Why Mummy Swears is the much anticipated new novel from Gill Sims, author of the hilarious Why Mummy Drinks and online sensation Peter and Jane.
It’s every parents’ nightmare – the start of the school holidays – and instead of sitting in the sun, reading a book over a cold, crisp glass of Pinot Grigio, Mummy has two bored moppets to attend to. After frantically booking sports camps, child minder slots, not to mention time off work, Mummy is exhausted. But this is only the beginning…
After being dragged to join the school’s PTA in the new term by an annoyingly kind-spirited neighbour, Mummy is stuck with organising the Christmas Fayre and pleasing all the overly disapproving parents. In combination with getting to know her father’s surprise new glamorous (and much younger) wife, and being forced to spend more time with her narcissistic mother, life isn’t cutting her much of a break. What more could possibly happen?
I had never heard of Gill Sims’ blog ‘Peter and Jane’ from which this novel ‘Why Mummy Swears’, and its predecessor ‘Why Mummy drinks’ were born. When I was lucky enough to get my hands on a review copy from the publisher, HarperCollins via Netgalley I quickly borrowed a copy of ‘Why Mummy Drinks’ from my local (digital) library, and set about acquainting myself with the characters; titular Mummy, Ellen, her often infuriating husband Simon, their offspring, Peter and Jane, and their various PTA, school and work connections. I’ll say now that you don’t have to have read the first book as there are several snippets explaining relative events throughout the second, but to fully immerse yourself in Ellen’s world, I suggest you read them both, in order.
This novel picks up the thread two years after the first book ends, with darling daughter Jane now 11 and DESPERATE for an Instagram account and for Ellen to leave her alone because she’s virtually a grown up and her Mum is just an EMBARRASSING old person. Youngest child Peter is still farting like a champion, fiddling with everything he sees, the more inappropriate the better, and asking the worst questions imaginable, all the while eating Ellen out of house and home. Simon still doesn’t ‘get it’. He still expects Ellen to act as his social secretary, and now she’s taken voluntary redundancy to work on her aspiring career as the next big App Designer, he thinks she has nothing better to do. To be fair, she spends most of her day browsing tabloids, playing with her beloved Judgy dog, and eating biscuits, but she’s still very Busy and Important. A few weeks and a couple of Ellen-style odd decisions later, and her life has almost completely changed and she’s pushed and pulled in all directions again, both inside and outside of the home. Sam and Hannah provide light relief, as do the characters that make up the PTA. Lucy Atkinson’s Perfect Mummy, and Fiona Montague again make their presence known, albeit more lightly this time and the introduction of Charlie, an old flame, adds an interesting dynamic to the story. Some of the characters are almost caricatures, a bit overblown, but they’re well written and add to the balance nicely.
The style reminded me a lot of the first Bridget Jones book, which as we all know, went on to huge success. There’s definitely room for a sitcom/movie here. There is an awful lot of swearing, which I don’t mind, but if you’re not fond of a potty mouth, you might be a little shocked to say the least. The thing that did annoy me a little, if I’m honest, is that the phrase ‘eleventy billion’ is one I used to use quite a lot, and used to find funny, but it’s so overused in this book I’ll be happy if I never hear it again!
I read ‘Why Mummy Swears’ over 2 days – It’s light, easy to read, and funny, if sometimes predictable. Mummies of children of all ages will enjoy this book and will recognise many of the situations that Ellen ends up in, along with sharing her frustration at the lack of support and understanding she gets trying to be a working Mum, juggling home and family life without losing her mind or killing anyone!