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The Bad Mother's Handbook (Bad Mother Series #1)

3.48  ·  Rating Details ·  1,467 Ratings  ·  134 Reviews
"The Bad Mother's Handbook" is the story of a year in the lives of Charlotte, Karen and Nan, none of whom can quite believe how things have turned out. Why is it all so difficult? Why do the most ridiculous mistakes have the most disastrous consequences? When are you too old to throw up in a flowerbed after too much vodka? When are you too young to be a mother? Both hilari ...more
Paperback, 365 pages
Published 2005 by Picador (first published January 1st 2004)
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Community Reviews

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Mark Lawrence
Feb 18, 2011 Mark Lawrence rated it it was amazing
I very much enjoyed 'The Bad Mother's Handbook'. I see from some of the other reviews that they were expecting something in the vein of 'Bored Housewives' meets 'Sex in the City' and were disappointed at the lack of beautiful people, designer labels, and exotic destinations. I was also expecting something similar and was very pleased to find an entirely different book.

This is a very well written book, closely observed, and without sentimentality it reaches into real lives in a ways that can rea
For a long time I had this book on my to-read-list and I'm glad I finally came around to read it. It's light and fun, engaging, but not very exciting and/or surprising, it made me smile and the characters are very real and easy to relate to. The story is about three generations of women who live under the same roof with each their own problems: Nan, the grand-mother, has health problems, Karen, the mother, is struggling with just about everything and Charlotte, the teenage daughter, becomes unex ...more
Feb 24, 2012 Antonija rated it it was amazing
I don't want to be one of those people who are never impressed with anything, so I gave this book 5 stars although it was not what I expected it to be. After reading the blurbs I thought this would be a funny book about generations of mother-daughter relationships, with witty dialogues and describing a kind of Gilnore Girls mother-daughter closeness. It was far from my expectations.
However, despite the person that wrote the blurbs, this book deserves all the stars it can get because it realisti
Apr 24, 2010 Alayna rated it it was ok
Misleading - the reviews, the description on the jacket, even the hot pink color of the cover...all misleading. I expected chick lit, and a funny one at that. It's really neither. It's disjointed and kind of depressing. It reminds me of the movie Juno - you spend half the time wondering if you should stop reading/watching because it really isn't that good but then you've made it that far and have to finish. And in the end you think "hmm...ok that wasn't a total waste of my time but I don't think ...more
Paula Sealey
Feb 21, 2010 Paula Sealey rated it really liked it
At last, a family situation we can all relate to!

Telling the story of Karen, Charlotte and Nan, three generations of women all trying to get along in one cramped council house, the book recounts a year in their lives and all the ensuing troubles. Their stories are told with such enjoyable warmth that you really care about what happens to them and how their lives will turn out.

I will definitely be reading more Kate Long books now!

Jan 30, 2011 Sandy rated it it was amazing
i never bore of this book - its such an easy read and good to see teen pregnancy and family life through three generations eyes :)

Definately reccommend !
Nimanthika Hettiarachchi
Sep 18, 2012 Nimanthika Hettiarachchi rated it it was amazing
Hilarious! One of the few books that got me laughing out loud and returning to pages again and again!
Caroline Ridge
Jun 08, 2012 Caroline Ridge rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Lovely book, very easy to relate to characters and was touching.
Oct 27, 2013 Ilona rated it really liked it
Shelves: fiction-general, 2013
So many interesting and challenging topics covered in one book! Teen pregnancy, adoption (not of the teen's baby), dementia, caring for the elderly, rising above your roots, repeating/learning from mistakes, the challenges of being a member of the sandwich generation (being both parent and caregiver of a parent)... There's a lot here, and dealt with exceedingly well.

I very much enjoyed this book, but I vacillated between three and four stars because I was so consistently annoyed by Karen, the mo
Mar 12, 2013 Ruth rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Well, that was fun! Or as my copy says on the front cover: A really cracking read!

Not sure why I pulled this down off my's not what I normally turn to. I was pleasantly surprised at how well written it was...I guess I was expecting crap (shame on me!) I was especially impressed on how clear the three first-person voices were. Within a few lines or even a few words, I knew who was speaking, despite how rapidly the changes happened on occasion, a paragraph, sometimes only a line. The
Although I'm generally far from a fan of chick-lit, this book made me smile. It follows three generations of women under one roof: the increasingly confused Nan, reflecting back on her youth; middle-aged Karen, frustrated by her middle class aspirations and determined her daughter should better her lot in life; and 17-year-old Charlotte, pregnant and set on repeating all her mother's mistakes.

The book is hindered by clarity issues, especially towards the beginning, as it can be hard to discern w
Jan 05, 2010 Finn rated it liked it
It's horrific! If you're male and like me chose to play with condoms throughout sex education then it'll gross you out, and you'll probably need therapy. They should actually use this book in schools to put children and adoloescents off of sex and probably the lads from ever wanting children (at least with their wives.)

On a serious note this book is obviously aimed at women and girls of all ages (the story is narrated by three different women of varying ages all living in a somewhat claustrophob
Dec 31, 2010 Elle rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Well... It wasn't what I wanted it to be. There were several flashbacks following three generations of women in different aspects of motherhood. I found the flashbacks annoying at the most. I found some of the plot line predictable and I think that as a good thing because at least that made the story easier to follow.

It's about a woman who has a middle aged woman dealing with the changing roles in her life and dealing with an acerbic teenager who is dealing with her own role in her own life. Ea
Barry Lillie
Mar 16, 2013 Barry Lillie rated it really liked it
I enjoyed this book very much, and it wasn't difficult to see why it became a best-seller and was adapted for TV. The narrative was keenly written and the characters nicely constructed. The dialogue had a smattering of dialect, but not too much, but enough to bring out the Northern charm. At the start of the book I did find it difficult to distinguish between Charlotte's voice and her mothers, but it soon settled down. I did however find the sporadic words written in upper-case off-putting. Ther ...more
Jul 26, 2010 denise rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: book-book
This was a very cute book about 3 generations of women and their view of their shared lives. I enjoyed it and laughed aloud at times, especially while Charlotte (the youngest) was in labor. I've never heard anyone comparing dilation to a dinner plate.

I've read several books by British authors, and I do love a good English phrase now and again. By far, this one had me scratching my head the most. I need to pick up a good English to American dictionary before I read my next Kate Long book. And I w
Jan 12, 2014 Tracy rated it it was amazing
I read this in 2 days, as I couldn't bare to be away from the characters - I had to keep reading! Nobody writes mothers and daughters better than Kate Long and she doesn't disappoint in this story of 3 generations of women living under the same roof. The relationships are complex and emotional and I both laughed and cried throughout. A wonderful read.

After finishing this novel I went onto read 'Swallowing Grandma' by Kate Long as I was so into the voices of her characters. Next on the list is th
Fiona Hopkins
Sep 17, 2010 Fiona Hopkins rated it liked it
This book is true to life which makes it an enjoyable read with a few ‘laugh out loud’ moments. It was rather confusing in places; I didn’t know whose perspective I was reading. I felt the ending of the book was somewhat weak. The grandma was such an important part of the book but she disappeared towards the end and became more irrelevant as the story continued which I thought was a pity as she was definitely the glue that held them all together. There were a few emotional chapters and it was ea ...more
Apr 11, 2012 Stefanie rated it liked it
Shelves: owned
As always a book I really like, this is the second time I've read it and I also watched the TV drama (Robert Pattinson as geeky Daniel is epic, the role suits him way better than Twilight - and I say that as a person who likes Twilight). I love that all the characters are so genuine :)

I do have 2 little gripes though. One is that they don't make it as obvious as they could with changing narrator, maybe different fonts for all 3 people? My other gripe is Nan's sections, Kate Long has written in t
Aug 25, 2012 Sharon rated it really liked it
I just happened on this story of three generations of women living in one house. The story alternates among the three different voices. It's refreshing to read a story about a struggling, slightly-lower-than-middle-class family, rather than the jet setters that seem to populate so many novels. The two main characters change and grow over the course of the novel, and the ending is not romantically pat.
Aug 25, 2012 Tanja rated it really liked it
Shelves: chick-lit
While the story was confusing at times because narration switches mostly between mother Karen and daughter Charlotte with some bits and pieces from grandma Nan without announcing who's narrating at the moment, I really enjoyed this refreshing novel. Though it may seem a bit blunt at times I liked that it describes down to earth people in a real-life story and I had a good laugh at some of the comical situations.
Jul 17, 2011 Hilary rated it really liked it
Shelves: fiction
Upmarket chicklit, a 'three generations of women' novel. In this case, the three generations all live together in a terraced house Oop North, Nana has Alzheimer Syndrome and a catheter bag, granddaughter is doing A-levels and hoping to go to college in spite of being up the duff, and Mum is hardly in a position to blame her, being only in her mid-30s herself. Incisive writing, and believable characters.
Jan 04, 2013 Amanda rated it it was amazing
I really loved this book. The characters are believable and down-to-earth and the plot reflects the good, the bad, the unexpected and the sometimes downright embarrassing events that occur in real life. Can't wait for the sequel which I think is coming out in February 2013 (Bad Mothers United), which catches up with the same characters later in their lives.
Sep 04, 2009 Rebecca rated it it was amazing
This is written by my old English teacher Mrs. Long or for the older Abbey Gater's out there Miss Green! I was surprised at how funny this novel was. I believe that ITV did a TV version and got Catherine Tate as the lead which didn't surprise me at all. It's a very touching story about family and women. Highly recommended as a holiday read
Megan Hubrex
Jan 13, 2012 Megan Hubrex rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: loved, favorites
I first saw the English movie (then bought it) and thought it was absolutely brilliant. And when I learned there was a book, you can't imagine how happy I was. And it was as good as I expected. Even though English humor is different from American humor sometimes, I giggled throughout this. And it was better than the movie. I love Daniel, also. So much. You can tell how much I love this book :))
Jun 23, 2010 Rosemary rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book made me laugh out loud, and I cried with these women . I loved it! But I am not recommending it. You know me I read anything that sounds interesting this is by a English author and is gritty and crass, and full of sex and language, and should be in a brown paper bag, and I should be very ashamed that I read it.
May 22, 2016 Elizabeth rated it really liked it
At first, I wasn't too sure I was going to finish this book; it just didn't capture my attention right way. After about 30 pages in though, I was hooked on the characters. I particularly enjoyed reading about Charlotte and her ups, downs, and manner of thinking. It actually turned out to be a great, quick, captivating read!
Feb 01, 2014 Karen rated it really liked it
The title of this book is what enticed me to read it. The story is told from the point of view of 3 generations of women living under one roof in England. Senile grandmother, teenage granddaughter, mom squished in the middle. Explores the meaning of family. Occasionally difficult to tell who was speaking but with a bit of work you could figure it out.
Jul 09, 2008 Katy rated it liked it
It took me a while to get into this book. It was very slow at the beginning and it was hard work trying to figure out who was speaking because the change of text was so similar between Karen and Charlotte. About half way through I started to enjoy it but it still wasn't the most amazing book I have ever read. I was glad to get it finished and read it quickly so it was out of the way.
Jul 05, 2012 Lara rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: adult-fiction
I was pleasantly surprised at the razor-sharp humour in the beginning of the book, and then pleasantly surprised again that the plot explored many more emotions very deeply, while keeping that keen humour just at the surface. I love me a book from Coronation-Street-a-gogo-land.
Dec 13, 2012 Janine rated it really liked it
I really liked this book. It was heartwarming, very sweet and the three main female characters were very relatable. The relationships were very honest too, all in all a great depiction of the madness, infuriating-ness and love of family.
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Hello! And welcome to my GoodReads author page.

New: Pinterest boards! - For my new novel, Something Only We Know See where Charlotte, Karen and Nan actually live!

and my Bad Mothers Facebook page, with lots of background info on the characters and filming:

I write bittersweet nov
More about Kate Long...

Other Books in the Series

Bad Mother Series (2 books)
  • Bad Mothers United

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“Don't think you're of little importance, you're somebody,somebody fine. However you tumble and get up and stumble, you're part of a vision devine” 0 likes
“Im Kampf um den Handtaschenriemen gegen die Türklinke opfere lieber die Handtasche, als der Türklinke das Gefühl zu geben, sie hätte gewonnen.” 0 likes
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