Welcome to my first stop on the tour for The Good Enough Mother, before I get to my review here is what it’s all about.
Gatlin – a leafy, affluent town: Chelsea tractors and ladies who lunch. However, all is not as it seems.
Drea, a most unnatural mother, struggles to find private school fees for her step-daughter Ava after her boyfriend leaves her for another woman.
Watching the yummy mummies she becomes inspired, hatching a daring and criminal plan…unleashing all hell in the quiet town of Gatlin.
Can Drea survive the fallout and the wrath of the PTA?
A satirical and hilarious black comedy about love, motherhood and the human condition.
Amazon UK | Goodreads | Waterstones | Foyles | Amazon US
Was this guy for real? Physics and now chess. If I was worth any money, I’d think this was a set-up. You know the guy who learns about a woman from a dossier then pretends to fall in love with her so he can steal her millions. We should be on a cruise ship. I should have millions.
Drea wakes up one morning to find that her boyfriend has left her, he’s also left his daughter Ava with Drea, who suddenly realises that she’s going to have to pull it together. Especially when Ava’s private school sends notice of the school fees that need paid and Drea doesn’t have anywhere near enough to cover it. She hatches a plan to raise the funds in an unlawful way, which causes havoc in her quiet community, but it seems she’s not the only one who isn’t playing by the rules.
For some reason (and now I have no idea why) when I first started this book I found it really hard to get into, I couldn’t really connect with Drea or the first little bit of the story. So I put it down and decided to come back to it another day. I’m so glad that I did because I loved this book.
Drea is an amazing character; she is frank, unwavering and brilliantly candid. There were times reading her observations in the book that I couldn’t help but laugh from knowing that I have thought similar things, or just because I wasn’t expecting her to be so brutally honest. It was refreshing to read about a character that doesn’t have it together but doesn’t feel the need to be anything other than what she is, who can accept her limitations. She is such a genuine character because she knows she’s not the perfect person or mother but she tries as best as she can.
“And how old is she?”
“Just turned four.”
Seriously do any of us really give a shit?
“She’s got so much hair.”
“Oh I know; I don’t know where she gets it.”
Really. You don’t think it might be from either you, your husband, a sperm donor.
“It’s an unusual colour.”
“Yes, it’s kind of a red tinge with some copper undertones.”
She’s a ging-a. Dear God, can this get any more fucking boring?
“Is she eating yet?”
“I gave her some vanilla fromage frais yesterday for the first time but I don’t think she was too impressed.”
Yes, looks like it can get more boring and it’s happening right here right now.
Mental health is a big theme within this book. Drea has depression and begins to develop panic attacks after certain events in the story, I really liked how the author managed to deal with these issues within the book, there were very sincere observations from Drea but these were interspersed with humour. You feel like you are on the journey with her and discovering what has triggered these feelings and how much of a mask she has been wearing. In the end though I admired that whilst it was a part of her, it wasn’t something that she was defined by.
I also thought that the relationship between Drea and Ava was marvelous, even though Drea admits to not being maternal in the slightest, you can see how much she would do for Ava. There were parts where Ava was having to take the lead, almost like a role reversal, she was on many occasions the more sensible of the two, and I really loved seeing how their bond developed as they realise that they only really have each other to rely on.
There were a lot of twists and turns in the storyline that I didn’t see coming, and I found myself laughing at how things started to spiral out of control for Drea. Even when she got herself into some serious situations, there was always something that you didn’t expect to happen that did. I found myself panicking, cringing, being in utter disbelief and rooting for her, sometimes all at the same time. I think that I managed to get so heavily invested in this book is a testament to it’s brilliant writing.
This is a fantastic debut filled with vivid characters and dark humour, but is also a refreshing look at growth and acceptance and I am so glad that it clicked with me on the second try.
I have some really good news for you, if that sounds like it’s up your street then you can enter this giveaway to win…
Pretty amazing I’m sure you’ll agree.
I will also be hosting a guest post from Anoushka on my second stop of the tour next week so keep an eye out for that.
Anoushka Beazley has a film degree, an acting diploma and a masters in creative writing. She is a full time novelist, lives in North London with three little witches, a lawyer and a Maine Coon.