I recently bought this book with a selection of others when I needed to top up my bookshelf. I’d already put a few thriller and mystery novels in my basket, so I wanted something a bit more light-hearted to mix it up.
The bright cover colour and bold title stood out to me straight away – it had nothing to do with the word ‘drinks’ in the title, honest! I read the blurb and decided this was just what I was looking for.
The book is split into 12 chapters, one for every month of the year, kicking off with the start of the school year in September. I think this works well, as it guides you through the different seasons and holidays of the year, with a funny story about the main character, Ellen, and her family dramas in each month.
Ellen is married to Simon and they have two children, Peter and Jane. She often refers to them as her ‘precious moppets’, though they are far from that and cause her no end of grief. If they’re not making a mess or trying to kill each other, they’re getting into fights at school or getting lost in a big hotel.
Simon is pretty much useless when it comes to helping around the house and with the children, preferring to lock himself away in his shed at the weekends with his gadgets and power tools.
Then there are the extended families – Ellen’s perfect sister Jessica whose ‘perfect’ children are terrified of Peter and Jane, and Simon’s hippy sister Louisa who lives in a rural retreat in Scotland with her six children and constantly needs monetary handouts from her family.
It’s no wonder Ellen resorts to drinking every Friday (and some days in between)! She tries to find time to escape from her mad house with her best mates Hannah and Sam, who also have their own personal dramas going on with relationships and children.
Amongst all the drama, Ellen manages to think of a genius money-making scheme that will solve all her problems. The idea is actually based on her experiences of parenthood and family life, but I’ll let you find out for yourself whether it was a ‘million-dollar’ idea or a complete flop.
I should warn you, there is quite a lot of swearing in the book, so if that’s not your cup of tea you may either have to brush over it or accept this book isn’t for you. Personally, I think the story is good enough and funny enough to enjoy despite the swearing so if you can, try to give it a go.
Whether you have children or not, are married or in a long-term relationship, love your in-laws or dread their every visit, I think so many people will be able to relate to the anecdotes in this book.
In between the swearing and over-exaggerated stories, there are also moments of real love – cuddles on the sofa with a poorly child, rare moments of tenderness between a married couple, and a mother’s defiant passion for defending her children at a tough time.
There are many, many funny moments, but there is also a lesson in learning to appreciate what you have and not compare it to other people who appear to have the ‘perfect life’. Every family is different and that’s what makes them special.
I’m looking forward to reading the next instalment – Why Mummy Swears – and will no doubt share a review on that at a later date.