The Bad Mother's Handbook
By Kate Long
(Ballantine Books, Paperback, 9780345479662, 384pp.)
Publication Date: June 27, 2006
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BAD MOTHER RULE #1: NEVER, EVER, DO WHAT I DID!
For seventeen-year-old Charlotte Cooper, it’s too late. Despite her best efforts to finish school, tune out her angry, slightly hysterical mother, and cope with her loving but dotty grandmother, she is unexpectedly (now that’s an understatement) pregnant. And don’t even mention the jerk who knocked her up.
Charlotte’s mother, Karen, is trying to convince herself that there are worse things than becoming a grandmother at thirty-three. For instance, there’s wanting to kill Charlotte for the mess she’s made of her life. Between struggling to pay the bills and halfheartedly filling out questionnaires on Internet dating sites, Karen uncovers a scandalous family secret involving her own birth, and then falls back into bed with her sexy ex-husband. So much for perfect timing.
In the meantime, Karen’s mother, Nan, is having a wee bit of trouble with names (sometimes her own). But that doesn’t keep her from retaining a few things she’d rather forget. Of course, Nan knows that everything will work out fine for Charlotte and the baby–these things usually do. Now, if only she could put the pieces of her own fragmented memory together, she might have an interesting tale or two to share.
In this wickedly funny, disarmingly moving novel, three generations of mothers learn that it’s the simplest mistakes that can change your life forever. With wit and wisdom, Kate Long proves that there are as many kinds of mothers as there are daughters, but the love that binds them all is what truly matters.
KATE LONG lives in Shropshire, England. This is her first novel.
Advance praise for The Bad Mother’s Handbook
“The Bad Mother’s Handbook reminds us that there is neither the perfect time nor the perfect way to be a mother, and that life, in fact, is what happens when you’re busy making other plans. For the sheer laughter and love and crankiness of the entire parenting endeavor, spend some time with the three generations of Cooper women. This is a book for anyone who’s ever been part of a family (and you know who you are).”
–Whitney Otto, author of How to Make an American Quilt and A Collection of Beauties at the Height of Their Popularity
“Precious few are ever truly ready to become a mother. For the rest of us, thank God, there is The Bad Mother’s Handbook. In a juggling act as impressive as motherhood itself, Kate Long manages to brilliantly balance equal parts heartbreak and hilarity in a novel that you will love unconditionally.”
–Sarah Bird, author of The Yokota Officers Club
“The Bad Mother’s Handbook is a bittersweet comedy, a glimpse into the lives of three generations of women that gives the reader a poignant reminder of the highs, the lows, and the sheer bewilderment we all experience in love, life and growing up. A must read for mothers and daughters everywhere.”
–Gemma Townley, author of When in Rome . . .
“This is a book to press tearfully on all your friends saying how much it will make them laugh. Kudos to Kate Long!”
–Sarah Salway, author of The ABCs of Love