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The Pile of Stuff at the Bottom of the Stairs

2.95  ·  Rating Details  ·  770 Ratings  ·  128 Reviews
Mary Gilmour feels as though her life is going down a plug hole clogged with cornflakes and Play-Doh. Her job is part time but housework is full time, and she has no time at all for her two young sons. Mary is convinced that there is only one thing standing between her and organised contentment: his name is Joel and she's married to him.
Hardcover, 404 pages
Published March 1st 2011 by Hodder & Stoughton
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 1,349)
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Anne
Nov 26, 2010 Anne rated it liked it
Christina Hopkinson's novel is a wry look at modern-day marriage, totally honest, often funny and at times, alarmingly familiar. All too often it is the tiny irritations in life that make the most impact on how we are feeling; the wet towels left on the floor, the piles of loose change and crumpled tissues on the kitchen table, and yes, the pile of stuff at the bottom of the stairs. Mary decides she has had enough of Joel's laziness and compiles a complicated list that has debits and credits acc ...more
Kate
May 05, 2011 Kate rated it did not like it
Had to read for bookclub. Would never have got past the first 50 pages if I didn't have to read it. It was a great idea, but far too negative and was trying to be funny, but did not pull it off.
Tanya
Goodness ~ it started off hilarious and was very entertaining, a lot of the passages close to home and others a bit overdrawn. Once I finally got to the middle of the book, in hopes that Mary would get a grip and instead of complain, complain, make her lists of negativity and DO something, it just lagged further and frankly, was a bore to the very end. The couple, Mary and Joel, had many issues but then so do all marriages - that causes them to fall into bad habits that perhaps were always at th ...more
the scarecrow
Mar 06, 2013 the scarecrow rated it liked it
Grammatically speaking, just because I don't believe in marriage doesn't mean I have a disbelief of it. It exists. As proof, people regularly commit themselves willingly to what I believe is the last form of legally binding slavery available to man. It's not like marriage is a figment of the imagination and if so many people want it, it must be worthwhile, right?

Now, keeping in mind that I'm not going to attack this book with an anti-marriage stance, I still feel this book made me question why p
...more
Sibyl
May 04, 2013 Sibyl rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
This isn't a terrible book: it's just essentially rather dull. The messages of the novel seem to be 1) being a parent is hard work. 2) Each partner in a marriage tends to think, feel and behave differently from the other. 3) Housework is tedious and women often end up doing more of it.

Fortunately 4) A little belated rationality/courtesy/tolerance means that most of us should be able to live more or less happily ever after, whilst counting our blessings.

Most of these 'truths' could be found in an
...more
Bethany
I was glad to see that I could review this book without giving it a star rating. My personal rating would be only one or two stars, and that's really not fair to the book. It's an interesting, fairly well-written women's fiction book, and I can't blame the author for my total lack of interest in it. I kept reading, though, clear through to the end, mostly because the characters were (with a few notable exceptions) realistic and compelling.

My issue actually lays in the book's realism. Realism can
...more
Carol
Aug 08, 2011 Carol rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Mary and Joel have two young boys, both are employed - she is part-time at four days per week but still responds to e-mails & phone calls on her 'day off'. And they have a house Mary feels is never tidy and Joel believes is comfortable.

Sounds like your typical marriage, doesn't it? But Mary is fed up with doing everything while her husband walks away and ignores messes he or the kids have created. Still kinda typical. Then Mary decides to make a list and tally Joel's credits & debits. In
...more
Jeanne
Jun 18, 2011 Jeanne rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
There is a pile of stuff at the bottom of the stairs, and it irritates the heck out of Mary Gilmour. Her husband, Joel, ignores the pile and climbs right over it. And adds to it daily! For Mary, the piles and messes in her home have become overwhelming. So overwhelming that she’s actually considering divorcing Joel.

Then she has an idea: the list. Mary creates a list of all of Joel’s housework transgressions. By documenting all of his domestic don’ts, Mary seeks some clarity. What she achieves w
...more
James Stewart
Mar 05, 2011 James Stewart rated it it was amazing
"But you are not the only one, as there are some standard habits men have that annoy women to the core. Christina Hopkinson, author of the book 'The Pile Of Stuff At The Bottom Of The Stairs', tells you the top ten things that women hate about men, reports the Daily Mail.

This is a very funny, piercingly clever book, which is difficult to put down (does anyone else recognize the authors husband, my good friend the leading divorce lawyer and self proclaimed "modern man", Alex Carruthers?). Too ma
...more
Lisa
Sep 05, 2011 Lisa rated it it was ok
The book started well enough but then seemed to be a constant moan about everything most of us find annoying enough about husbands without having to be reminded of it! I didn't particularly 'like' any of the characters, apart from Becky, and felt more emotional displacement rather than empathy by the middle of the book.
It didn't really live up to the blurb, and as a friend said, the idea was perhaps better than the resulting book, but the surprisingly decent ending raised it from a 2 to a 2.5.
Shirley
Oct 06, 2012 Shirley rated it liked it
Always a challenge to understand Brit-centric books but the story was one I could follow...I could totally relate to the protagonist's role as the shaper of home and life for the household but not really for herself. In fact, it was intriguing to find out if there is a solution or at the very least what solution she came up with. Chacracters are well drawn and you find yourself feeling with them...for them...against them. Very interesting observations on an age old problem. Engaging read!
A Yusuf
Jan 21, 2015 A Yusuf rated it did not like it
This book is horrible.
It seemed like an interesting read at first, and I sympathised a lot with the protagonist. As a difficult child it made me realise the multitude of things my mom does for me that I take for granted, but the fact that the plot development peaks at Mary writing up a list was a little pathetic. The fact that she whines and only whines, even when she is trying to see the positive side just made this is an unbearable read. I really struggled to get through this book on account
...more
Alison
Aug 15, 2012 Alison rated it really liked it
I like to read a variety of books on holiday - this was the funny one. At times I giggled out loud. A good lesson in focusing on what's important and dealing with things rather than hanging onto irritations. I've decided my husband's worth sticking with!!
Milly
Apr 17, 2011 Milly rated it liked it
I found that every time i put the book down, i always forgot the main character's name, untill like 80% through when I finally remembered it.

Good book, kinda funny, I kept thinking it was a bio. Didnt really get moving or shaking till the last 100 pages
Sherry
Jun 29, 2011 Sherry rated it did not like it
Shelves: abandoned
I could not get into this book at all. The main character complained and bad mouthed her husband the whole time. By page 100 I put it aside. I don't enjoy listening to people whine so why would i want to read it?
Heathermarvell
Feb 06, 2012 Heathermarvell rated it liked it
Reasonably amusing chick lit (does middle-aged still count at chick lit?) that covers how annoying spouses can be if we dwell incessently on their faults and small children are involved.
Ravenswan
May 13, 2015 Ravenswan rated it liked it
I'd like to give this 3 and a half stars really. I guess I identified with Mary as, at the time of reading, my husband had had man flu for a fortnight and I was feeling a bit swamped.
On the whole, quite realistic and funny although I wonder if I'll ever read a chic-lit book where the protaganest has a dead end job and an actual reason to feel inadequate about her life, lol.
Not my usual genre but I saw a great Timewatch documentary in which the author of this book had to try and write a mills and
...more
Carla Stafford
Dec 22, 2013 Carla Stafford rated it really liked it
At first, I didn't know if I could stomach the protagonist. For the first few lllooonnnggg chapters, I found Mary bitter, and tough to take. Just as Mary complained of their friends and strangers, I too found Joel to be more charming and intriguing. Not to say that I would want to be married to his slovenly ways, but I am also not wound quite as tight as Mary...thank the good Lord;).

Fortunately, there were layers. This book tackles the complex issue of equality between men and women, not only at
...more
Andrea Miles
Jan 02, 2016 Andrea Miles rated it liked it
this is what happens when a control freak has a family & her more relaxed husband doesn't worry about the same stuff as she does, such as mess. She looks to he "perfect" ftiends and decides hers would be more like theirs if only he would act at ther standards so she makes a list of his transgressions & if he loses so many points he's history. so the list begins & starts to take over her life.


This book does actually highlight the inequalities in most relationships once children enter
...more
Justine Crandles
Nov 11, 2014 Justine Crandles rated it liked it
I saw this novel in a book shop about 2 years ago but refused to pay $25 for it so decided to look for it online instead. It clearly slipped my mind until I saw it in a discount book shop, everything $3, in the city last week. The catchy title caught my eye and I recalled it was something I wanted to read. After having just read 'The Invention of Wings' by Sue Monk Kidd, a fiction based on fact novel about slavery in the 1800’s, I was in need of something light and fluffy next.

This novel is wri
...more
Jessica
Oct 11, 2011 Jessica rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
While this book did have some minor redeeming qualities, overall I didn't like it much. First the good points: It did bring up some points that I thought were interesting, and worth further discussion, on the battle between the sexes, relationships, etc.
Second, the last chapter was better, which will be explained further by my bad points below.
Bad points: The first bad point is pretty major, and that is, the main character/narrator of the story is just really not a likeable person for most of t
...more
Sarah Goodwin
Jul 07, 2013 Sarah Goodwin rated it really liked it
This, at last, is the book I was hoping for when I first bought 'The Woman Who Went to Bed for a Year' except that this novel is sane, relatable and I could feel the truth in it.

To start with the good, I loved the clear process of thought in the protagonist, even when she was losing her marbles the author kept it all clear cut and simple. She really struck at the heart of the parenting love/dislike conundrum, without making her main character out as a being a cow. The children themselves were w
...more
Ellie
Jun 01, 2013 Ellie rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I'm not sure what persuaded me to hang in there with this ultimately disappointing book. The protagonist seems a rather unlikable character, convinced that hers is the only view that's right, and apparently completely unable to realise that a) most of us on average incomes always think everyone else has a life so much better than our own b) that talking solves so much more than producing Excel spreadsheets (outside of the workplace, at least) and c) that she is obsessed to the point of OCD about ...more
Lana.
Nov 10, 2011 Lana. rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Lana. by: CBC's Writers and Company
Billed as "Harried and hilarious", Christina Hopkinson's book reads rather depressing. Thankfully, as she knows to make each page interesting - it was a quick read.

Mary was once a strong, independent woman who liked things to be organised and clean. Joel was her exciting, free-spirited boyfriend who she married.

Now, years later, the pair have two children, and Mary has too much on her plate: Child care, juggling a part-time position that has full-time responsilibities, and a husband who is res
...more
Sarah
Dec 27, 2013 Sarah rated it really liked it
A cute read. English couple married for 9 years two kids and the wife has had it with the husband being a slob. She keeps a list. She's analytical like that. In her list she keeps tabs on all the unkemptness of her husband. Such as leaving towels wet out, throwing things missing the hamper, papers left out, dishes out toys not put away, missing evening time with the kids and so on. She also has very rich super chic friends who have it all and there is this comparison.
The 'plot' is dull. Will sh
...more
Fastener Gal
May 11, 2015 Fastener Gal rated it liked it
Shelves: bookclub
I would rate this book 3.5 stars. This subject is so apropos to my life right now and so I thought this would be a quick, escapist read. I was wrong! It took me time to understand the British lingo and some of the beginning went on a bit long. But if you get past that point the plot starts to move and you'll be entertained. Yeah, it's predictable but it led to great discussions in our book club because don't we all have our own pile of laundry to pick up and sort through?
Sharon
Jun 27, 2013 Sharon rated it really liked it
Insightful, all couples should be encouraged to write a list and strategically plan their next move. Enjoyed every minute of it, although I was sure I wouldn't cause there is nothing I hate about my Husband. Very entertaining.

And I loved, and to quote, "who knew that marriage was such hard work, that it would need a business plan, strategies and action points? That it would need daily gratitude, weekly sex and monthly board meetings? That we would sit with our diaries every Sunday evening to wo
...more
Caeyn
Mar 01, 2014 Caeyn rated it liked it
A take off of "I Don't Know How She Does It" or a prequel - it's not on my list of things to check. Made me appreciate my husband, even tho I was looking at him differently with respect to housework. What woman hasn't felt put upon by her significant other and kids? But I don't think forgotten boxers on the bathroom floor are nearly worth a divorce.
Kirsty
Jun 29, 2014 Kirsty rated it liked it
The main character moaned far too much & so I didn't enjoy all the negativity. I feel that if the chapter of them meeting was first, or near the beginning, it would have been a much better set up. Also wanted to some confrontation with Mitzi whether it was about Joel or the 'thing they saw' on holiday. I loved the predictable ending because it was written so well - and I've also found a new use for lego - sharing out the chores.
Cora Koehorst
Oct 22, 2014 Cora Koehorst rated it did not like it
Wat een zeur verhaal over een huwelijk. Niets grappigs aan.

I was triggered by the cover saying funny. I was reading it and i didnt find it funny at all. Just one big complain from a woman about her husband. Dont write that in books. We dont want to read what we know already or even worse.
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