Thursday, September 3, 2015

The Misadventures of a Playground Mother - Christie Barlow

I received a free ARC of this book through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.  All opinions are my own.

Book: The Misadventures of a Playground Mother
Author: Christie Barlow
Publisher: Bookotoure Books
Release Date: September 15, 2015

Synopsis: Rachel, a mother living in a small English village, relays a year in her life as a playground mother.  Old friendships fall apart, new friendships develop, and major life changes occur for the characters throughout the course of the novel. 

As I mentioned, Rachel is a mother living in a small English village, and this is the story of a year in her life.  When the novel opens, we find ourselves at Rachel and Matt's home on New Years Day, which is also Rachel's birthday.  Rachel and several friends who spent the night at her house are all tremendously hungover, which seems to be a theme for them on NYD.  So, Rachel's kids are all thunked down in front of the TV while the adults try to recover.  

While they are all sitting around, an ambulance appears at the neighbors house across the street.  The man, referred to only as the Frisky Pensioner (FP), has passed away.  After FP's body has been brought to the hospital, his son, the ferrier (who we later learn is called Jason) stops by Rachel's house looking for his dad.  She talks to him for a bit, then tells him where to go.  

Shortly after that, all the guests have gone and Rachel thinks she's finally going to have some time to herself.  But, Penelope stops by in a tizzy, wanting to spend the night because she's left Rupert.  This sets off a crazy chain events.  Throughout the rest of the novel, so many things happen that I can't help but wonder if they actually all occurred over the course of one year, or if the author is exaggerating.  

Anyway, let's get on to what I thought about this book.  If I am being honest, this was one of the most poorly written books I've read in a long time.  There were so many inconsistencies in the timeline and so many grammatical errors, I couldn't help but wonder if the author even had an editor.  For example, here are a few sentences that are constructed in a most "delightful" manner:

"Samuel age eight appeared with my mug of tea."  There should have been two commas in that sentence - after Samuel and after eight.

"Luckily, for Rupert, we arrived on the scene before he was arrested causing bodily harm to his wife."  Commas?  No - they should not be in this sentence.
"Her antics in Spain could have caused massive trouble between Matt, and me...." Again, no commas should appear in this phrase.
There were so many other sentences like this through out the book, as well as several sentences that didn't have quotation marks to signify someone was talking.  In addition to the grammatical errors, there were several inconsistencies in the plot that really should have been figured out before now.  For example, Penelope has a one night stand at the beginning of March, and she is still pregnant on December 31st.  That's a 10 month pregnancy.  Rachel and her husband go on a two week vacation in May, and in June they say it's hard to believe they've been back for two months.  
At the beginning of the novel, we meet a woman called Botox Bernie, who is called BB.  The author insists on reminding us that BB stands for Botox Bernie no less than three times in the first ten pages.  I believe those are easy initials to remember.  We are also reminded repeatedly of how the Frisky Pensioner got his nickname - as if we could possibly forget. 

The characters are not very well rounded in this story, and appear not to have any personal growth by the end of the novel.  The people with abrasive personalities all seemed to blend together until I had to remind myself who was who.

Overall, I would not recommend this book to anyone unless you want to read something that is not well written.  If this book goes through an excellent editing process and gets re-released I may change my thoughts, as the story had potential.  But otherwise, I say, read something else!

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