Written last week:
I am in Galway without my Kindle.
It is sunning itself on the Kent coast, forgotten in the rush to leave ahead of the snow last time that we were down there. We will be reunited in a couple of weeks, but what it does mean is that I am back to reading old-fashioned printed matter for the Half-Term break.
I was therefore delighted to be offered a copy of The Mummyfesto in time for us to get on the ferry. I made a mistake in starting to read it as soon as we were settled on board: I was so engrossed, I didn’t want to get off and sat sulking as we drove from Dublin to Galway because I wanted to get back to the story.
Less than 24 hours later, I set the book down with the sense of satisfaction and loss that comes with finishing a good book. Because it was a good book: it had pace, kept me interested, had me sobbing and left me with the disappointment of loss at the end. They tend to be the markers of a good book to me.
Yes, it has the word Mummy in the title. It also falls under the heading Chick-Lit, but that doesn’t mean it is any less worthy than other books I have read this year.
In many ways it is more worthy.
Firstly, it tells it like it is: the central characters are mummies. They don’t pretend to be great mums: to quote the book, “there is no such thing”. They refer to themselves as ordinary mums doing what they need to do to make a better future for their children. I like this. I have seen a lot of chat of late in which women are frustrated that they have been ‘pigeon-holed’ as mummies, when there is much more to them than that. What I like about this book is that Sam, Anna and Jackie are so much more than ‘just’ mummies- whether they realise it or not- but recognise that being a mummy is their central tenet. It’s the thing that bonds them to each other, to their families, and to the beliefs which ultimately drive them to form their own political party.
This is the second reason I loved the book: it talks politics. It also rubbishes politics, which is to say it rubbishes the political system and parties that we have in place at the moment. I know I’m not the only one shouting at the radio or TV during the week when the government announces yet another scheme or investigation or U-turn. Some of the political ideas that the party in the book come up with just make sense.
But what really got to me is the way that Linda has written so carefully, thoughtfully and beautifully about Children’s Hospices. I am lucky enough never to have had cause to visit one, though the book makes them sound like astonishingly positive and uplifting places. But should I need to, I know so much more about them, about what goes on inside them, about the services that these amazing institutions provide. And I am very grateful, both for the knowledge and for their existence.
If you are a person who reads all the latest Booker Prize Winners before they win their prizes, and actually made it to the end of a James Joyce book, then of course this is unlikely to be the book for you. If you only read the sports pages, the same applies. But if you want an engaging, enjoyable read with likeable characters you will really enjoy this. With a box of tissues.
Because I liked it so much, I want to give away a copy. So, if you want to win, leave a comment below telling me what your one objective would be if you could run the country.
If you want to double your chances, then tweet about the giveaway, and tag @domesticgoddesq in it.
UK residents only. Winner will be chosen by random.org from all valid entries. One entry (comment and tweet) per household. If no response after 72 hours, a new winner will be drawn. Closing date: midnight GMT Sunday 3rd March 2013.