Reviewed by Kirsty Nicole Pole
“When I hear my daughter earnestly explaining oral sex to Aunty Edith – presumably unasked – I decide to see if I am able to tolerate gin again. Sometimes I think we should have Connie tested for Aspergers, but I’m not sure I’d really want to know the result.”
Five minutes after reading this paragraph, I managed to stop laughing and carry on reading. Well, for another two pages at least, until the next belly laugh. And so it went on.
Living in a world of social networking madness, we’re faced with a constant barrage of slushy Facebook statuses about “wonderful husbands” and romantic gestures for “date night”. Sometimes, you just really need a break from the vomit-inducing statues and a big dollop of reality. Enter Diary of an Unsmug Married, the new novel from author Polly James. I hadn't read any of Polly's writing before this book, but I was happily optimistic and certainly wasn’t disappointed.
Molly Bennett has just passed a landmark birthday that her husband decided to mark by buying her a last minute present from M&S and by telling her about her surprise party. Naturally, she finds herself accidentally chain smoking in the garden the day after while wondering what her life has come to. It’s safe to say that, with two hormone-riddled teenagers and a husband in the house, Molly has forgotten what it’s like to have fun. Hell, even her father is having more fun than her on his jaunt to find a new wife in Thailand. Molly is tired of being taken for granted. So when husband, Max, starts taking more of an interest in the gym than their sex life (or lack of it), Molly begins chatting to an old school friend on Facebook. Could she be about to surprise everyone by behaving badly?
I’ve always been a fan of Bridget Jones and confessional diary novels. They provide a sense of character that some third person novels sometimes can't. Diary of an Unsmug Married does exactly the same thing brilliantly. I felt like I knew Molly. I felt her frustration and need for excitement, but mostly I found her honesty endearing and absolutely hysterical. The sometimes almost too honest confessions in her diary had me belly laughing many times. Her sarcasm is appealing and I often found myself wishing that I could be as honest and ballsy as her. Her relationship with her family is strong, even though she is essentially bored with the monotonous routine that her life has become.
This is mainly Molly’s story, though her family and relationship with her husband is woven in very well and their consequent dialogue provides many giggles. A lot of the laughs also come from Molly's job as a caseworker for the local MP, where she encounters the local ‘crazies’ on a daily basis and is patronised regularly by The Boss, once again leading to chain smoking. Oops!
There is a laugh on almost every page of this book. That said, I did find the footnotes at the bottom of some pages slightly annoying. I felt it interrupted the flow of the book, but could also understand why they were there.
For a frank, honest, belly laughing book with a heart, Diary of an Unsmug Married is absolutely perfect.