Playgroups and Prosecco is the debut novel from Jo Middleton, author of the hugely successful Single Slummy Mummy blog. It’s main character is Frankie, a working single mum of two girls, (fairly) recently divorced and trying to do the best for her kids. The book is written in a diary style and features a whole year of parenting adventures.
What I really liked about this book is that Frankie is not your cliched slummy mummy. It would have been easy to write a book about what a disastrous mother she was, basically trying to make the reader feel better about themselves for not giving their kids fish fingers four nights a week.
But actually, the book is written in a much more elegant way. Frankie does have some classic slummy moments but the book is about so much more than that, and that is where its appeal lies.
It’s not just me….
It sums up what it’s like to be a mum; whether you’re single or married, working or staying at home. The guilt, the loneliness, the random flashes of enlightenment and anticipation, and the general all round drudge of daily life. I especially liked it when the time slipped a few days or a whole week, because nothing of note happened. Then there’s the work situation – the juggle of maintaining a decent job (and salary) and spending quality time with your children. Something has to give, and invariably it involves taking on an unsuitable job to make the family side fit. It’s a juggle that far too many parents face on a daily basis.
The book is also about what it’s like to be a mum and a person. In Frankie’s case it’s about dealing with a lovely ex-husband and the prospect of dating again, and the pitfalls of well known online dating apps. Even if you’re in a different position as a reader it still makes for enjoyable reading.
We’re in it together
The range of characters and the descriptions of the social reality of parenting are brilliant. Yes there are the do-gooders / homous evangelists that seem to frequent every kind of activity you take your child too. But there are also a lot of mums trying to do what they think is best for their child, and some succeeding more than others. We’ve all been there with bursts of making homemade organic chicken nuggets, but then the next weekend you revert back to trusty Birds Eye because your child had a tantrum in Asda and you just can’t be bothered.
It’s a ten from me
I really enjoyed this book, it was like curling up with a snuggly blanket and glass of Prosecco and chatting with your best mum friend. Throughout the story I felt like I was there with Frankie and her girls, cheering at the highs and commiserating with the lows. The book doesn’t make me feel like I’m a better mum, but that I’m doing an alright job and no mum is truly perfect.
You can buy Playgroups and Prosecco on Amazon (affiliate link) and find more from Jo Middleton on her Single Slummy Mummy blog. Jo is basically my mum-blog-crush. She’s a freelance writer and has been writing her blog for 10 years, winning loads of awards and writting for some very famous publications along the way.