24 March 2014
Book Review: Mother of the Year by Karen Ross
Beth Jackson is a national treasure, celebrated for her television shows and winning the Mother of the Year Award three times in a row.
Only, her daughter just wishes that Beth would be more like a normal mum..."
You can buy Mother of the Year as a paperback or an eBook now.
I'll be honest and say I hadn't heard much about this book or debut author until I saw another blogger raving about the book on Twitter one evening. I then got a review copy in the post, and decided I simply had to give it a go. The cover is pretty gorgeous as well, adorned with a lovely cupcake with lots of silver glitter to boot, exactly the sort of book cover that screams 'read me now!'. As it was a debut novel, I went in without any expectations, and came out of it a very happy reader indeed!
JJ's mother Beth Thomas is a famous TV star, a journalist, presenter, and she's managed to win Mother of the Year award 3 times. However, JJ isn't sure that if people knew the real Beth Thomas, they wouldn't be so quick to say what a great mother Beth was. JJ feels her mum hasn't always been there for her, instead preferring to plaster JJ's life in the press in one of her many columns, or use her as funny anecdotes on her TV show. JJ just wants Beth to be a normal mum for once, but is sure it can't happen... can it?
As a mum myself, I really enjoy reading books about motherhood and family life, although this was one book I hoped I wouldn't be able to relate to too much myself! Ross gives us a very interesting mother/daughter dynamic with JJ and Beth. From reading the synopsis, I thought the book would be all about Beth, but in reality, it's JJ who is the main character of the book and Beth is more of a secondary one, although she's very important to the story whether or not she's actually present at that time. JJ narrates the majority of the book, but at times Beth pops up with an old newspaper article she wrote, or with something that she is doing at that time, and puts her perspective across, and it makes for an interesting read.
What made the book so fantastic to read for me was the multiple things going on that kept my interest. Yes, Beth's relationship with her daughter JJ is the main part of the book, but there's a lot of other things going on in JJ's life too that makes for excellent reading! There's her flatmate Theodora who is a sand sculptor and is going to deliver a bit of a bombshell to JJ, and JJ's boyfriend Rob, who has jacked in his well paid job, and has decided to start his own juice business with his hapless best friend. It creates some very funny moments in the book, and these secondary characters are just as important as the main ones, Ross has made them so realistic and I loved every second of reading about them.
Not only is the book a funny read, and has lots of things within it that I am sure a lot of people will be able to relate to - sending the wrong email to someone important ring any bells?! - it is an emotional and inspiring one too, showing us that we can make the wrong judgements about people but if we want to, we can build the bridges and make things right - life is too short to not do so. Ross balances the more weepy side of the story with the comedy moments perfectly, and for me, it was a novel I couldn't put down! The writing was snappy, the pace kept up enough to make it interesting, and the twists and turns in the story along the way had me hooked! I cannot wait for more from Karen Ross, this is a corker of a debut that I can't recommend highly enough! Bittersweet, funny, uplifting and emotional - what more could you want?!