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Slummy Mummy Hardcover – July 5, 2007

3.3 out of 5 stars 41 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Like Bridget Jones before her, Lucy Sweeney, the heroine of this pastel-jacketed bonbon of a debut, is an endearing everywoman prone to disaster. But unlike her chick lit predecessor, Lucy is a married, stay-at-home mom who gave up an impressive career as a television news producer to care for her three sons in tony northwest London. Lucy exists in a constant state of chaos (she has lost 11 credit cards in the past year; she has seven different kinds of credit card debt; and her habit of wearing pajamas to drop off her children at school has hardly gone unnoticed). But, when a flirtation with Sexy Domesticated Dad (a fellow classroom parent) threatens to develop into something more, so too does Lucy's growing sense that somewhere in the domestic maelstrom I have lost myself. Whether she will find herself again—and, in time—is the question at the center of this crackling-with-wit debut. Although the plot careens toward an over-the-top, too-neat ending, London Times columnist Neill's delight in and empathy for her characters, her respect for the demands of domestic life and her tender evocations of motherhood more than compensate. (July)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Booklist

What starts out as a harmless fantasy for Londoner Lucy Sweeney becomes a serious threat to life as she knows it. This barely coping, stay-at-home mother of three starts daydreaming about the father of one of her son's classmates, only to discover that her feelings are reciprocated. She is used to hiding bills, lost keys, and misplaced cars from her husband, not feelings for another man. When Lucy confides in her friends, they are horrified that she is willing to even entertain such a fantasy given how good a husband Tom is. Lucy's life is in constant upheaval with one crisis or another, involving children, her feelings of inferiority compared to the overachieving mothers at school, or her unwanted desire for "Sexy Domesticated Dad." The frazzled life of a full-time mom is comedic fodder for Neill, a London Times Magazine writer, as she offers a funny yet sympathetic and classically British spin on the paradoxes of women's lives. Engelmann, Patty

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Riverhead Hardcover (July 5, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1594489440
  • ISBN-13: 978-1594489440
  • Product Dimensions: 6.3 x 1.2 x 9.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 3.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (41 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,170,267 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By J. A. Davis on August 18, 2007
Format: Hardcover
Finally, a book for all of us "real moms" out there. You know, we're the ones who bring store-bought cookies to the class party instead of making something from scratch (HORRORS), the ones who hastily cut a hole in a sheet and call it a costume, the ones who regularly feed our kids meat (GASP). This is the story of Lucy Sweeney, a stay-at-home mom who leads a perpetually chaotic existence. She loses credit cards, passports, keys to the house - you name it - this woman has fumbled it. Of course, she is married to a super-organized architect whose drawers of underwear are sorted by color. Readers follow Lucy throughout one wild and crazy school year, where many of her antics resemble that of Bridget Jones (another hilarious Brit). There are plenty of flirtations with disaster, including one involving a fellow class parent (whom all the mothers call "Sexy Domesticated Dad"). I love British humor, and Neill certainly showcases plenty of it in this, her debut novel. What makes her writing stand out is that it is extremely intelligent and insightful as she wonderfully describes Lucy, her best friends, as well as some of the uber-moms who are quite puzzled by her - ones I'm sure every reader will recognize in their own school communities. Okay, so some of our heroine's antics are a bit over-the-top, but it's still wicked fun to read!
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Format: Hardcover
You would never expect a piece of mom-lit to turn out as a sophisticated essay about marriage and motherhood. Slummy Mummy comes quite as a surprise, being not only smart, witty and extremely funny, but the most important of all, giving astonishingly precise account of a woman in her midlife crisis. As the heroine's pedantic husband put it, the midlife crisis is "discontent with the status quo, restlessness, questioning decisions that you made years ago, thinking you've grown apart from your husband, wondering whether happiness lies with another man". And Lucy Sweeney makes a long way from fantasizing about another man to making a decision about the future of her marriage.

The book is not dedicated exclusively to adultery. Ms.Neill provides amazing observations about the nature of being a mother, about the responsibilities, difficulties and rewards of motherhood. Lucy's life is a nightmare of sleepless nights, chronic fatigue and endless flow of domestic routine, and yet there's a rare sparkle of such overwhelming feeling that may only be felt towards a child.

..."I feel time passing like sand slipping through my fingers. Perhaps it is good that we remember only fragments of their childhood as we grow older. Otherwise, the loss would be too great to bear."...

Lucy's fears, worries, anxiety, loneliness and exhaustion are not her own. It all sounds so utterly familiar, as if someone overheard your own thoughts and shared your own experience. And yet, the Slummy Mummy does not hold a tiny bit of depression. As if Lucy Sweeney pondered on one of the big-sized dilemmas of her life "To laugh or to cry" and finally voted for the former.
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Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
I am continuing to listen to the audiobook because I paid for it. And I like Katherine Kellgren's voice narration. And I'm often bored in the car. Not sure those are the best reasons to finish a book but that's all I've got. The premise of the book is what drew me in - working mother juggling virtually all of the responsibilities of children, home, and life in general. However, Lucy Sweeney (the main character) is NO Kate Reddy (of I Don't Know How She Does It by Allison Pearson). She is, to be quite honest, a mess. Every mother finds herself in frantic moments from time to time, but there is no way anyone is this inept. Mold in the car? Losing your credit card 9 times? And the whole eyebrow thing was just stupid. I work full time and have two children and still manage to not let mold grow in my car. I'm not perfect by any means but come on! The total lack of concentration and complete cluelessness about how to run a house and children (after 8 years! seriously??) began as cringe-worthy and morphed quickly into annoying and frustrating. There are spots where the book really clicks and Lucy appears to be a normal person, but they are unfortunately rare. Lucy relies far too heavily on outright lying or gilding the lily to answer to or excuse everything she says or does. Everything about this character is mess. Even her parents are written as a human form of disorganization. Mess is the primary descriptor for this book. I'm not a "neat freak" but this just crosses the borders of ridiculous and teeters on the edge of being downright slapstick and not at all in touch with reality. I will finish the book but I'm done backing up to catch things I've missed due to the monotony of the storyline. It's difficult at times to keep the thread of the story. I gave this story 2 stars because of the idea of the book, the rare "real" moments and the narrator.
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Format: Paperback
Slummy Mummy is hilarious--and comforting. Yes, its over the top, but where it really hits the mark is in its descriptions of the parental infighting and can-you-top-this behavior in an upscale suburban neighborhood. This mum's neighborhood happens to be outside London, but it could easily be New York or the suburbs of Washington, DC.

If you are the kind of Mom who finds herself overwhelmed by backpacks filled with "parental contracts," requests that you become an unpaid teacher's assistant not to mention nasty cliquish behavior of some mothers groups--you may end up cheering this book. I know I did.
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