5 January 2010
Book Review: The Pissed Off Parents Club by Mink Elliott
Never mind the fact the relationship between Roxy and her fiancé Jack isn't a bed of roses - they've moved from London to the country for a better life, but it's just bringing headaches what with the commute, the delapidated old house they've bought and not having any friends or family around. Roxy decides to start The Pissed Off Parents Club, and is surprised when it really takes off. Is it going to help Roxy feel at home in the country, and will she finally make some much needed friends?!
This is one debut novel for 2010 that I have really been looking forward to. Being a mum, I always enjoy books based on mums and parenting because often they are a bit of a satire and are quite funny as a result. Mink Elliott is apparently a former editor of a parenting magazine, so perhaps she's used some of the stories and news from her days as editor to help with this book? The cover isn't overly inspiring if I am honest, with pink and orange tones, and the title in a large font in the middle, but it would make me curious enough to pick it up off a shelf and have a look at it! As I mentioned, this is Elliott's debut novel, so it was going to be interesting to see how good the writing is.
I did find the book was quite a slow starter for me. We are introduced to Roxy and her daughter Joey straight away but I just could not warm to Roxy as a mother at all. She seemed very blasé about things and didn't seem too keen on her child either which is a bit of a worry! I felt that Elliott hasn't written Joey very well either, portraying her as being quite overweight for a baby and looking somewhat like a boy... it made me feel like she was trying to find reasons for Roxy to struggle at being a mother and Joey was one of them. I really did like Roxy's fiance Jack though, he was an Australian character and I loved the scenes with him in. Elliott wrote Jack as a great dad, and I wish she could have done the same for Roxy.
The story is a bit different to other new mum stories I have read before. Instead of joining some awful "Mother and Baby" group, Roxy decides to set up her own group, but this time only for the parents. Now, I realise this part of the book is quite unrealistic as I certainly wouldn't go along to anything called "The Pissed Off Parents Club" and having lots of people join and become instant best friends with them is a bit far-fetched but for the purpose of the book, it was a funny idea and I felt it worked very well. It was a great way to introduce some different characters, and I felt this was when the book came alive for me. Elliott suddenly seemed to grasp her characters, especially Roxy, fully and it read much more smoothly and the story moved at a better pace too.
I enjoyed the sub-story that came along halfway through the book because it allowed for Elliott to change the pace of the book, and it was funny to read some of the things that happen to Roxy and Jack as well. I definitely got to like Roxy more as the book progressed, but I just wish Elliott had "got" Roxy much more at the start because then I would have liked her from the beginning! I found the book was quite a quick read, with me finishing it in a couple of days as it wasn't especially challenging, and kept me wanting to read more to find out what scrapes Roxy and Joey would find themselves in next.
Those without children will enjoy this just as much as those with them because it's a well written story that has some good twists and turns along the way that keep you reading. The book moves from the rural countryside and back into London for a while so there's a nice change of pace, and the members of The Pissed Off Parents Club are all great characters, and I'm glad the book doesn't focus too heavily on Roxy because she couldn't hold the book together on her own! A very good debut, it's funny, has some cringy mummy moments and I would recommend it.