Books

The Best Things – Mel Giedroyc

When famous people for something other than writing then write a book, there is always an element of doubt and trepidation. Looking back at reviews now I have read it, seemed to be very much of the love it or loathe it variety but shows you that not all books are for everyone, despite who wrote it.

I could hear the author’s voice as if she was telling me the story as we got to know Sally and Frank Parker. They had it all literally and then one day they didn’t.

Sally is living a half life, she has everything, she doesn’t even have to think. She has people to do that for her, whether it be ferrying the children a few yards to school, to the cooking and the laundry. She just needs to get up and be there, be part of those groups in the suburbs who are simply trying to out do each other. Whether it be home dรฉcor, shopping, holidays or clothes. Think Margot Leadbetter but in the 21st century!

However Sally is in for a rude awakening and thankfully so were some of the more unpleasant characters in the book.

Sally has to think. She has to save herself from her husband Frank as well as save him from himself. Then there are the children, Stephen, overweight and addicted to online games, Cleo who has no sense common or otherwise and her interactions were aspiring and so astute they were laugh out loud funny. Mikey, the wheeling dealing eleven year old girl who is going places if only they would listen to her. Then niece Emily, the academic exceeder who feels she has no place in the family anymore.

Add to the mix, a Welsh great granny, a couple of strange uncles and a few dogs and tractors and you have a real mix of a book about what you really need to survive. The trappings of life do not always fulfil what you most want and need.

I was pleasantly surprised at this book, it made me laugh about some of the ridiculousness of the situations but also there was some rather empathic moments especially with the children, which gave it added pathos. What I liked the most, that for added impact perhaps, the author really laid on thick about how much ‘stuff’ they had, whether it be electronic devices, decorations and ornaments from around the world, thirty two named lawnmowers, a pool house, a rack of BBQs and the envy of every other resident in the suburb who were all trying to emulate or be better.

Pure escapism but with an undercurrent that this is a world that does exist and that actually being in that world seems quite frightening. Some great characters to love, loathe and hate!