Reviewed by Kirsty Nicole Pole
For fans of ‘The Bad Mother’s Handbook’ I’m sure the arrival
of Charlotte, Karen and Nan back into their lives will be much anticipated. However
for me, a Kate Long novice, this was the first time I got to know both them and
their hilarious parenting adventures.
This time, there are a few changes. The book jumps forward 3
years, Charlotte is at university and Karen is looking after grandson, Will,
whilst working as a Teaching Assistant and “accidentally” sleeping with her
ex-husband every now and again, much to her own mortification. Sadly Nan has
passed away, however there are snippets of previous conversations with Nan
subtly weaved into the story and these provide frequent giggles as you read.
These women are strong, funny and know their own minds.
I felt my lack of previous knowledge about Charlotte had a
huge impact on how I felt about her throughout this book, at the beginning she
is selfish and immature, ordering around boyfriend Daniel who isn’t strong
enough to stand up to her whilst mum Karen looks after her son, Will, allowing
Charlotte to have the normal university student life her maturity seems more
suited to. But there are moments of warmth from her, moments when you see how
much she struggles to leave Will behind with Karen whenever she goes back to
her “other life” and how she still feels that she has so much to learn about
Karen is struggling with the death of her mother, Nan, and
even though she busies herself looking after Will and dealing with Steve and
his mid-life crisis she still feels a big hole in her life, until Charlotte
suggests that they try to find Karen’s birth mother…and well, that
goes….well…you should probably read it and try not to snort-laugh! I loved that
whatever this mother/daughter duo are up to it is usually full of laughs and involves
them getting themselves into hilariously catastrophic situations.
This book left me divided at times, I enjoyed the story and
the cleverness of Kate Long’s writing, there are some moments where we hear
different versions of the same story from Karen and Charlotte. Kate Long writes
their different opinions in such a clever way that we move from being annoyed
to suddenly understanding the character’s reasoning in just one short
paragraph. It is a very clever narrative. However, I felt that I missed out on
really connecting to these characters purely because I hadn’t read the first
book. This isn’t normally something that I struggle with but I felt there was a
slight lack of backstory from book one to help a reader enjoy it as a
Karen and Charlotte’s relationship is the most satisfying
thing about this book, funny and warm, they are very entertaining to read. With
various laugh out loud incidents you’ll find it hard not to love these two. I
think this book will be adored by fans of ‘The Bad Mother’s Handbook’, for the rest of us, buy them both and enjoy
one after the other!