*I received a free ARC of this book, with thanks to the author and Amazon’s Vine Programme. The decision to review and my opinions are my own.*
Blurb: ***Unmissable, hilarious and kind, this is the first novel from Kathryn Wallace, who blogs as I Know, I Need to Stop Talking***
“SAM! AVA! Get downstairs, NOW. Have you done your TEETH? HAIR? SHOES? Come on, come on, come on, we’re going to be bastarding late again. No, I haven’t seen Lego Optimus Prime, and nor do I give a shit about his whereabouts. Sam, will you stop winding your sister up and take this model of the Shard that I painstakingly sat up and created for you last night so that I wouldn’t be in trouble with your teacher. I mean, so that you wouldn’t be in trouble with your teacher. No, it doesn’t smell of ‘dirty wine’. Well, maybe it does a little bit. Look, Sam, I haven’t got time to argue. Just hold your nose and get in the car, okay? AVA! TEETH! HAIR! SHOES!”
Gemma is only just holding it together – she’s a single parent, she’s turning 40 and her seven-year-old daughter has drawn a cruelly accurate picture which locates Gemma’s boobs somewhere around her knees. So when her new next-door neighbour, Becky, suggests that Gemma should start dating again, it takes a lot of self-control not to laugh in her face.
But Becky is very persuasive and before long Gemma finds herself juggling a full-time job, the increasingly insane demands of the school mums’ Facebook group and the tricky etiquette of a new dating world. Not only that, but Gemma has to manage her attraction to her daughter’s teacher, Tom, who has swapped his life in the City for teaching thirty six to seven year olds spelling, grammar, basic fractions – and why it’s not ok to call your classmate a stinky poo-bum…
It’s going to be a long year – and one in which Gemma and Becky will learn a really crucial lesson: that in the end, being a good parent is just about being good enough.
Absolutely Smashing It is a classic rom-com for mum-blogger fans.
Kathryn Wallace is better known to many as I Know I Need To Stop Talking – blogging hilariously and relateably on Facebook about parenting, womaning, body positivity, school woes and burning minty flaps (don’t ask!), among other things. One of her most popular posts is the spoof updated from the world of Biff, Chip, Kipper, Floppy the f’ing liability, and Mrs May, with her passion for school plays.
Fans of her page will be glad to know that this book is written in exactly the same warmly chaotic, humorous, direct, no-holds-barred style that has made Wallace’s blog a joy to read from day one.
The plot is fictional and original, so you won’t find Beth and Jamie here, or Mrs May and Floppy… or will you?! In fact, the author draws upon the known-and-loved characteristics of these familiar faces in creating her new characters (single-mum Gemma with her two young children, friends and family), making the new characters feel fresh, but also instantly recognisable.
Gemma struggles through the course of the book to balance work and parenting, find and maintain friendships and relationships, and just generally survive each day without losing her cool / sanity / all of the above. So, an accurate representation of parent-life!
There is also more than one romance plot, as Gemma’s new neighbour and new best friend Becky suspects that her once-beloved husband is keeping secrets from her. Their original pact has Becky helping Gemma find love, while Gemma helps Becky find work, but sometimes the things we think are going well may also need a bit of attention, as both friends may discover.
This is a perfect light read for those who love irreverent, real humour, and stories about love, friendship, and being a modern-day mum. Fans of Gill Sims, Sarah Turner and Rachaele Hambleton will probably already be following Kathryn Wallace too!
Gemma thought for a moment about her own Christmas break. If you believed everything you read in the media, Christmas with children was just magical. All Gemma could say to that was magical, my arse. Christmas as a single parent had been less about #blessed moments gathered around the Christmas tree unwrapping gifts, and more about a three a.m. Christmas Day wakeup call, both kids descending into meltdown by mid-morning, and covert swigs from the gin bottle she’d secreted in the cereal cupboard while the turkey (that no one would eat anyway) dried out in the oven and she wondered, if she wished hard enough, whether the magic of Christmas might bring Prince Charming to her (old, slightly peeling) front door.
– Kathryn Wallace, Absolutely Smashing It
Find more from Kathryn Wallace at her website here, or follow her on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Goodreads.
Absolutely Smashing It is available on Amazon right now!