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Every Day Is Mother's Day

3.50  ·  Rating Details  ·  657 Ratings  ·  107 Reviews
By the Booker Prize-Winning Author of WOLF HALL

Evelyn Axon is a medium by trade; her daughter, Muriel, is a half-wit by nature. Barricaded in their crumbling house, surrounded by the festering rubbish of years, they defy the curiosity of their neighbors and their social worker, Isabel Field. Isabel is young and inexperienced and has troubles of her own: an elderly father w
Paperback, 240 pages
Published August 31st 2010 by Picador (first published 1985)
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(showing 1-30 of 1,148)
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Sarah (Presto agitato)
I love Hilary Mantel. Her writing has such precision. She misses nothing and finds exactly the right way to phrase her observations.

Unfortunately, even her skill did not save Every Day is Mother’s Day. This was Mantel’s first book, the story of a mentally unfit daughter, her disturbed mother, the social worker assigned to their case, and the married man who sleeps with the social worker. There is an undercurrent of supernatural malevolence thrown in for good measure.

The writing is not quite as p
Florence (Lefty) MacIntosh
Her 1st novel and it's excellent. It’s grim, brooding and infinitely entertaining; this author’s raw talent as a storyteller is immediately evident. The main character is Muriel Axon, a mentally handicapped shut-in who lives with her equally dysfunctional mother Isobel. Another key player is her barely functioning social worker who is more focused on her married lover than dealing with Muriel & her mother's problems. Despite the subject matter this is a surprisingly funny novel, the humour i ...more
Oct 15, 2010 Dan rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Mantel is, as they say, a witty writer and I keep turning page after page with interest. She's not above preposterous coincidence or straight-faced pun. (Mrs. Axon is something of a medium who reaches out like an axon to trasmit messages to the other side.)

But you must understand that all the characters in this book are a joyless lot whose lives are so empty they cannot for the most part even find ways to struggle for something better. Colin struggles, ineptly, and fails. Murial struggles and s
Karyn Wergland
All I can say is, don't read this when you're pregnant. You'll end up convinced that you've made a terrible mistake, that family life is a horror, that you are on a downward chute toward abject misery. As soon as you put down the book, you'll realize the author is presenting a one-sided view of that lifestyle. But while you're reading it, you'll feel like you're mucking about in a dirty toilet bowl.

For this, I would give the book zero stars. Which may not be entirely fair, since Mantel's not re
Derek Baldwin
Jul 28, 2011 Derek Baldwin rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I read this several months after reading it's sequel (Vacant Possession). So I had an inkling of where the story was headed to, but this didn't spoil the story at all.

This is very well-written, economical, convincing. The dark humour doesn't undermine the seriousness of this sharp satire of 1970s Britain. It's a world where people hate their stupid pointless jobs, cannot work out why they sire noisy ungrateful smartarse kids, resist the urge to murder their oppressive paranoid parents... or do
Nov 06, 2011 Doreen rated it liked it
I love reading prose like Ms Mantel's: brisk, precise and compelling. It's a relief to be able to read two of her books in succession after having slogged through weightier tomes, which is no slur on any of the writing involved nor, indeed, a comment on any of the stories conveyed. But the elegant readability of her language, the way it doesn't ever snag or get in the way of the story: it's like slipping into a comfortable robe at the end of the day. Refreshing and, like the work of Muriel Spark ...more
Robert Ronsson
When I read established writers' first novels I do it with part of my mind asking the question: how did this one jump out of the slush-pile? This is one of the few where the answer is easy to see. It's now 30 years since its publication yet it still strikes me as innovative in its use of language and dynamic in the way Mantel hurries her characters through the plot. It's like she's a grandmaster playing multiple-opponent, against-the-clock chess. Each of the scenario boards is given the minimum ...more
Sep 26, 2014 Lisa rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audio-book, c20th, britain
Day is Mother’s Day (1985) is an early novel by Hilary Mantel, now a the bestselling Booker Prize winner of Wolf Hall and Bring Up the Bodies fame. It is quite different in style to the Tudor novels, more like Beyond Black which I read and enjoyed for his sardonic humour in 2005.

The ironic title refers to the battle of wills between Mrs Axon, the vicious mother of Muriel, who’s not too intellectually disabled to wage war of her own; and Isabel Field, the hapless social worker who’s completely ou
A bit like watching a train wreck. Very grim. England, 1970s. Characters with serious, sad, issues. No one to like. And yet, I finished it. I was interested. I wanted to find out what happened. Many of the threads were not tied up. We were just left to understand why people were so messed up. Clever writing, interesting sentences, interesting associations and descriptions. But not necessarily an experience I would wish on anyone.
Aug 11, 2014 Mike rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
The first book by one of my favorite authors is a nasty piece of work. Practically all the characters are ugly and horrible, and I was pleased that the book was only 225 pages, as that was about all I could take of their company. It left me feeling appreciative that at some point in her career, the author stopped trying to be Martin Amis and started being, well, Hilary Mantel.
Sep 11, 2013 Martinxo rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: no one
A mostly grim book with one or two comic moments. I only read the book because I was on holiday and had run out of novels. Recommended if you enjoy misery.
Jul 20, 2010 Odoublegood rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
a tale of horror told chiefly by implication
Nov 01, 2012 Grace rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Rather unsettling.
Mary Ronan Drew
Every Day Is Mother's DayI didn't discover Hilary Mantel until Wolf Hall was published. I like to think of myself as well-read but somehow she had slipped through the cracks. So I only recently became interested in her as a person and in her work. I read her memoir, Giving Up the Ghost, which I'll talk about in another post when I get my emotions and opinions about it under control.

When I read a post on dovegreyreader about her first novel, Every Day Is Mother's Day (1985), I decided to read al
Sherry Howland
Dec 24, 2010 Sherry Howland rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Dang, this was disappointing! After being swept up in Mantel's "Wolf Hall," I was looking forward to seeing how she would handle contemporary people and situations. Verdict: Not so well. There are 2 basic story lines happening here. The first deals with Evelyn Axon, a widowed mother of a (maybe) mentally challenged pregnant daughter, Muriel. Evelyn, a locally renowned spiritualist, is gradually losing her grip on reality and is convinced evil spirits are taking over their ramshackle flat, room b ...more
Jul 30, 2014 Louise rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I'm not entirely sure what I made of this book, it was all a bit glum....and grim in parts, nobody was happy..... I couldn't figure out if there were actual ghosts or if the daughter was inflicting all the pain on the mother(though towards the end it seemed the former), the casual revelation of child abuse was quite a shock.
I think for me, as much as it was written well, it probably left me with more answers than I liked.
Jean Carlton
Apr 25, 2014 Jean Carlton rated it it was ok
I finished this book and ....was not sure what I thought of it. After more reflection, I cannot say I 'liked' it. The blurb on the back uses the word 'hilarious' (and terrifying)...It was in no way funny to me let alone hilarious - terrifying, yes. Sad and dark, I think it says more about the world of the mentally ill and the inadequacies of the social service agencies than anything else. Woven into the weird horrifying parts is the connection of a married man having an affair with the social wo ...more
Maria Longley
Aug 09, 2013 Maria Longley rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 5-star-reads, fa, 2013
This is quite a debut novel. And Muriel Axon is quite a character. This is a book of very black humour, an odd and quirky story, and is probably quite British (of the 1970s variation)... "Happiness seems a bit ambitious" remarks Isabel Field and this does seem to be the case for most of the novel where Colins interesting method of staving off too much despair by playing a recording of Sousa marches because "you wouldn't kill yourself after that -- after you'd marched about a bit. It would be too ...more
Miss Karen Jean Martinson
I loved this book! It's quirky and a little disturbing but also a really fun read. Mantel really knows how to let a story unfold, giving away enough information - but not too much - as you get to know the characters. In many ways, it's like getting to know people in real life. You take the available information, make assumptions or educated opinions about the person based on that information, and revise as necessary. The final third of the book really became an intensely fun build. I couldn't pu ...more
Caroline Taggart
One of the saddest books I’ve read for a while –sad in the sense that all the characters are unhappy, frustrated, wasting their lives or otherwise screwed up. Colin is a history teacher, unhappily married to Silvia and with no interest in his three small children. He goes to evening classes to get out of the house, and at one of these he meets Isabel, a young social worker.

The other main thread (the book leaps back and forth between the two, in a way that means you have to pay pretty close atte
Grace Harwood
I love Hilary Mantel's writing and even though I did not enjoy this book as much as her others which I have read, it still illustrates that witty turn of phrase which I love about her writing. The main problem I had with this book was that I couldn't really work out what was going on - obviously there is a supernatural element there, but is it just Muriel who's doing it all? I kept waiting for the big reveal to come and it all to become obvious, and it just never did. I felt desperately sorry fo ...more
Sep 02, 2008 Jail rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book is kind of unrelenting nightmare of everyone's worse traits and worse fears of how their life might turn out. It doesn't end up being completely harrowing as it's sequel "Vacant Possesion" or Patrick Mccabe's "The Dead School". But it's quite effective. The middle aged schoolteachers party near the end is a marvelous setpiece of dark humor
Jun 12, 2010 Carol rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
One of her older efforts, a short, interesting book that is hard to describe. The characters are all seriously flawed, leading lives of quiet desperation. One very funny scene is at a dinner party where all the attendees are completely wasted. I think I liked it, but it's definitely not for all.
Jul 26, 2015 Jessica rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a genre I can't resist: madwomen in a house. Think We Have Always Lived in the Castle or Grey Gardens. It's got eccentricity and insanity and arrested development and petty domestic tyranny and the subtle revenge of the meek. The only thing it is missing is cats. Maybe it doesn't quiiite deserve four stars—it feels a bit like a sophomore effort, underdeveloped; I never quite got the inner workings of the "protagonist" social worker, Isabel, who seems to be mostly a plot device with long ...more
Sep 27, 2011 Erica rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Gives "Ethan Frome" a run for his money in the bleak department. And is full of ghosts, madness and quiet desperation, underlined by grim humor. This book made me cry and my heart pound, by turns.

Her writing reminds me of Virginia Woolf; silky, precise and challenging.
Jan 22, 2014 Kaitlin rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I tried to read Wolf Hall but couldn't get through it. Wolf Hall is quite opaque and arduous to read without the reader's knowledge of the time period and characters. This is totally different, almost a psychological thriller.

This creepy novel was a treat to read. It centers around a mother and daughter. The mother believes there are spirits living in the house and is in other ways imbalanced. The daughter is a little slow but has become completely dysfunctional because of her mother. A social w
Al Swanson
May 10, 2014 Al Swanson rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
Love her writing. Wolf Hall was first, then Bring Up the Bodies and A Place of Greater Safety (truly excellent read). Every Day... was something I found when looking to see what else she had written. While not up to the level of the first three mentioned, it is an excellent novel, even more so when it is considered that it was her first book.
Memorable characters, good plotline and interesting writing. Muriel and her mother are folks who you'll remember long after most books fade away.
I like ho
Aug 31, 2007 Martha rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: people who like A.M. Homes
Mantel is very funny but you have to appreciate black humor.
Mar 27, 2015 Yeemay rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
What a fantastic debut novel. Mantel's voice is so reassured: screamingly funny, lucid, enigmatic, spine tinglingly evocative. The dinner party was just the funniest thing I'd read in a long time, Colin being unsure if he was shocked more by the Playboy magazine or the Reader's Digest in the home of his Head of Department :) A wonderful sweep of all human nature, albeit in a stark and glowering landscape. There was so much to think about after finishing reading. It reminded me of that other wond ...more
May 12, 2010 Paula rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
And along came Muriel...

‘Every day is Mother’s Day’ is the story of Evelyn and Muriel Axon, a mother and daughter who live a reclusive life in the house that Muriel was born. Evelyn has raised Muriel alone since the death of her husband, Clifford when Muriel was 6 years old, Clifford unfortunately saw Muriel as an ‘inconvenience’ and not having any more children because it would ‘risk repetition’. Evelyn, not in the best of health will not accept help and when social services come into their liv
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Hilary Mantel is the bestselling author of many novels including Wolf Hall, which won the Man Booker Prize and the National Book Critics Circle Award for fiction. Bring Up the Bodies, Book Two of the Thomas Cromwell Trilogy, was also awarded the Man Booker Prize and the Costa Book Award. She is also the author of A Change of Climate, A Place of Greater Safety, Eight Months on Ghazzah Street, An ...more
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