17/02/2013

The Mummyfesto (by Linda Green)

I hadn't come across the author Linda Green before. Perhaps I would not have done, but when browsing the shelves at The Bookbag, I thought her latest novel sounded intriguing. The Amazon synopsis said that it was about three mothers who save a school lollipop lady, then decide to stand for the next general election....

The story is indeed about three women, who meet regularly in the primary school playground. Sam has two sons: Zach, who is seven, and five-year-old Oscar. Anna has two teenagers, Will and Charlotte, and a younger daughter called Esme. Jackie just has Alice. Sadly, Oscar suffers from an incurable muscle-wasting disease, and can only move in a wheelchair. Sam and her partner Rob have to use ventilators and other machines just to keep him alive.  Jackie and Anna, too, have stressful lives in various ways.

The book begins with a typical and amusing journey to school for Sam and her sons. Then they hear that the school lollipop lady, is being made redundant. They are horrified and decide to start a petition.. which, with the help of their friends, is wildly successful. They get on the local news and start brainstorming about what they would do if they were politicians. So Sam proposes starting a new political party that puts families first.

Most of the book then follows the rapid rise of the ‘Lollipop’ party, with ideas for its 'mummyfesto' that will suit ordinary people. It's interspersed with events from family life for each of these three women.

The book starts a bit slowly, and I had a hard time distinguishing the difference voices of Anna and Jackie, although Sam stood out as different and very likeable. However, by half way through the story moves rapidly, with difficulties piling high for each family, and towards the end I had to grab a box of tissues. What happened was not unexpected, but very moving.

I do have a few small niggles with the novel. I felt as if there were rather too many important issues just touched upon, with little realistic resolution. I was a disappointed that home education was only mentioned in passing, treated as if it were a poor alternative to school rather than a positive decision.  There are a few unlikely scenes and coincidences; none a problem on its own, but by the end I felt there were rather too many.

I felt irritated, too, that there were a couple of unnecessary jibes at God, which were irrelevant to the story. I was also a bit disturbed by the amount of bad language in the book, which means it isn't really suitable for young people, despite the book being quite appropriate otherwise.

Still, these are minor complaints in comparison to the book as a whole. It was amusing in places, highly emotional in others, and written with a great pace. I enjoyed it very much, overall.

Definitely recommended, if you don’t mind the aforementioned niggles. Available in Kindle form as well as paperback.

You can also read my longer review of The Mummyfesto at the Bookbag site. 

No comments: