Depression grabs hold of a middle-aged housewife in the British author’s third novel, her first to appear in the United States.
Postpartum depression descended upon ex-actress Fran Clark when she became a mother. Now, with her two kids in school, it’s time to take stock of the future. Trouble is, routine and the rigors of parenting have killed Fran’s spirit. To the outside world, Fran has little to complain about: She has healthy offspring, a hardworking husband, unquestionable talent and financial comfort. Yet she can’t shake off the malaise. Fran’s woes—weight gain, boredom, fear of career failure after taking a break—may be familiar, but she’s unique, and when she screws up, she does it theatrically. On her 37th birthday, she treats herself to a full-blown panic attack marked by binge drinking and lashing out at her loved ones. As a result, her marriage suffers seemingly irreparable damage; her once doting spouse moves out leaving Fran to cope with kids and home. Slowly, Fran reconnects with her non-mummy identity and pieces together her life. Beaumont nails the cattiness and competitiveness of upper-middle-class über-mums. Any woman who has sacrificed her dreams to nurture a family will identify with Fran.
Beaumont’s batty heroine is a gift for dissatisfied housewives.