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Comfort and Joy

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3.24  ·  Rating Details ·  748 Ratings  ·  141 Reviews
Twice-divorced mother of three Clara Dunphy loves Christmas, despite the frenzy of last-minute shopping, and wants to make it perfecta challenge at the best of times but particularly with an incoming slew of in-laws, out-laws, ex-stepfathers, and hangers-on.
Audio
Published September 1st 2011 by Blackstone Audiobooks (first published November 1st 2010)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
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Beth
I was going with one star until the quite moving ending.

My main problem with C+J is familiarity with the author. Not personal familiarity, but in that I used to read her column every single week and I'm familiar with her life story. This leads me to conclude that Clara Dunphy is one of the most obvious self-interests (in my opinion) that I have ever read.

It shouldn't bother me as much as it does, but I'll be honest and say, yes, it does, especially when I can't stop ticking boxes in my head, for
...more
Carol
Dec 22, 2012 Carol rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
My holiday read this year jumped into my hands after several of my GoodReads friends mentioned this book. At the end of the page, this was not exactly what I was expecting. Though it does have some lol funny spots, the underlying issues are those most of us experience during the season and often cause us to feel a bit less than jolly. Still, like the female narrator in Comfort & Joy, we somehow take joy in the love and sharing, despite the quirkiness, stress, etc. that too much family can pr ...more
Jennifer
I actually found this book listed in a Guardian article where authors talked about their favorite books of the year. I forget now which author listed this book but since they also listed One Day by David Nichols (which I loved) I thought I would pick this one up. As soon as I started it I groaned. Chick Lit! A middle aged woman is whinging about her looks, her family, the crush of the Christmas season...so she ducks into a hotel bar for a drink and meets a man. Could this possibly be on anyone's ...more
Anne
Dec 26, 2011 Anne rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I kept getting strange looks from Martin as I was reading India Knight's 'Comfort and Joy', because of the snorts of laughter that kept coming from my direction. Not lady-like, gentle little snorts, but great big loud honking snorts! First of all, you really need to 'get' India Knight's style of humour, espcially if you want a really good snort. She is often crude, near the knuckle and unforgiving. If you like your Christmas humour sedate and traditional then maybe Eric and Ernie would be more y ...more
MissSusie
Dec 03, 2013 MissSusie rated it really liked it
Comfort and Joy by India Knight, narrated by, Anne Flosnik

Hmm what to say about Comfort & Joy, first of all this isn’t your normal sappy with a good moral Christmas story it is more Sex in the City meets AbFab Christmas story. And that is exactly what I liked about this book it was fun and had many laugh out loud moments, but not one you want to listen to in public without earbuds in it does get a little racy in spots but that is half the fun of this book.

I liked the characters in this book,
...more
Trish
Dec 12, 2012 Trish rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction, british, funny, ebook
If you’d ever thought Christmas was a mad, mad time of the year, check out this laugh-out-loud funny story of a twice-divorced mother, Clara, who loves the Christmas spirit so much that she continues to host her two ex-husbands and her former mother-in-law every year along with her own extended family for a wild and merry day.

Christmas tradition is sacrosanct and our heroine (what else could we call her?) manages to make especial truffle treats for the vegetarians of the group while satisfying
...more
Denise
Dec 14, 2011 Denise rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Comfort and Joy follows Clara Dunphy backwards and forwards through her life to all the significant Christmases she encounters. She is a British everywoman - mother, wife, and daughter who is forever determined to make every Christmas the perfect day for her large brood of friends, family, and ex-husbands. Yearly she drives herself to the brink of madness searching for the perfect presents, cooking the requisite giant meal, and trying to maintain harmony among her troops.

I'm sure that many peopl
...more
Nancy
Nov 01, 2013 Nancy rated it did not like it
I tried to get through this book, but I just couldn't stand it any longer. The main character is just murmuring about her Christmas shopping in the first of the book. Then she goes into a hotel to have a drink, and an extremely good looking man asks if he can sit with her. She has all kinds of thoughts about having sex with him, but doesn't. Later in the book she tells a friend how offended she used to be with the language her first husband used about their love making, and of course she told he ...more
Lynne - The Book Squirrel
I really enjoyed this book. If you have large family Christmases now or as a child, with all the trimmings and loved them then this is for you. Clara organises her family Christmases, complete with 2 ex husbands, 2 half sisters, friends, neighbours, children, her mother and a mother-in-law and various relationships. The story takes you through 3 Christmases 2009-2011 and all the trials and tribulations of it all. It makes you laugh, makes you sad and it reminded me of my childhood Christmases wi ...more
Corene
Dec 18, 2014 Corene rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I remember reading the author's "My Life on a Plate" years ago and being amused by it, so I was pleased to discover this lightweight, humorous followup on audio. A divorced, British mum gathers her clan of children, exes, friends and even an ex-mother-in-law together over three consecutive Christmases. There's a lot of bawdy talk, some laugh out loud bits of dialogue, one exotic locale and an ending that leaves open the possibility of another sequel, involving more extended family. The audio edi ...more
Jennifer Dines
I thought this book would be a light and heart-warming Christmas read. Instead, I was met with unrelatable characters and a disorganized plot. Unlike other works of fiction I read, this book offered me zero emotional attachments to its characters. Instead, it is about a bunch of wealthy people who have no real struggles except for cleaning truffles and sheer nightgowns. I wouldn't mind so much if this book was humorous, but it wasn't. It was dull and annoying.
Richard
Dec 23, 2015 Richard rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
This book is about over-moneyed, entitled, never do any work, tedious Londoners. Irritating and I didn't like any of the characters who have no redeeming features.

Did make me smile in places.
Zim
Dec 24, 2013 Zim rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
The main lesson that I got from this book is that blood is not always thicker than water. Sometimes, water is thicker than blood. HAHA! Read the book if you want to know what I mean.
Tove
Nov 29, 2015 Tove rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: bokklubben
It is weak. It's not analytical, self-observant, nor self-aware, but it needs to be, I think. It's judgy and smart-assed. Kind of amusing at times, but mostly dull, weird and provoking.
Helen
Apropos and fitting pre Christmas read. Enjoyable, light, funny, with lots of interesting characters. Largely about a privileged, extended and complicated family, and their middle class, chaotic Christmas gatherings, which are organised and hosted by the delightful Clara. They are mostly an indulged spoilt bunch, but if you can overlook their (at times) shallow, arrogant, selfish, entitled personalities, and some of drama queen Clara's self destructive, snobbish and self absorbed ramblings, you ...more
Jayne Catherine pinkett
What a hilarious read. Just like reading a cross between a sitcom and a Stand up comic routine. Set over Christmas time three consecutive years. Christmas is stressful and at times full of family drama, India Knight captures this beautifully. A great easy read which makes you laugh out loud. So true to life
Claire
Feb 02, 2017 Claire rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A mish mash of family and friends celebrating several Christmases together = a funny and easy to read book. I'm unsure why the book's average rating is so low. The only downside was the odd and annoying half-sisters but I don't think that detracts too much. I really liked it and thought the humour was similar to that from Miranda Hart
Barb
Different, funny, poignant

Clara is nothing like Bridget Jones, so I am not sure why the publisher felt it should be used for marketing the book. Clara does have slightly unusual Christmas events as she includes former spouses and in-laws. She knows some people that are odd, but she is not a bumbling bimbo who seems to attract amazing men. So the comparison to Bridget Jones is lost on me.
What I do see in Clara is a woman who has difficulty with her relationships, probably due to having never me
...more
Serendipity Reviews
Clara is a harassed mother of three children from two different dads. Every year she goes out of her way to create the best Christmas with hilarious results. The book covers three different years. It starts with 2009 and ends with 2011. Each Christmas sees her going all out to cater for up to fifteen different people, all with differing tastes. The best Christmas they have is the last one, when she decides to book a trip for the whole family in Marrakesh.
This book was absolutely hilarious to be
...more
Nicole
Dec 18, 2016 Nicole rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: borrow
I wanted Christmassy Garbage but this was actually not that Christmassy and instead was just garbage.
Janet
Oct 11, 2011 Janet rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Comfort and Joy's story starts on December 23rd, 2009. In fact, if you're not careful, you might not realize that the book is broken up into different sections: the holiday seasons of 2009, 2010 and 2011, respectively. The cast of characters largely remains the same, but their lots in life change a little bit here and there.

While I typically like books that follow the same characters over the course of time I didn't feel like picking three, consecutive holiday seasons really did justice to our k
...more
Gayle
Dec 11, 2012 Gayle rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I ended up liking this book a bit more at the end than at the beginning. If I could, I'd give it 2.5 stars. If I hadn't been stuck in a 2-hour doctor's appointment to get through most of it, I don't think I'd have finished it, although I'm glad enough I got through it as there are some funny bits (I do like India Knight's humour) and by the end things seem okay and people are mostly happy. But for at least the first half of the book, I felt the opposite of Christmas cheer. Everyone was SO unhapp ...more
Kiki
Jan 01, 2012 Kiki rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I really loved Bridget Jones' Diary, but most other "chick lit" leaves me cold. I usually read A Christmas Carol during the holiday season. But when this popped up on my library's download page, I requested it out of curiosity and it came just in time for Christmas.

I was not expecting to laugh quite as much as I did, nor I was expecting some of the shocking language coming from a female writer/journalist, which I guess may be a double standard on my part, but I just don't read a lot of novels w
...more
Polly
Jan 13, 2011 Polly rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I read this in one afternoon, on Boxing day, which was quite appropriate - it's definitely the kind of book that benefits from being read during the festive season. If you like India Knight's other books, you'll like this one. If you can't get over her upper-middle-class opinions/terribly eccentric family with tonnes of money, then it's probably not for you. I expect this was probably described as a 'festive romp' in women's magazines, it's very funny in parts (I was chuckling away to myself lik ...more
Jeannie
Feb 07, 2012 Jeannie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I did laugh out loud on page 38, but most bathroom humor, which this book is full of, is not my cup of tea. I grew very tired of reading about poo. This being said, I will forever remember why it is necessary to spend under three minutes in the bathroom of my host.

The entire rest of the book was really fun to read. I love being on the inside of someone's life and I am pretty sure this is the authors cleverly disguised life. It's real, it's eccentric, it has the ring of truth that we can all ide
...more
Victoria
Dec 05, 2012 Victoria rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: chick-lit, brit-lit
What a genuine and fun Christmas novel! I thoroughly enjoyed reading about Clara’s large and rather unorthodox family over three consecutive Christmases. Clara narrated some truly hilarious scenes and each character - both minor and major - came vividly to life. It was a genuine joy to read this last night, curled up near my own Christmas tree. Knight captured a lot of genuine emotion, but without the book exuding an overly sentimental or sappy tone. And many of the observations were absolutely ...more
Kristin
Mar 15, 2012 Kristin rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I have such a soft spot for India Knight. Clara Dunphy (nee Hutt) is one of my favorite characters of all time, and I love her rambling and supremely hysterical narration. I laughed out loud so many times during this book, and I rarely laugh out loud while reading/watching TV.

Comfort and Joy isn't so much a story as a catch-up with an old friend. It starts about eight years after My Life On a Plate ends, and it's a three-year look at Clara's life on Christmas and Christmas Eve. Not much plot, bu
...more
Moira
Dec 30, 2014 Moira rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is so well written, you will be able to identify with both people and subjects she brings up in this book, that I guarantee. There were so many insights which made me stop and think, yes, that's true and I'd never thought about it before.

Here's the thing, I love Christmas and by association, Christmas themed books, but rarely is one so clever. They are all lovely, heartwarming, sometimes funny....this book is all those things and one thing more. It will stay with you and you'll not only adm
...more
Jes Adams
Dec 11, 2011 Jes Adams rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was an older, sassier chick lit novel. A friend loaned it to me by saying "I don't like chick lit but I loved this" and I can see how she would say this. The main character was opinionated, but I agreed with her on *so much* that I ended up nodding along a lot. I also laughed out loud many times throughout. I liked the time shifts over three years, and seeing how the characters changed (or didn't). I had a hard time keeping a few of the characters straight at some points, but this didn't re ...more
Heather
Well if that wasnt a fun read. I don't give it 4 stars because it's laden with too much crass language, too much unnecessary sex talk (if it was not gratuitous, I wouldn't care, but it seemed so), and the whole grownups getting stoned two nights before Xmas with kids in the house was a little too much too. But, having said that, I had fun reading this story. Set in London(which I always love), with people and their messy relationships, and Xmas time being the features setting, I was hooked. Espe ...more
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India Knight is a British journalist. Her novels have been translated into 28 languages.

Knight, a native French speaker, lived in Brussels until about the time she turned nine. After migrating to the United Kingdom, she was educated in London. She was awarded an exhibition to Trinity College, Cambridge, where she read Modern Languages from 1984-1987, before starting her career in journalism.

In add
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Happy Christmas, Clara. Xx.
Yes, I know. I know that text doesn't look like much. But... actually. First note the comma. I feel proud of his comma, and of being his comma's recipient.”
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