I didn’t know the Gill Sims blog before I started reading this book. I just bought it before the Greek holiday to have a lighter read at hand, because I knew I’ll try to tackle The Lacuna by Barbara Kingsolver, which had me scared by its sheer volume.
As you can expect from the title it is an easy read. I went through it within a day on the beach. Bear in mind that I am not a mum, so I cannot possibly judge whether what Sims describes is true or not, but it sure is entertaining.
The book is written in the form of a diary of a 39-year-old Ellen, a mum of ‘two moppets’ and a wife. Juggling work (and trying to work as little as possible), with the care of the kids. With all the hoops and hurdles it entails and not helped by her acerbic attitude to life. She’s trying to have it all and decides to be the perfect mum (again). Of course, the world decided otherwise and the moppets are not helping either.
Ellen is not a very pleasant character and she’s well aware of it. She is prone to envy, self-pitying, and as you can guess from the title drinking to take the edge off. She is funny though and I’m sure many of us can connect with her struggles. Sims focuses on the things that go wrong, so the book may feel a bit whiny at times, but she does it with a lot of wit and sarcasm, which lifts the doom and gloom.
Much as the plot seems difficult to believe, I appreciated the down to earth attitude Sims gave her character in face of an unexpected success. We don’t have here a life-changing miracle. Our character dreams of it, but she also knows better in her heart of hearts. So the success changes her life for a while, but then things really go back to normal, because we are who we are.
My favorite part was when her sister in law descends on Ellen’s house with her entire very hippy family. The clash of values is just hilarious, especially in the face of Ellen’s no-bullshit dark attitude. I must admit my inner only-child was on the fence when later Ellen was asked to do the right thing and bail out Louisa. I could totally sympathize with Ellen’s feelings on the matter.
All in all a really funny and light book, in some ways in the vein of Bridget Jones Diary. It will make you laugh and it will make you nod understandingly even if you don’t have ‘moppets’ Because life throws all those weird, unnecessary small obstacles at all of us, and we all know they are the only thing that keeps us from being our best selves, i.e. perfect wholesome people 😉
On a side note, I do think that every mother should be transforming into Shiva once the children are borne, I simply cannot understand how all this mess can be managed with only two hands. It’s an evolutional flaw.