At long last Sarah Chilton has finally bagged her perfect man; she can see the perfect house with the white picket fence and ‘room for a pony’ coming into view and even hear the distant chime of wedding bells and the pitter patter of tiny feet. It’s all going to be so wonderful…well, not quite… Follow the often hilarious trials and tribulations of one, ever so ordinary, Mum who is left literally holding the newborn baby, whilst trying to keep her job, home and sanity. Battling with what feels like half the cast of a Harry Potter movie, plotting her revenge against Voldermort and tackling the institutions and stigma of single motherhood all take their toll, Will it be the wine, Classic FM, TV or Prozac to the rescue?
REVIEWS & ENDORSEMENTS
Book Review: Being Sarah Chilton
By Jami Deise
The term “unreliable narrator” is usually reserved for mysteries and thrillers that play mind games with their readers. Gone Girl is the latest, most famous example, although the trend actually began with Agatha Christie’s The Murder of Roger Ackroyd, written in 1927. An unreliable narrator is a first person protagonist who doesn’t tell the reader everything needed to fully grasp what’s going on in the story. Key details – usually the ones that make the protagonist look bad —are left out, and others are given more importance than they deserve.
The most common unreliable narrator, however, doesn’t lurk in the pages of mysteries or thrillers. No, she (and it’s almost always a she) is often found on the general fiction shelves, with a pink cover and a title in a cursive font. She’s the women’s fiction protagonist who writes her story in the form of a diary.
Novels in diary form (and their close cousin, the novel-as-a-series-of-letters) have been around for centuries. While readers of women’s fiction might automatically think of Bridget Jones’s Diary, the most famous diary novel is arguably Dracula. Whatever the genre, the diary-as-novel is limited in that entries are only written when the diarist has something to write, the ability to write it down, and the energy to do so. Much more than the first person protagonist of a narrative book, characters and events are filtered not only through the diarist’s experience, but written down after the fact. The result can be a deeply one-sided story.
Diarist Sarah Chilton has that annoying but understandable habit that most diary keepers have – she only writes when she’s unhappy. Ruth Briddon’s Being Sarah Chilton begins in January 1998, the day Sarah meets Chris. Sarah is a British part-time secretary for an accountant, leading a mundane life when a new insurance broker moves into the office next door. Chris is tall, dark and handsome, and Sarah is swept completely off her feet. Rather than spending time writing in her diary, she’s too busy having sex with Chris. Soon enough, they are living together, then engaged, then married. It all happens relatively quickly, and Sarah’s penchant to skip writing when she’s happy means that the reader never really gets a full picture of Chris, or what their marriage is like. After they’ve settled down, Chris spends more and more time working, or in the British version of the Army Reserves, or drinking with his buddies. Sarah, bored, decides it’s the right time for a baby. But when her son is born, it’s not the beautiful experience she planned for. Chris is barely present; Jonathan requires a C-section after days of labor; Sarah is in a lot of pain and has trouble breastfeeding, and the nurses are cold. But things go from bad to worse when Sarah brings the baby home and Chris is too busy to help care for him, or for Sarah. And then the kicker: Chris announces he’s met someone else. He’s leaving her to take care of the baby and manage her life all by herself.
Being Sarah Chilton is touted by its publishers as the next Bridget Jones's Diary , but it’s an uneven book that does not live up to that comparison. Sarah is a nice enough narrator, but she misses the clues that Chris is more Mr. Right Now than Mr. Right. She seems more eager to just get married and settle down than to make sure she’s with the right person. And because the book is written as a diary, the reader only gets Sarah’s impression of Chris, and doesn’t get to evaluate him for herself.
The second part of the book is funnier, as Sarah pulls herself up by her bootstraps and gets on with her life. While still not up to Bridget Jones’ standards, Sarah is self-deprecating and wry. Clocking in at just over 90 minutes on my Kindle, this is a fast read that would be a good companion for the pool or the beach. Even so, I was left wondering why author Briddon decided to write a comedy. She counsels women who have had traumatic birth experiences, as Sarah did. But the nature of the diary/book and the requirements of comedy led Briddon to downplay Sarah’s trauma and recovery in favor of other events in her life. I did enjoy Being Sarah Chilton, but I was also left wondering whether a drama featuring traumatic birth and post-partum depression might be a more natural fit for the author, rather than chasing after Bridget Jones’ tail.
Thanks to John Hunt Publishing for the book in exchange for an honest review. ~ Melissa, Chick Lit Central
By julie keen -
This review is from: Being Sarah Chilton: ( A guide for all Mums when the sh*t hits the fan) (Kindle Edition)
if you love Bridget Jones you will love this laugh out loud book ~ Julie Keen, Amazon
This book should be in the bounty pack you pick up from boots (do new mums still get those?) This and an introduction to sudacrem & infacol would have saved a year of living in a hidden state of sheer panic and fear!
I've tried to share my experience of birth & new Mum paranoia with as many first timers as I can, not to frighten but reassure that you're not a freak when you find out none of the hyped dreamy mummy stuff happens for you - it does feel like everyone else is breezing through all of the crap whilst you're sinking fast! Now this wonderful author has put it so accurately into a book (kindly even including the blood transfusion - yes, me too) I will be suggesting as a must read to my (over) expectant pals... I don't really begrudge the ease some seem to naturally have with new Mum stuff, I just wish we were all a bit more open about the crap so we aren't setting up to fail!
That said, read this book if you're a parent or not because it will make snot/tea (wine) fly out of your nose! Well written with humour and poignantly accurate - for us anyway, we have a hagrid/voldermort.
Can't wait for the next instalment.... hurry up, my jojo has just turned 13... ~ Chelleyesblu, Amazon
This is the diary of Sarah, a career girl in her 20s who has almost given up on finding Mr Right, when along comes Chris, charming, handsome, wonderful - or so he seems. As funny and engaging as Bridget Jones' diaries, we follow Sarah's ups and downs as she catapults into marriage and motherhood - finding out that life doesn't always pan out as planned, but what doesn't kill you really does make you stronger... This is the debut novel by parenting counsellor Ruth Briddon, and features her personal experiences of motherhood. A definite must-read for all mums, proving its perfectly normal not to be a super-mum all the time. Being Sarah Chilton features moving emotional situations together with superbly funny moments - all of which will have you reaching for the tissues both in sadness and in laughter. (AT) ~ chicklitclub.com, chicklitclub club
I've absolutely laughed myself silly reading this. I can identify so much with it that it could be about me. I had caesareans and felt exactly the same and my first outing to an NCT coffee morning was pretty much the same as Sarah's. It's a very easy read, the sort you could enjoy round the pool on holiday - which is a good thing. I love Sarah's conversational tone. She's a very likeable character and I found myself wanting to stick with her to see how things worked out. I like the idea of writing it as a diary but I'll be honest and say that I'd love it as a fully-written out novel even more. That said, it's still one of the most entertaining reads I've had on Authonomy. Highly starred and straight on my bookshelf.
~ Melanie La Vie , Authonomy
Well well well. What have got here? A tsunami of excitement. I particularly laughed when you talked about sex and said no one would read it, knowing we all reading it. You are funny. Good stuff, you should write part two!
~ Jenny Hill, Authonomy
If 'Bridget Jones' had a child and then was left on her tod, this book is what would happen next, very funny and easy to read! Reminds us that life is never what we plan, but that we can take control and make it our own. ~ Kate Osborne, Editor