A stocking filler for any mum struggling to remember who she was before she had kids or who one day realises she has a brand preference for cleaning sponges. Anonymums reveals some of our unspoken insecurities and fears with charm, wit and honesty.
Who might enjoy it: Mums who sneak in a chocolate bar when the kids aren’t looking and when the kids ask, ‘What are you eating?’ replies, ‘Broccoli. Want some?’
Who might not enjoy it: Cloth nappy advocates
Anonymums doesn’t try to be more than it is, and that’s its charm. Mums A, B and C—they remain anonymous to us—do things that any woman with kids, a husband and a mortgage may be prepared to do. As mid-life crises go, theirs are fairly inexpensive, harmless and non-fattening.
I know this book is supposed to be funny, and it is. But I also found parts of it deeply sad. The emotional journeys these women go through are familiar and heartbreaking.
This book will mean different things to every reader. The underlying ideas behind each mum’s reflections are fairly universal. I think you’d be hard-pressed to find a woman who didn’t sometimes feel invisible in the wake of motherhood, or wonder what life would be like if......more
Sometimes you find a book impossible to put down, not because of what it says about the world, but because of what it knows about you. Affection is that kind of book.
Who might enjoy it: Libertines
Who might not enjoy it: Prudes
Affection is, at times, almost unbearably honest. And yet Kneen’s lyricism dulls the edge off some of the darkest parts of the book: depression, attempted suicide, homelessness. Worst is the emotional cruelty Kneen endures at the hands of careless lovers and friends. It’s not that these events are less shocking when they happen; it’s that Kneen introduces them so gently that we’re smack in the middle of these bleaker memories before we realise where she’s taken us.
The scenes set in the present anchor Kneen’s recollections. Underlying the sex parts are Kneen’s struggle to reconcile her inherently sexual nature with loving relationships that must remain platonic and her journey to self-acceptance.
What doesn’t come across so clearly is how Kneen goes from sexual hedonism to marriage. Scenes featuring her husband are sweet and deeply romantic—they’re some of my favourite moments in the book, but it’s never clear to me how Kneen remains true to herself through eighteen years of monogamy and ‘unrequited longings’....more