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Miserable suburban mum grapples with her unraveling marriage in this debut novel about the disappointments of motherhood.

An undiagnosed case of postpartum depression causes Lizzie Buckley to lose control of her life. It’s been three years since the twins were born, but Lizzie remains overwhelmed. Overweight and disheveled, Lizzie spends her days tending to two rambunctious tots with no support system—she barely has time to recognize how wretched she feels. Lizzie’s dashing spouse, James, has a career on the rise and is often called out of town on work assignments. Resentful that she’s had to take the brunt of the childcare duties, Lizzie identifies James as the cause of all her troubles. At the culmination of one especially exhausting day, Lizzie fires off a disgruntled e-mail to her sister laying out all of James’ offenses and declaring, “You know, sometimes I think I wouldn’t miss him at all if he just disappeared.” Lizzie mistakenly fires off the e-mail to James. The wounded James packs his bags and gives Lizzie just what she asked for—a separation. At first, Lizzie panics. She feels as if this is all one big misunderstanding and that James will come to his senses. When groveling phone calls fail to win James back, Lizzie realizes she’s in need of radical change. A little therapy and a newfound obsession with fitness assist Lizzie in shaking her blues and starting to take some responsibility for her life. The question remains: Will all of her self-improvement bring her closer to James or serve to put additional distance between the couple? Chidley, a native of Swaziland who lived for a time in England, sets the novel in a suburb of London, where children can still run free in lush gardens. The setting is appealing, but the characters and plot are stale.

Lizzie is simply too common—a binge-eating, exhausted mom who longs to write children’s books. Yawn.

Pub Date: Oct. 29th, 2008
ISBN: 978-0-446-17814-3
Page count: 376pp
Publisher: 5 Spot/Grand Central Publishing
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1st, 2008