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Publishers Weekly® Reviews
- Reviewed in: Publishers Weekly, page 27.
- Review Date: 2007-04-23
- Reviewer: Staff
Like Bridget Jones before her, Lucy Sweeney, the heroine of this pastel-jacketed bonbon of a debut, is an endearing everywoman prone to disaster. But unlike her chick lit predecessor, Lucy is a married, stay-at-home mom who gave up an impressive career as a television news producer to care for her three sons in tony northwest London. Lucy exists in a constant state of chaos (she has lost 11 credit cards in the past year; she has seven different kinds of credit card debt; and her habit of wearing pajamas to drop off her children at school has hardly gone unnoticed). But, when a flirtation with “Sexy Domesticated Dad” (a fellow classroom parent) threatens to develop into something more, so too does Lucy’s growing sense that “somewhere in the domestic maelstrom I have lost myself.” Whether she will find herself again—and, in time—is the question at the center of this crackling-with-wit debut. Although the plot careens toward an over-the-top, too-neat ending, London Times columnist Neill’s delight in and empathy for her characters, her respect for the demands of domestic life and her tender evocations of motherhood more than compensate. (July)
The impossibility of having it all
The core of what makes a good marriage is at the heart of Slummy Mummy, by British feature writer Fiona Neill. (Neill writes a weekly column by the same name for the London Times.) The novel chronicles the domestic crisis of Lucy Sweeney, mother of three sons, wife to the tidy and exasperated Tom. Lucy has developed a crush on one of the school dads, a stay-at-home writer who has "bad boy" penciled all over himuntil he opens his mouth to compare cereal mixes. Lucyto put it mildlyis not the most organized of mothers. Her laundry pile is out of control, her car is a science experiment of old apple cores and melted chocolate, and she can't seem to hang on to her keys. On the other hand, she adores her children, and everyone in her life chooses the compassionate and thoughtful Lucy when they need a confidante. Her husbandwell, they loved each other once, and maybe they would again if they could ever have sex, but how is that achieved, exactly, with three children under the age of seven? Lucy is both clever and kind, a disaster and a dear, and most of all a woman you'd never mind sitting down to share a bottle of wine with, because she is always entertaining. This book makes a great pick-me-up on a day when you've got those can't-seem-to-get-it-all-done blues.