Mum-lit – books to make you laugh (and maybe cry)


It’s excitement central at Babyology this week. Mandi is thrilled to be attending a media conference with Sarah Jessica Parker on Tuesday and I’m thrilled that the thoroughly enjoyable novel, I Don’t Know How She Does It, has been made into a movie. We thought it was an opportune time to round-up a few of our favourite ‘mum-lit’ (or ‘hen-lit’) books –  that particular genre of stories that dish up a humorous take on motherhood (the good, the bad and the ugly). So, if you’re searching for a funny summer read, start here.

I have very particular memories of reading Allison Pearson’s I Don’t Know How She Does It. I was in hospital having just had my third baby via c-section and, with laughs on nearly every page, I was in a special kind of agony! The opening scene, where main character Kate Reddy, is ‘distressing’ store-bought mince pies (so they look homemade) is pure gold and that’s just the beginning. Of course, the story is bittersweet and we learn that juggling work, children, marriage and more is not so easy for Kate.

I admit that when I really love a book, I get nervous when I hear there’s a movie being made. What if the characters aren’t what you imagined? What if ‘they’ change the storyline? What if the movie simply doesn’t do the book justice? I have no such worries about the movie version of I Don’t Know How She Does It, simply because the trailer was laugh-out-loud funny. If you haven’t seen it, check out the clip below.

Taking the honour of my ‘most-loaned-to-friends’ book is the hilarious And God Created the Au Pair by Benedicte Newland and Pascale Smets. The story is about sisters Charlotte and Nell, who live on opposite sides of the world. Told through candid emails to each other, we learn about the mishaps and mayhem that constitute their family life. Let it go on record that I had tears of laughter rolling down my face during the whole ‘guinea pig with cystitis’ fiasco and over Charlotte’s opinion of her daughter’s Furby toy.

Learn all about the Carpark Mafia and the Mothers Superior in the laugh-out-loud novel, Gucci Mamas. Written by Australian duo Lisa Blundell and Michelle Hamer (who use the nom-de-plume Cate Kendall), Gucci Mamas tells the story of Mim Woolcott and her ‘friends’, the other mothers at an elite private school. In between keeping up with the Joneses – or in this case the Mason-Jacksons – cracks start to show in Mim’s perfect life – money troubles, a workaholic husband and the tough choices between Prada and Gucci make for a fun, light read. There’s lots of Australian references and I suspect that Melburnians in particular will be trying to identify which school the story is actually about!

You’ll find I Don’t Know How She Does It, And God Created the Au Pair and Gucci Mamas all at Fishpond.

Katrina Whelen

Katrina Whelen

Katrina studied planning and design, did the hard yards working in a big office building and then traded it all in for a relaxing (!) life at home with four children. She now fills her time with writing, completing a degree in genetics and taxiing her children around Melbourne to their various sporting commitments (not necessarily in that order).

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