Sam, Jackie and Anna have built up a firm friendship taking
and collecting their children from the local primary school. When the local
council threatens the lollipop lady’s job the three women, spurred on by Sam’s
children Oscar and Zach, decide to mount a campaign. With placards and a
peaceful protest, they attract the attention of the media, and the council backs
down. Jubilant and encouraged, and fuelled by the support of strangers from
across the country, they realise that working together, really believing in
something, can make a difference. So when a TV reporter asks them if they’re
going to take their passion a step further and stand in the general election, it’s
something they seriously consider.
The Mummyfesto follows the three friends as they take on
this huge, seemingly insurmountable challenge, and are simultaneously faced
with challenges in their own lives. I have to admit that I’ve not read many
‘mummy-central’ books before, so I was intrigued to see what this was like and
how I’d get on with it, and it wasn’t what I was expecting. The point of view
alternates between Sam, Jackie and Anna, each dealing with their own hopes for
and fears about the campaign as it gains momentum.
Sam is determined and caring, and has the love of a strong
family, but her son Oscar has an incurable disease and, while he is the life
and soul of every gathering, concerns about his health are never far away. Wild,
enthusiastic Jackie’s outgoing persona hides her insecurities and her past, and
with her mother becoming less able to function, she has to put plans to grow
her own family aside. Anna is the most reserved of the three. She has always
focused on her family, put her own hopes aside for her husband and children, but
finds that things aren’t straightforward when she wants to do something for
Despite being told from the three friends’ points of view, the
story flowed well, and it was interesting to see each event from the different
perspectives. I found the idea of three mothers taking on the big political
parties in a general election inspiring but, if I’m honest, a bit unrealistic.
The brilliant, worthwhile policies they came up with weren’t balanced with the areas
they would make savings, and I found myself thinking that most governments
would strive to achieve the same things if they could afford them amongst all
the other priorities – it just isn’t that simple. Maybe I’m taking it too
seriously, but it did hamper my enjoyment of – and belief in – the book. There
were some good scenes, such as their ideas as they created their Mani – Mummy –
festo, and being a big fan of Twitter, I loved the way they used social media
to raise support throughout their campaign.
As their Party grows in popularity and Sam, Jackie and Anna are
invited to discuss their policies in the national media, the issues in their
own lives come to the fore, and at some points this book is incredibly sad.
However, whereas usually I’d be sobbing my eyes out (I am ridiculously
sentimental) I found that I only squeezed out a couple of tears. I’ve been
trying to work out why that was. While I found all the characters wholly
believable – I especially loved wonderful, inspiring Oscar and Zach, and Anna’s
teenage son Will – I wasn’t able to fully commit to the central idea, and so I
couldn’t immerse myself completely in their world. The Mummyfesto is an
uplifting, thought-provoking book with some great characters and an interesting
concept, but it didn’t completely win me over.