Why Mummy Swears by Gill Sims

This book is a follow-up to a previous novel, Why Mummy Drinks, and is essentially in a similar format featuring the trials and tribulations of mummy coping with two nasty yet normal children, Peter and Jane, and a typical (lazy, comfortable, insensitive, unobservant) husband, Simon. The previous novel gets a mention as the app which has made the family a little more financially comfortable.

Gill Sims’ targets are fairly straightforward; school, summer camp and other activities, trying to have a job, being shown up by other mums, getting a job, agonising about it, trying to get hubby to help, being 42, coping with dog crises and, eventually, fighting a way through to a slightly better place.

The book is based on a calendar year so Gill has to cope with all of those regular events that happen to children while surviving on drink and swearing. Jane is thirteen years old and wants an Instagram account while Peter is turning into his dad! The PTA and its activities are something of a running joke.

There is not too much swearing if you are a sensitive soul and while some of the targets are obvious the book is funny and every parent will find something familiar in there. If you wanted to dig a little deeper you might wonder if the book was slightly misogynistic since other wives seem to get a hard time. I did wonder cynically at one time if it could have been written by a man but I think he would have to be fairly insightful into the female condition. The book is also extremely middle-class, possibly slightly wealthy middle-class, and that probably provides easier targets so there’s not a lot about female emancipation or whatever. In the end it’s a comfortable, reassuring read to tell you that it’s all right not to have to compete with everyone else at the school gate and beyond and it’s also okay because things will come right in the end.

I’m looking forward to the sequel, Why Mummy Smokes Crack, where Jane has a teenage pregnancy, Peter has joined a gang and Simon has run-off with the au-pair! I can see some possibilities there!

(This book was published by HarperCollins in 2018 and I received a review copy through NetGalley)


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