner Joe. Amy is sure Joe is cheating on her, but doesn't know how to confront him about it. Also Amy is fed up of wearing her maternity jeans months after giving birth, wants more mummy friends but doesn't know how to find, then a handsome young Pilates instructor called Josh is thrown into the mix, leaving a very confused Amy...

            It is written in a narrative form, by the lead character of Amy, and it is really an amusing read. As the mother of a 17 month old toddler, I really did sympathise with quite a few of the problems Amy and her partner Joe were suffering with, such as not talking as much and having no time for each other. I also understood what she meant about the excessive use of the maternity jeans!!

            The book starts off in quite a normal mum fashion, with Amy and Evie going off to the NCT meetings with the mums once a week, and her mother barging in when she least expects it, but as the novel progresses it moves more into the restoration of the old Amy, and what life is like in London for a yummy mummy to be. When it moved into the city more, and Amy trying to be her old self, I felt it harder to identify with her and that she was moving away from the normality of being a mum.

            Here is a quick summary of the other characters within the novel:

            Joe - Amy's partner and daddy to Evie. His and Amy's relationship is on a downward slope, and Amy is convinced he is cheating on her. Joe feels Amy is trying to make herself better for another man, and is struggling with his emotions with Amy. He works hard, but desperately wants to be a good dad and a good partner to Evie and Amy.

            Nicola: Amy's friend from the NCT, whom she confides in when she is convinced Joe is having an affair. Nicola is the only one of the group who returns to work after her son, and Amy loves seeing the transformation in her, which makes her want to return to work.

            Alice: Amy's London friend who is determined to succeed with "Project Amy" which is a complete makeover of Amy. Joe does not get on with Alice, but the two exist together for the sake of Amy, who is beginning to know that maybe Alice isn't the friend she needs right now...

            Overall, I really did enjoy this book. It was good fun taking such a big journey with the character and the author writes in such a way that you are able to completely feel the emotions Amy is feeling, be it good or bad. The relationships between the characters were very believable, especially the one between Joe and Amy, I feel quite a few couples who have had children will be able to understand the change in pace these two go through after their daughter's birth.

            Some of the scenes were incredibly funny, especially those which took place at Amy's NCT meetings, and with her "London friends", they were laugh out loud funny! It made glad that I didn't have friends like these people! Similarly, I really did empathise with Amy when she was going through the bad patch with Joe, it was very moving.

            I think this book would appeal to anyone who enjoys an amusing yet sentimental read, and someone who in particular enjoys reading a book which takes you on quite a journey through the main character. Williams has written a superb book here, and I look forward to reading her next book. Great fun!

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