Book Reviews

The Woman Who Upped and Left: A Laugh-out-Loud Read That Will Put a Spring in Your Step! by Fiona Gibson

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List Price: £7.99


Paperback: 400 Pages.

Published: 25 February 2016 by Avon

Edition: UK ed.

ISBN: 1847563678

EAN: 9781847563675

Forget about having it all. Sometimes you just want to leave it all behind. Audrey is often seized by the urge to walk out of her house without looking back - but she can't possibly do that. She is a single parent. She is needed. She has a job, a home, responsibilities...and a slothful teenage son's pants to pick up. But no one likes being taken for granted - Audrey least of all - so the time has come for drastic action. And no one's going to stand in her way...


2.0 Stars2.0 Stars  by Anne

Didn't work for me

The title of this book doesn't quite convey the plot. Audrey is a dinner lady, carer and a single mum. She is fed up of her feckless teenage son who makes no contribution and of her romantic life which consists of meeting her boyfriend in a series of TravelLodge type hotels (other chains available) in motorway service stations. When she wins a prize as the Dinner Lady of the Year she is enrolled on a posh cooking course at a luxurious hotel so she leaves home for a week having carefully cooked and left meals for her son and told everyone where she is going. Then she comes back and her life mostly goes on as normal with a few changes as a result of her time away. It's not as earth shattering as you would think.

I found it difficult to like Audrey. She was very passive - all the way through the book things happened to her and she reacted rather than her actually doing anything positive. She is also a bit thick - I realise that the author is trying to portray her as inexperienced and naive but truly what women doesn't understand the concept of a minibar (especially when the prices have to be clearly on display by law) or understand that if she has worked for someone as a carer for four years they can't just say that she is no longer needed without any form of notice or redundancy pay? I was a bit confused too about who exactly Audrey was working for - if it was Mrs B could the daughter fire her ? Also, why didn't she think that she should contact Social Services when she realised that the daughter was making life changing plans for her mother without her consent ? I also thought that she needed to get a grip on her extremely parasitical son - she ends up leaving the course early because he calls her without knowing what the problem was - she is an enabler of his inactivity.

This sounds like I hated the book and I didn't, but I did find it unsatisfying and frustrating because Audrey was such a weak character when, as someone holding down two jobs and bringing up a child alone she should have been so strong. Fortunately, everyone else gathers around and provides a way out of her situation and a better future for her so the ending is hopeful - it would have been nice, however, had she forged that better future herself.

Obviously this story didn't work for me but there's no reason why less pedantic and awkward readers shouldn't enjoy it - it is well enough written and there are plenty of semi-amusing moments (despite the promise of the blurb I at no time laughed out loud reading this book). I received a free copy of this book from the publishers via NetGalley

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