THE GOOD ENOUGH MOTHER, BY ANOUSHKA BEAZLEY
PUBLICATION: LARCHWOOD PRESS; JULY 9, 2016
About the book:
Gatlin – a leafy, affluent town: Chelsea tractors and ladies who lunch. However, all is not as it seems. Drea, a most unnatural mother, struggles to find private school fees for her step-daughter Ava after her boyfriend leaves her for another woman. Watching the yummy mummies she becomes inspired, hatching a daring and criminal plan…unleashing all hell in the quiet town of Gatlin. Can Drea survive the fallout and the wrath of the PTA? A satirical and hilarious black comedy about love, motherhood and the human condition.
The Good Enough Mother is hands-down one of the funniest books I have ever read! This is the crazy story of Drea and the incidents occurring after her live-in boyfriend Alex lives her for a younger woman. Alex doesn’t just leave Drea, but his teenaged daughter, Ava – along with the burden of her expensive private school tuition. Drea and Ava live with Drea’s Dad, an old man obsessed with watching porn. Drea is not a cookie-cutter type of Mom, but instead drinks a lot, smokes a lot of weed, and frequently uses very colorful 4-letter words. So as Drea tries to figure out how to keep paying Ava’s tuition, she decides to turn to a life of crime.
I thought Drea was absolutely fabulous, however, be warned that if you are easily offended by language then you probably won’t be a big fan of Drea or this story. But anyway, this is a book that had me laughing at loud the entire time. Drea is so inappropriate in the way she behaves with everyone, especially Ava, but Ava is a great girl and obviously has grown accustomed to Drea and the crazy things she says. While Drea is thinking up and carrying out criminal acts to raise tuition money, Ava is busy trying to make friends with the popular girls and also running for class President. Drea’s Dad typically stays in his room watching porn, but he’s started venturing out somewhere every day, although Drea isn’t sure where. Drea shifts from hating and arguing with the elite moms at Ava’s private school to trying to fit in with them, and even agreeing to participate in a bake sale. In the meantime, she has a therapist that hits on her and wants to take her home to his special “room,” as well as, a detective investigating the crimes in the area taking a special interest in her also.
As outlandish and crazy as this story is, it does address a very real and possible situation for many of us – how to come up with school tuition? Granted there is the argument of sending your child to public school, but Drea wanted Ava to stay in the school she had attended for so long and maintain some normalcy for her in light of her father leaving. There are also several political undertones weaved throughout the story about the overall debate between public and private schools and how fair it is for some to get a better education because their parents have more money. The great thing about the whole thing, however, is an unexpected source for the tuition that emerges throughout the novel!
Another issue is Drea’s lingering grief related to her childhood and the loss of her mother. Drea hasn’t had the opportunity to properly deal with and process what happened and her associated feelings, as well as, almost feels as if it’s her legacy to follow in her mother’s footsteps. I don’t want to provide spoilers but it does provide insight into why Drea is the way she is and there are pronounced personal improvements and changes in her by the time the novel concludes.
If you’re a very prim and proper PTA mom then, this may not be the book for you. However, if you’ve ever felt slighted or outcast by the snobby, perfect, over-bearing mothers out there, then this wildly entertaining and hilarious novel may be just what the doctor ordered! Anoushka Beazley’s writing style, characterization, and blunt dialogue all add up to a fabulous novel that I was not able to put down!
*Many, many thanks to the author for a copy of this novel in exchange for an honest review!