“One day I will find the right words, and they will be simple”
– Jack Kerouac
Write what you know about, what you’re familiar with, I’ve heard those lines dozens of times from writing workshops, and books on writing; advice for people who want to write their own novel for the very first time and Ericka Waller, did just that.
This is a must-read for all mothers; you’ll recognise each and every character she has mentioned on the book. The school-run mothers, I know them too. You know, those who like to stand around in circles, talking as if they have nothing else important to do. Perhaps, they’re just stalling and doing their best to delay going back home to a pile of unwashed dishes/laundry, not to mention the mess in the living room. Women who make you feel like a crap parent, because their kids go to school with packed lunches straight out of a pinterest page (What?! Your daughter’s sandwich isn’t shaped like a Ninja turtle?!) And yes, they are also probably the same mums who have been drilling their kids with flash cards even before school started. Thank goodness there are no mums in Little T’s school who show up with matching shoes and handbags. But then again, that’s because we live in a small village by the sea. We however have, slim, tall and blonde mothers. The rest of us are short and fat. Yes, I also am aware that all these are probably just in our heads. We mothers are nuts, like that. But no one else is allowed to say it, or else there will be war!
Erica Waller vividly describes this. Confessions of a Mother Inferior is funny, witty and is sad too. It’s not just the characters who suspiciously sounds like your friend or next-door-neighbor, but also the situations, and instances. It’s almost like you’ve invited her to your home after the school run, for a cuppa, and a little chit-chat. You know the loneliness that engulfs you as you plod on each day picking up duplo or lego parts, and you’re wondering, is this it? Is this my life? And you think I used to have a life and a career. Whatever happened, and then the guilt seeps in and you think, you’re not supposed to feel that way, because you love your family and your kids.
And Peta, the main character in the book not only has to deal with all these, she is also dealing with grief, the death of her best-friend, even though it’s been four years, the pain is still there. Then there are worries about her children: Her middle child is not fully toilet trained and the eldest who just started reception class is having her own difficulties at school which would break any mother’s heart. Then there’s her husband. There are indications that he might be having an affair with his beautiful young PA. But is he really cheating on her?
I enjoyed the book, although sharper editing might have trimmed it down just a little bit, without diminishing the narrative (this process may have filtered out the handful of typographical errors that inhibited the flow). And I also have to admit though that at first, I was a bit worried it was going to be one of those books that try too much to be funny and then like a bad joke, just fall flat in the end. But she manages it perfectly well.
Erica is also a blogger and yes, I am familiar with her blog. Admittedly again, I was worried about that too. You see, the problem with bloggers who end up writing a book is that the reader (especially if that reader has read her blog), might struggle to separate the blogger, her life (or what she has shared in her blog) from the novel. Yes, there are similarities. In real life, she also has three kids, with the same age bracket, and is also a writer (a journalist). But does it matter? To me it doesn’t. She manages to pull it off too!
I was a little disappointed with the ending, but that’s just me. Don’t worry, I won’t mention it here, you’ll have to read the book, and I do emphasise that – it’s a definite must-read, especially if you’re looking for an insight into a mother’s concerns and pressures, feelings that are so rarely shared – even at the school gate.
Disclaimer: I was sent the book by Britain’s Next Bestseller for the purpose of this review, but opinions and photo is by yours truly.