Release Date: November 10th, 2022
Genre: Contemporary- Humour
Rating: 5/5 Stars
I received this book from HarperCollins via NetGalley – views remain my own.
I hadn’t heard of Serena Terry, Mammy Banter, or The Secret Life of an Uncool Mum before picking up The Sh!te Before Christmas, and I actually knew very little about the book going in. Spoiler: this is really great, really funny, something I think most 30+ women can relate to with or without kids, and I now have The Secret Life on pre-order for the paperback. Bring on March so I can dig right into that.
Tara is eight months pregnant, with a rebellious teen daughter, two wee boys, and a husband acting very out of character. Add to this her estranged mother moving back in, and Tara’s dreams of the perfect Christmas seem to be disappearing. But Tara is a woman who will not be stopped; despite mishaps and misunderstandings, maybe the perfect Christmas isn’t quite that far out of reach.
I absolutely loved this book. It’s got such a wonderful sense of humour, Tara’s voice feels really unique, and along with the laugh out loud moments there are wonderfully sweet, heartfelt scenes. Something I really appreciated was how many women Tara is surrounded by, and how they all, in different ways, come through for her. It’s lovely, and it really shows how no one can be expected to go it alone.
There’s Tara’s two best friends, her Rebel Mums group, and the Ys, a group of early-20-somethings whose names all end in Y. As Tara struggles to deal with the goings-on at home, she realises she has her own communities to turn to, for whatever it is she needs.
It feels like a really honest portrayal of family life, too, with Tara trying to juggle the three kids, avoid disasters, and work out what exactly is going on with her husband. It’s hard not to say too much without giving away some of the funniest scenes, but Terry writes with such love and humour, and you can really feel how much Tara cares about her family, even when they’re pushing her to her limit.
Overall I really enjoyed this book, and it’s been a while since I laughed this much when reading. It’s perfect for the Christmas period, and I really look forward to reading more about Tara.