Anyone who knows me also knows that I love books. Having an active toddler means that I had to reduce my reading time, and the pile of books I want to read is rather impressive. Yet I'm not one to turn down a free book offer, and so I jumped at the chance to review two of Virgin Books new releases this spring. The two books couldn't be more different - the only similarity being that they both deal with becoming a parent.
Charlotte Moerman has been blogging on the buggy blog for quite some time. Her first novel Instructions not Included is an account of her journey to motherhood, and again, and again. Mum to three boys, the novel is a tour de force through the confusion, emotions, and chaos of becoming a mum three times in just three and a half years. It took me about 20 pages to get into - the chronological jumps without explicit explanation initially were a bit hard going for my tired evening brain at times, but once I got used to it they no longer confused. The book became a joy to read, I laughed, cried, and only read it when I was able to take it all in. I took my time because it was worth it. Even Cubling hiding it (it took 2 weeks to find) didn't manage to put me off reading every single page and sentence. Moerman has an obvious gift for writing, and is as able to put across the rawness of emotion as well as a detached perspective with irony, honesty, good humour and a pervading sense of reality. It's a great book for any parent, and if you're a blogger, all the more so especially in case you're eyeing the possibility of getting published. The book doesn't read at all like a blog, which I think is a strength. It clearly managed to jump to a different level and not just being a blog pretending to be a novel. It's a novel in its own right and hopefully will become popular beyond the blogging community. Oh, and the cover artwork is great. Cubling sometimes let me read a page while busily pointing out stuff on it - it doubles as a picture book you see!
And because I really enjoyed the read, I'd like to give you guys the chance to read it yourselves, so if you want to enter the competition for a copy of Charlotte Moermann's Instructions not Included (hard back) book, leave a comment with email contact details. I shall draw the winner by blindly pointing at the screen of comments.
My Bump & Me by Myleene Klass is a different kettle of fish altogether. I hate to give a negative review, but this account of pregnancy is painful. A small chapter per week of being pregnant (fortunately baby came early) runs us through 37 weeks of a tearful and vomitting Myleene, her constant moody behaviour, which leaves you to wonder if she will be able to grow up in time to be a decent mum to a vulnerable baby. Most of the time I just felt like I really did not want to be party to her behaviour towards fiance and colleagues. Neither was her celebrity talk in any way something that would get me hooked. This woman has it easy. She gets everything delivered on a plate, slags off the NHS and goes private, boasts with all the presents she gets for her baby just because she's a celebrity, while she demonstrates a fear of people finding out about her pregnancy due to her celebrity status which is beyond my comprehension. Ok, I'd never heard about her so to me she isn't a celeb, but her attitude sucks big time. So she ends up only talking to other mums or mums to be because she can blather endlessly about her own bump: "It's good manners to look at everyone else's pictures but really you are doing it so you can pull out your own photos to show them off". She means it. She talks like she's the first and only woman ever to have a baby, and of course she gets all the pregnancy niggles that you can think of times a hundred, effectively behaving like a witch (I quote her fiance), all with the excuse of pregnancy. And she thinks it's cool to tell the world about it. Her account is offensive at stages, but my overall feeling was one of boredom and couldn't care less. There is even a claim for medical information - this is so patchy that really it should say so in case some people do actually inform their judgement on her account.
If you're into celebs and looking for a pregnancy account that is actually rather readable, go for Jules Oliver. It's not fabulously written but definitely more readable and written by someone most people will be able to relate to (she sounds nice, you know. And she doesn't bore the head off you. She even had two kids close together and talks about what comes after birth which is kinda more interesting than talking for 200 pages about your bump).
So then, don't forget to leave a comment to enter for a copy of Charlotte Moermann's book. Good luck!