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The Good Enough Mother

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Gatlin - a leafy, affluent town: Chelsea tractors and ladies who lunch. However, all is not as it seems. Drea, a most unnatural mother, struggles to find private school fees for her step-daughter Ava after her boyfriend leaves her for another woman.
Watching the yummy mummies she becomes inspired, hatching a daring and criminal plan...unleashing all hell in the quiet town of Gatlin.
Can Drea survive the fallout and the wrath of the PTA?
A satirical black comedy about love, motherhod and the human condition.

330 pages, Paperback

First published July 1, 2016

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About the author

Anoushka Beazley

1 book36 followers
Anoushka Beazley, born Anoushka Kanagasabay and served for a while as Anushka Dahssi while treading the boards. A BA in Film Theory from the University Of Kent, a Postgraduate in Acting and a MA in Creative Writing makes for a life lived in fiction as much as written. She is currently based in London, England with her husband, three children and a posh cat.

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Displaying 1 - 24 of 24 reviews
Profile Image for Joanne Robertson.
1,349 reviews550 followers
August 12, 2016
Sometimes a book comes along that you hadn't expected, a book that you probably would never have picked up if you were browsing in a bookshop (virtual or otherwise!) But after a few pages you actually say a little "thank you" in your head to whoever recommended it. And to think I nearly missed out on it as I had just closed my review list for the summer but this books blurb intrigued me so much that it sneaked in at the last minute! After reading the first chapter I just wanted to hide myself away from the world and devour every single word of this wonderful book. Of all the books I have read recently, this is the book that I would have loved to have written myself. It's dark humour and handling of mental health issues combined to make this a hidden gem of a book and one I want to shout about from the rooftops!

At the heart of this book is the relationship between mothers and daughters but essentially, Drea isn't even Ava's mother! But after Drea's partner Alex leaves her, he also leaves his 14 year old daughter whom Drea has brought up for the last 10 years. Unable to afford the fees for the private school Ava attends, Drea looks for ways to raise the money but unfortunately, her way isn't exactly legal (okay it's actually totally illegal!! But I was rooting for her so sort of overlooked that small fact!)

The suburb of Gatlin is brought to life so well, from the descriptions of the posh shops, to the schools and the eclectic mix of patients at the local GP surgery. Such a coming together of yummy mummys, who's children can do no wrong and are booked into extracurricular activities from leaving the womb, was always going to be explosive but Drea is a breath of fresh air when it comes to the way she parents. Unfortunately, it's the underlying causes that bring a dark and disturbing element to her character as we find out the further we delve into her family life.

There are some hilarious highlights within this book-the bake sale ("that's not a cake"), Papa and his love of "movies" and Abigail In The Morning who would give Jeremy Vine a run for his money! But these darkly humorous observations masks a huge part of Drea. We alone are able to watch her taking the path she thinks is her destiny in life whilst she gives us little glimpses into what is actually pushing her along that devastating road.

As you can probably tell, I absolutely loved this brilliant book! It won't be everyone's cup of tea but it is one that will stick in my mind for quite some time to come. Anoushka Beazley deserves a much larger audience for this debut novel and I am so looking forward to seeing where she goes from here. Just fabulous from start to finish!

I received a copy of this book from the author in return for my unbiased review.
Profile Image for Andrea.
345 reviews9 followers
February 11, 2017
This book is a bit crazy, pretty funny and very readable. After her husband leaves her, Drea struggles to find the fees for her step-daughter to continue at her private school, it is then that she hatches some rather ill thought out plans to finance her daughters education. Things then don't turn out quite as she planned in the quiet leafy suburb of Gatlin and she encounters the wroth of the yummy mummies around her. This black comedy was very enjoyable reading
Profile Image for Emma.
571 reviews271 followers
February 21, 2017
I have been wanting to read this book since I read the amazing reviews when it was first published back in the Summer. For one thing, just look at that cover! A number of the reviews I saw said that this book is so much more than you expect it to be. So I had to take a peek, and I’m rather glad I did.

When I first started reading I’m afraid to say that I was a little disappointed. I started to feel that fabulous cover with it’s blood splattered knife had conned me and the reviews I’d read must have been written by people who had never read a ‘dark’ novel before in their lives. It seemed to be a story about the aftermath of a rocky relationship and how the injured party, in this case Drea, was dropped in it by her hopeless boyfriend as he cavorted off to France with a much younger model and WITHOUT his teenage daughter. The teenage daughter being left in the somewhat unsure, unwilling and unprepared hands of Drea. But oh, how wrong could I be!?

Drea, despite her numerous failings, decides to step up to the plate and do all she can to make her step-daughter happy. After all, poor Ava has lost her Dad (albeit to the continent) and Drea is all she has. After much consideration Drea decides that what makes Ava happy is her private school and her upper class friends (and who wants to subject their step-daughter to even more upheaval and turmoil by moving them to the local comprehensive – not Drea!). So, with a loose, sketchy plan in mind Drea starts to plot. And plot she must as school fees are due soon and come in at around £12,000…yikes!

Drea is something else altogether. I have never met a character quite like her before. If I could meet one fictional character in real life, I think I would want that character to be Drea. She’s…..erm….a terrible mother in some respects but the best kind of mother in many others. She has an ‘I don’t care what you think about me’ attitude, particularly when it comes to the snooty PTA mums. And she’s prime suspect in a murder investigation! There were so many things I really liked about Drea. The way she tries to raise the money for Ava’s school fees was both shocking and funny. Her relationship with Ava and then with Ava’s friends was heartwarming to read. I’ve never met a bunch of teenagers in a book that I liked more than Ava, Amelia and Tabatha. Drea’s new relationship mishaps made me chuckle (particularly the supermarket scene, which still makes me chuckle even now). Among the laughs and the giggles there is a much darker theme running throughout the story and that is Drea’s obsession with her mum’s suicide and her plan to take her own life. I found myself hoping that Drea wouldn’t take the 50 paracetamol squirreled away in her bag.

The plot drew me in after that initial shaky start and kept my attention throughout. I just couldn’t wait to see what Drea was going to do next. There are many surprises along the way, times when things will happen and you’ll say to yourself ‘well, I never saw THAT coming!’.

Would I recommend this book? I would, Anoushka Beazley has managed to blend some quite dark themes with brilliant humour to create an edgy yet feel good, uplifting novel that will make all of us mothers feel just a little bit better about ourselves.

Four out of five stars.
Profile Image for Adele.
831 reviews
September 18, 2016
This was one crazy, frank, laugh out loud story about a woman surviving motherhood in an upmarket suburban village. This is Anoushka Beazley’s debut novel and what a start to her writing career! I loved the author’s style of writing, it was refreshingly honest, Anoushka definitely ‘spared no punches’ with her narrative. It was very raw and shocking at times but very comical and this honesty was so addictive.

This is the story of Drea, a woman left with her estranged partner’s teenage daughter coping with life as a single mum in an affluent area. Drea is not keen on motherhood but she has been left with no option but to step in and step up to motherly duties for her step daughter Ava. Gatlin is full of ‘perfect’ mums with designer bags and huge cars all competing for the parking spot outside school and this is one of Drea’s first battles she faces. Drea is also left struggling financially as Alex, Ava’s father, has left her with no money to fund his daughter’s private school fees. Drea refuses to let this relationship separation change her step daughter’s life so Drea embarks on some very unorthodox ways of making money. Whilst Drea was trying to find the money to pay for the school fees the quiet surbuban village Gatlin has become a hot crime spot with robberies and murder and Drea has somehow become caught up in the middle of it.

There was more to this story than surviving the school gates. Drea was emotionally fighting events in her past that have been controlling her life ever since. Through all the satirical humour we see a more vulnerable side to Drea that is quite humbling. The author, Anoushka Beazley, cleverly dealt with some serious issues with this novel but managed to keep the book quite light with humour and frankness emanating from the pages. A refreshingly honest, laugh out loud story about motherhood, believing in yourself and the acceptance of love. 4/5*
Profile Image for Sarah.
2,551 reviews162 followers
August 23, 2016
The Good Enough Mother probably isn't my typical choice of genre but every now and then I love to throw caution to the wind and try something different and I'm so glad that this is one of those times that I did.

Drea is an absolute breath of fresh air. What a brilliant character she is. There are no airs and graces about her, what you see is what you get. She has a 'couldn't give a s**t' type of attitude about her and I love her whole approach to life. She will never win the mother of the year award being step mum to her boyfriends daughter Ava, but that doesn't really matter as there is literally nothing this woman wouldn't do to make sure Ava has the best start in life.

I think any parent will empathise to a certain extent with Drea, the dreaded school runs and trying to do your bit for the school but never quite feeling like you fit in with the other mums, though to be honest not that to a certain extent you would want to. Drea is very much her own person whilst a lot of the other mums are the stereo typical followers and have no individuality about themselves at all.

After Alex leaves Drea with his daughter to fend for themselves, things spiral out of control for Drea in what ends up being a very dark time for her, but a comedy of errors for the reader. Drea just seems to fall from one disaster to another and ends up having a normally small quiet town all up in arms and scared for their lives.

The Good Enough Mother really is a novel worth reading. It really has something in there for everyone. Reading of how messed up someone else's life is, is always something that tends to make ours look better and make us feel better about ourselves. Highly recommended.

My thanks to the author for a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
Profile Image for Katherine Sunderland.
656 reviews22 followers
September 26, 2016
Which mother wouldn't be drawn by this cover? A bloodied knife, a cake...... And a great title - as we all struggle just to be "good enough". Turn to the first page and read the opening quote- it will hook you right in. The quote in itself a clear warning that this book is not going to be quite the story you expected. This is something for readers who are looking for something edgy, risk taking and refreshing.

"Oh how I hated the school run. It was like a living thing. Every day, just at the point I thought I had no more hate left in me, I found a way to hate it more. It was like a mutated lizard's tale that, if cut off, would not only grow back even bigger, with festering pustules, making it even more loathsome."

Blogger Joanne Robertson drew my attention to this book with such an enthusiastic recommendation it literally leapt out from my Twitter and Facebook feeds. She called it a hidden gem - one which she, and therefore me and many others- could easily have missed. I am so grateful that I decided to give it a go completely based on Joanne's review as otherwise I would have missed one of the most darkly comic, satirical and witty reads of this year.

When Drea's boyfriend walks out on her for another woman, she is left in the house with his teenage daughter Ava. Not a natural mother, not a conformist and not a typical "Chelsea-Tractor-Lady-Who-Lunches", Drea struggles not only parent but more importantly, find the fees to keep Ava at her prestigious private school. But watching the wealthy Yummy Mummies inspires her to hatch a daring (and criminal) plan which will upset every single resident in the quiet, affluent town of Gatlin and propel Drea into the thick of a compelling, dramatic, catastrophic and entertaining story of crime, murder, love, relationships and the politics of the school gate.

This book is not for the fainthearted. Drea is a woman who says all the things we keep to our inner voice, aloud. She is crude, she uses expletives, she is blunt. She is witty, sharp, observant and most definitely her own person. I envied her gall, her frankness and her attitude. But I loved her. She made me laugh out loud, choke on my drinks and even hold my lips together so I could try to keep a straight face and not draw too much attention to myself when I was reading in a cafe. I snatched time to read this book whenever I could, taking photos of a few pages to text to friends like a naughty school girl passing an illicit note during class.

Drea appears disinterested in Ava and parenting. She is lazy. She smokes and drinks and is not the typical role model or parent in this small, leafy suburb. Her hopes for Ava are not the same as the competitive alpha mothers she faces on the school run.

"Ava had come to live with us when she was four years old. It might have been nice to think some of me had rubbed off on her. However......her need to achieve was more than a little disappointing."

But despite this, Ava and Drea seem to get on well - or at least understand where they stand with each other. As Drea says: "Ava and I had unspoken agreements. I wasn't interested in any of her friends or her school life and she in turn, would not force me into situations where I needed to behave as if I was."

For me, as a parent, there was something very liberating reading about Drea. Her voice is a real breath of fresh air. We know she will not be winning any parenting awards or penning a guide to parenting book (more's the pity!!) but she is a kind of anti hero.

"'I never actually married your father and I'm the only mother you've got coz the real one doesn't give a s***,' I screamed. There is an outside possibility I could have handled that better."

"'Plus I feel very sad today,' Ava continued. The 'plus' was a clue. It meant I should have started listening earlier than I had."

It is hard for writers to strike a balance with "yummy mummy / slummy mummy" characters. I find often authors can make them either too saccharine, too cliched or they become too much of a caricature or too unpleasant. Beazley does not do this. For me, Drea was believable. Everyone has an inner Drea in them some days and I think Beazley managed her protagonist very well. I was rooting for her and I was very much involved in her plight throughout the whole novel.

As well as dark humour there is also sadness and seriousness in this novel. Drea is depressed and has a bottle of pills in her bag - enough to commit suicide when the right moment presents itself. As with everything, Drea is upfront and matter-of-fact about this.

"Today was the day I was planning to kill myself but then I read Alex's note and, from there, I became unreservedly and altogether distracted."

This issue adds tension to the situation. As the novel continues and things become more serious and more sinister, it helps to create more intrigue and complexity.

Beazley is clearly a talented writer. Not only are her characters full of vividness and colour, but her attention to detail is thorough, her imagery and description is effective. There are moments when the wry voice of Drea comes through, for example; "The most modern thing about our house was our neighbours" but also when the description is simply impressive:

"The sun twinkled like a girlish courtesan, hopping from cupboard to dresser, unsure where to lay her balmy touch. A yellow bath of colour tinged the bedroom from the large bay windows, all the way to the faded flowery wallpaper behind the bedstead."

So the financial pressure mounts and mounts until Drea spots Regina's gigantic rock sized diamond ring that "sat fat on her yoga-stretched fingers, like the missing aid for a third world country" and a plan starts to form in her mind. Drea's initial foray into illegal activity begins with her usual dry observations which make the reader wonder just how aware Drea is of her actions and potential consequences:

"I was covering every role on this job, doubling up as my own get-away driver.I guess that's how all small business ventures start out."

But things quickly take a more sinister and chilling turn of events. The pace of the novel cranks up as Drea becomes caught up in a more complex web of crime; a journey which also forces her to confront her issues, her past and her role as a mother. The freshness and originality in this novel comes from the fact that it is like a cross between 'Bridget Jones' and an episode of 'Midsummer Murders' penned by Caitlin Moran. It is a bit of popular women's fiction and crime fiction all pilled in together and, with all credit to Beazley, it's a successful combination that doesn't ever feel too far fetched, too ridiculous or too contrived. There are serious comments made and serious issues explored. It is not a farcical novel nor is it flippant about the relationship between a mother and a daughter or even a privileged community like Gatlin.

I really enjoyed this book. I don't think it will be for everyone as Drea's comments can be quite shocking and there is a lot of swearing but it was the perfect tonic for me at the start of term! I would love to have Drea in my life. After all, who hasn't been to a baby and toddler group where the women are all sat "convincing each other and themselves that merely having squeezed a human out of their vagina is basis enough to both begin and sustain a friendship" and who hasn't felt like Drea, who while listening in their "cacophony of banal high-pitched incomprehensible chatter" observes, "Why not just say 'Your baby is fat' and 'I was hoping not to see you here'?"

This was not a book I would have necessarily sought out or perhaps even picked up but I am immensely grateful to Joanne for bringing it to my attention. I will be rereading it and I will be recommending it. I have genuinely enjoyed being made to laugh out loud this week while engrossed in the pages. I am absolutely so grateful to Anoushka Beazley for sending me a copy of "The Good Enough Mother" to read in return for a fair, honest and unbiased review. I will definitely be looking out for her next novel as I think she shows great promise.
September 8, 2016
A satirical black comedy about love, motherhood and the human condition

The Good Enough Mother was brought to my attention by fellow book blogger Joanne Robertson. Joanne’s enthusiasm for the novel jumped out of every sentence in her review When I was contacted by Anoushka Beazley enquiring would I like a copy to review myself?? Why of course I said YES!!!

The Good Enough Mother was published in July 2016 by Larchwood Press.

Read on to see my thoughts!!

Drea Peiris is one of the quirkiest characters portrayed in a novel that I have ever read.

‘If you’re happy and you know it, go fuck yourself’ Drea Age 9

From that opener I knew The Good Enough Mother was going to be different.

Drea Peiris, is a depressive. She carries around an arsenal of pills in her handbag for that moment when she decides that she is ready to go. But intervention is a funny thing and Drea is suddenly abandoned by Alex, her boyfriend, leaving Drea to care for his teenage daughter Ava and all that goes with it.

Drea is a very unlikely candidate for motherhood, hence the name of the book. Her approach to everything in life is quite unorthodox. She lives with her father, who has a unnatural affection for porn movies and now also Ava, who Drea describes as having ‘that awful stench of youth and optimism’

An unlikely trio if ever there was one, each has issues to deal with. But the overriding one for Drea is the loss of her mother at a very young age, thus affecting her emotionally in every way.
I love the descriptions of Gatlin.

Drea paints a picture of the ‘perfect’ village with ‘every kind of shop that a middle-class family needed to survive…..A butcher whose meat and sausages were farmed in the spacious green fields of Kent, where cattle listened to Bach while grazing. A fishmonger – purveyors of fish caught leaping in and out of freshwater streams….’

But for Drea none of this matters. Her worst nightmare everyday is the school run. The designer clad Mums in their massive SUV’s and their ‘perfect’ children. Drea has absolutely no aspirations or desire to be part of this clique but Drea is in trouble.

After Alex absconding, she is now faced with huge school fees that she unable to fund. Desperate measures are required. Drea embarks on rather a dubious journey with her trademark scathing remarks and wit in an attempt at solving her problems.

Can she be a Good Enough Mother to Ava?

Can she succeed in the role that she now finds herself?

Through various drastic means Anoushka Beazley takes the reader on a journey with Drea as she struggles to deal with all the knockbacks thrown in her way.

The story is told with a very dark sense of humour but underneath it all there is story of a woman struggling to deal with issues from her past, her present and her future. Anoushka Beazley deals with the difficult topic of mental health and the various challenges facing all mothers (& fathers) in today’s modern society.

The village of Gatlin could be anywhere.

We all know the different types of mothers competing for the top position at the school gates and we all know someone a little like Drea, someone who quite frankly just doesn’t give a s**t!!

Quite a refreshing change!

Quite a special novel!

Thank you Joanne Robertson and Anoushka Beazley for drawing my attention to, and for giving me the opportunity of, reading The Good Enough Mother

Who is Anoushka?

Dream job: pathologist who solved crimes.

Did I watch a seventies television show called Quincy M.E. starring Jack Klugman? Religiously. My Papa and I (who I suspect harboured a little man crush on Jack himself) would sit with our Sri Lankan curries on TV trays never missing an episode.

I searched everywhere in the D’s between Chemistry and English but no G.C.S.E Detective Pathologist. A flaccid attempt at education followed until a BA(Hons) in Film at the University of Canterbury woke me up. Science fiction first thing Monday morning and a dissertation on the comparative effects between Mescaline and the cinema of Alfred Hitchcock, woke me up. What do you mean my degree needs to lead to a job?

After two years as a TV presenter and researcher I tore myself away from the bright lights of Norwich for a year in New York.

Brought up in a house where the square box of dreams shone its titillating American TV programmes like a beacon through my hideous secondary school years I had to try my hand at acting.

Postgraduate in Drama later; next six years spent as a jobbing actress, waiting by the telephone to hear if I’d got the lead in the new vampire detective series, hearing instead that I’d been double pencilled as the understudy for the Asian corner shop owner’s daughter in a breaking ground new unpaid play on arranged marriages.

Got married (arranged myself) had three kids and did an MA in Creative Writing. Been writing ever since, leading to the mutually terrifying and satisfying realisation that I probably always will.

Profile Image for Kate A.
438 reviews12 followers
January 30, 2017
Rating 4.5/5

Was this guy for real? Physics and now chess. If I was worth any money, I’d think this was a set-up. You know the guy who learns about a woman from a dossier then pretends to fall in love with her so he can steal her millions. We should be on a cruise ship. I should have millions.

Drea wakes up one morning to find that her boyfriend has left her, he’s also left his daughter Ava with Drea, who suddenly realises that she’s going to have to pull it together. Especially when Ava’s private school sends notice of the school fees that need paid and Drea doesn’t have anywhere near enough to cover it. She hatches a plan to raise the funds in an unlawful way, which causes havoc in her quiet community, but it seems she’s not the only one who isn’t playing by the rules.

For some reason (and now I have no idea why) when I first started this book I found it really hard to get into, I couldn’t really connect with Drea or the first little bit of the story. So I put it down and decided to come back to it another day. I’m so glad that I did because I loved this book.

Drea is an amazing character; she is frank, unwavering and brilliantly candid. There were times reading her observations in the book that I couldn’t help but laugh from knowing that I have thought similar things, or just because I wasn’t expecting her to be so brutally honest. It was refreshing to read about a character that doesn’t have it together but doesn’t feel the need to be anything other than what she is, who can accept her limitations. She is such a genuine character because she knows she’s not the perfect person or mother but she tries as best as she can.

“And how old is she?”

“Just turned four.”

Seriously do any of us really give a shit?

“She’s got so much hair.”

“Oh I know; I don’t know where she gets it.”

Really. You don’t think it might be from either you, your husband, a sperm donor.

“It’s an unusual colour.”

“Yes, it’s kind of a red tinge with some copper undertones.”

She’s a ging-a. Dear God, can this get any more fucking boring?

“Is she eating yet?”

“I gave her some vanilla fromage frais yesterday for the first time but I don’t think she was too impressed.”

Yes, looks like it can get more boring and it’s happening right here right now.

Mental health is a big theme within this book. Drea has depression and begins to develop panic attacks after certain events in the story, I really liked how the author managed to deal with these issues within the book, there were very sincere observations from Drea but these were interspersed with humour. You feel like you are on the journey with her and discovering what has triggered these feelings and how much of a mask she has been wearing. In the end though I admired that whilst it was a part of her, it wasn’t something that she was defined by.

I also thought that the relationship between Drea and Ava was marvelous, even though Drea admits to not being maternal in the slightest, you can see how much she would do for Ava. There were parts where Ava was having to take the lead, almost like a role reversal, she was on many occasions the more sensible of the two, and I really loved seeing how their bond developed as they realise that they only really have each other to rely on.

There were a lot of twists and turns in the storyline that I didn’t see coming, and I found myself laughing at how things started to spiral out of control for Drea. Even when she got herself into some serious situations, there was always something that you didn’t expect to happen that did. I found myself panicking, cringing, being in utter disbelief and rooting for her, sometimes all at the same time. I think that I managed to get so heavily invested in this book is a testament to it’s brilliant writing.

This is a fantastic debut filled with vivid characters and dark humour, but is also a refreshing look at growth and acceptance and I am so glad that it clicked with me on the second try.

Thanks to the author and Neverland blog tours for the review copy of this book.

Originally posted on everywhere and nowhere
Profile Image for Neats.
325 reviews
November 5, 2016
The Good Enough Mother is a fabulous book that had me literally laughing out loud and was quite different to what I was expecting after reading the blurb.

It seems like Drea has always told it like it is and the proof of this is evident from the opening quote from her when she was 9 -‘If you’re happy and you know it, go fuck yourself’ I instantly knew that this was going to be a great book and I was intrigued to find out more about this character.

Drea has been dumped by her boyfriend, but not only has he left her for a younger woman, he's left his teenage daughter Ava with her. Not being the maternal type Drea struggles with being a single parent but soon it's not just her parental skills that are a problem . . . . it's how she's going to pay for Ava's private school fees.

One day while she's observing the yummy mummies from the sidelines she comes up with a plan, it's not foolproof and it's only after she's carried it out she realises that there were a few things that she hadn't given enough thought to but she'll do it better next time because there will be a next time, she has a goal and she's not giving up until she reaches it.

Over a short period of time Drea is caught up in something much bigger and she's fast becoming the centre of attention. As the story unfolds we find out more about Drea's past and the reason's behind her drinking, her habit of always having tablets close to hand and her paranoia all become clear but slowly we see her taking her responsibilities more seriously and getting her life together.

Anoushka Beazley has written a debut novel of outstanding quality and has created a character that I wish I knew in real life. This isn't just a book full of wit and satire though as there are more serious issues of mental health, parenting, drugs and friendship to list a few, which are all sensitively dealt with and making this a very satisfying read. It's also wonderfully descriptive and her attention to detail is second to none. Being a book blogger I've read lots of books over the last twleve months and it's fast approaching that time when I start thinking about my top ten books of the year and I think it's pretty safe to say that The Good Enough Mother will be on this years list. I loved it and I'm sure lots of you reading this will love it too so why not give it a try? I can't wait to see what's coming next from this very talented author.

With kind thanks to the author for the review copy.
Profile Image for Nelly.
180 reviews10 followers
August 16, 2016
Very glad I read this, is full of dark humour and I really bought into the book 100%.

Had an unusual plot and is quite engrossing because whilst is a different read, it is alarmingly true to life in places.

Great character's and well written. Would recommend.

Thanks for the recommendation Jo. x Good shout.
Profile Image for Jennifer.
744 reviews13 followers
March 25, 2017
The Good Enough Mother is hands-down one of the funniest books I have ever read! This is the crazy story of Drea and the incidents occurring after her live-in boyfriend Alex lives her for a younger woman. Alex doesn’t just leave Drea, but his teenaged daughter, Ava – along with the burden of her expensive private school tuition. Drea and Ava live with Drea’s Dad, an old man obsessed with watching porn. Drea is not a cookie-cutter type of Mom, but instead drinks a lot, smokes a lot of weed, and frequently uses very colorful 4-letter words. So as Drea tries to figure out how to keep paying Ava’s tuition, she decides to turn to a life of crime.

I thought Drea was absolutely fabulous, however, be warned that if you are easily offended by language then you probably won’t be a big fan of Drea or this story. But anyway, this is a book that had me laughing at loud the entire time. Drea is so inappropriate in the way she behaves with everyone, especially Ava, but Ava is a great girl and obviously has grown accustomed to Drea and the crazy things she says. While Drea is thinking up and carrying out criminal acts to raise tuition money, Ava is busy trying to make friends with the popular girls and also running for class President. Drea’s Dad typically stays in his room watching porn, but he’s started venturing out somewhere every day, although Drea isn’t sure where. Drea shifts from hating and arguing with the elite moms at Ava’s private school to trying to fit in with them, and even agreeing to participate in a bake sale. In the meantime, she has a therapist that hits on her and wants to take her home to his special “room,” as well as, a detective investigating the crimes in the area taking a special interest in her also.

As outlandish and crazy as this story is, it does address a very real and possible situation for many of us – how to come up with school tuition? Granted there is the argument of sending your child to public school, but Drea wanted Ava to stay in the school she had attended for so long and maintain some normalcy for her in light of her father leaving. There are also several political undertones weaved throughout the story about the overall debate between public and private schools and how fair it is for some to get a better education because their parents have more money. The great thing about the whole thing, however, is an unexpected source for the tuition that emerges throughout the novel!

Another issue is Drea’s lingering grief related to her childhood and the loss of her mother. Drea hasn’t had the opportunity to properly deal with and process what happened and her associated feelings, as well as, almost feels as if it’s her legacy to follow in her mother’s footsteps. I don’t want to provide spoilers but it does provide insight into why Drea is the way she is and there are pronounced personal improvements and changes in her by the time the novel concludes.

If you’re a very prim and proper PTA mom then, this may not be the book for you. However, if you’ve ever felt slighted or outcast by the snobby, perfect, over-bearing mothers out there, then this wildly entertaining and hilarious novel may be just what the doctor ordered! Anoushka Beazley’s writing style, characterization, and blunt dialogue all add up to a fabulous novel that I was not able to put down!

*Many, many thanks to the author for a copy of this novel in exchange for an honest review!
Profile Image for Marcia Simpson.
66 reviews
October 14, 2016
This book was NOT predictable. I just love flawed characters and I hit the mother load with this book. I wouldn't recommend this book to any prudes. The main character's father has some NSFW issues that are throughout the book starting with chapter one. But overall I enjoyed the sarcastic, cynical, and witty humor.
Profile Image for Jo.
400 reviews95 followers
December 4, 2016
Oh where do I start? Other than to say that I absolutely loved this book! I can honestly say that I have never read a book quite like it. It is shocking, hilarious and heart wrenching, all at the same time. I'll do my best to try and explain why I love this book so much.

Firstly, this is not your average feel good book about being a mother. It is not to be used as a parenting manual or some kind of self help guide to make you feel good. This book is very different, and is very obviously different from the first page. This is an honest, tell it like it is story, of a woman who becomes a mother, after her boyfriend leaves her, and she does her absolute best to fulfill that role. The book is dark, with lots of black comedy, so if you do not enjoy black humour, or swearing, )there is a lot of swearing mixed into many laugh out loud moments), I laughed an awful lot, then this book is probably not for you. But having said that, this book was definitely for me. It was the much needed antidote to all of those feel good mother books, that do nothing to make you feel good about yourself, in fact they make you feel worse. This book is very much about real life issues and a real life mother, who I felt was good enough.

So, we have Drea, the woman who has motherhood thrust upon her. Ava is not her biological daughter, but she has helped to raise her from the age of four, when her biological mother wanted nothing to do with her. This tells you everything you need to know about Drea's character. No matter what else happens in the book, with all of the dark dealings that she gets up to, (there are a lot), she is a caring and considerate mother who loves her daughter. In fact, everything that she gets up to is because of that unconditional love, and isn't that what motherhood is all about? Unconditional love? It is only because her boyfriend leaves her, and refuses to pay Ava's extortionate private school fees, that Drea has to resort to drastic measures in order to find the money. But this is only one side of her character. She is deeply funny, and I knew from reading the book that I would want her as a friend. She would always tell the absolute truth, but also, she would always be there for me.

This book is very funny. I love the descriptions of the yummy mummies, oh we all know them, who rock up on the school run in their Landrovers and of road monstrosities. Those mothers with the perfectly applied make up. Drea is not one of them and nor does she strive to be one. She is a loner, a woman who smokes joints, and has whisky with her breakfast hot chocolate. But she is not shameful of this fact. Nor does she hide it. But the real reason I loved this character was because of the many layers that were revealed throughout the novel. She is who she is, partly because of a traumatic event in her childhood, which is the reason why she always caries around in her handbag a lethal dose of paracetemol. She is ready to die. This subject I felt, was tackled with both respect, empathy and understanding. The author does not make light of this aspect of the character, but instead explains why Drea feels this way. It is not done for comedic affect or to shock, but is simply a part of who she is. This is a subject matter that is often portrayed incorrectly and with little respect in literature, but this author gets the balance just right, and this is often difficult to achieve.

The Good Enough Mother, is indeed about the human condition. It is about how we live in a community, how we interact in that community and the decisions that we make in life. Life is after all, one huge journey. It is also about the trials and tribulations of motherhood, with that one question forever in the back of my mind; Am I good enough? Isn't that a question that all parents ask? This book will make you laugh and sob uncontrollably. I have no shame in admitting that. This is a stunning debut novel that will leave you with an empty and hollow feeling in the pit of your chest, long after you have read the last page.

It's that good.
Profile Image for Agi.
1,531 reviews85 followers
February 3, 2017

"The Good Mother" is not necessarily a book that I'd choose to read, it was brought to my attention by the lovely Jenny when she was looking for bloggers to take part in the blog tour, and boy, am I glad for this chance! I had some initial problems with this story, I admit, but I can also tell you that in the end I genuinely enjoyed this complex and humorous novel that totally has taken me by surprise, full of dark humour and more twisty than a winding way.

So. This book. Guys, really. It felt like a ride on the biggest rollercoaster in the world. I've been either on top or deep, deep down with my feelings about this story. It started at the very beginning - I couldn't stop thinking that the main character Drea is full of negativity, sadness, anger and I was already thinking what it is this pile of hate she's trying to pass on to us through the pages, and really, what kept me reading was the fact that I have the book as a part of a blog tour. But then there came a moment that I started to understand her and to see that it's the way she is, and that, in fact, she may be full of hatred but she's also incredibly sharp, clever and has the best sense of humour, and she's also incredibly unselfish. I'm not sure if she'd thank me for saying this about her but I think that under this hard shell there was a brilliant, intelligent, sarcastic woman. She turned out to be an absolute breath of fresh air - she was genuine, honest and she had an attitude - what she sees is what she gets. She couldn't give a shit and finally, eventually I got it and I adored this attitude! Such a difference to all those yummy mummies - and the biggest difference was that while those women were only talking, Drea was doing. There was not a thing that she wouldn't do for Ava.

In theory the story is about mother - daughter relationship but the check there is that Drea isn't even Ava's mother! How did this happen? Well. Drea's boyfriend and Ava's father, Alex, has left - not only Drea, but also his daughter. Drea is desperate to provide Ava the same life comfort which means she's desperate that her daughter stays in the private school that Drea has no money to pay for. She sets her mind on raising the money - no matter how. And here the story actually gains it speed. The fact that the things Drea does are not too legal - well, it made me roll my eyes a little but also I think it was the moment that I thought, you go girl! And so I just went and overlook this fact.

The author has incredible way with words and she's full of sharp observations that are incredibly straight to the point. She effortlessly brings to life not only characters and the way they tick but also the setting, starting with the descriptions of the school, all the yummy mummies, shops and even the local GP surgery. Some of the moments were hilarious but also sad, because guys, the author has written how it really is, and the reality bites.

Altogether it was a little too far - fetched for my liking, too grotesque - like and I think you need to read this book with a pinch of salt, but nevertheless, it was a great read. The writing style was raw, which only made it honest and genuine and it was like a breath of fresh air. I truly adored how Anoushka Beazley was able to write not only in a humorous way but also to show the more vulnerable side to Drea and make it feel real. She, in a very clever and gentle way, deals with some more serious issues in this story but really well balances them with this dark, sarcastic humour. She has mixed so many things in her book: crime, murder, love, the politics of school - gates runs, older men obsessed with porn, relationships and still it all makes sense and made for a compelling read with a difference.
Profile Image for Rachel (Rae).
697 reviews54 followers
January 28, 2017
This book captured my attention right down to the characters and to the events that take place. Drea is not your average mother but that doesn't mean she is necessarily a bad one. I think that most people will go to great lengths to keep their loved ones happy and secure. Although maybe not take the steps that Drea does!

Drea is written in such a way that you can't really help but hope everything works out okay in the end for her and her loved ones. She is definitely flawed but this makes her such an interesting character. After all everyone has flaws just maybe not to the extreme of Drea. The best parts of the story have to be when she says what she thinks. Drea has no filter and I loved her for that, I am pretty sure all of us at times probably wish we could say out loud the things that Drea says with ease.

Drea and Ava's relationship is one of the great things about this story, brought together when Ava was four and Drea became her mother. Even though motherhood was basically thrust upon her she decides to do her very best by Ava.

There are plenty of comical moments and I couldn't help but smile at some of the events that take place in this book. Can I also say that I too would hate to be forced to take part in a bake sale! Does that make me a bad mum? I loved the way the story took off in a different direction as to how I expected. I felt as if I didn't know what was coming next and how things would end. There are some serious issues that take place in the book but they are handled well.

After finishing I actually thought about The Good Enough Mother for days afterwards. It really did stay with me and I am so glad I picked it up!

Thoroughly entertaining with a delightfully refreshing take on motherhood!

Five stars from me!

Thank you to Anoushka Beazley & Neverland Blog Tours for my copy. This is my honest and unbiased opinion.
Profile Image for Tonia.
189 reviews1 follower
July 5, 2019
The sticker on the cover describes the book as "dark, gripping and laugh out loud funny". It's all of those plus it's really well written, the comedy coming more from Beazley's careful choice of language and imagery than from the situations themselves.

The protagonist is Drea. Her plans to kill herself are put on hold when her partner absconds to France with a bimbo, leaving Drea desperate to find the fees to pay for her stepdaughter Ava's private education. The story revolves around Drea's attempts to steal enough money to pay the fees and Ava's attempts to ingratiate herself with the school in-crowd. Meanwhile, Drea's elderly father has become addicted to Tamil porn!

The book manages to combine the dark humour of The Dressmaker (Rosalie Ham), the real life observations of Liane Moriarty, and the gritty characters of Gillian Flynn or J.K Rowling (her adult fiction). There are a few cliches e.g. Drea's baking not being good enough for the school bake sale, but the quality of Beazley's writing makes the book unique. I loved it and hope she writes some more. Below is a taster...

"The morning spilt brightly into the room like a peppy girlfiend. September was unashamedly still in bed with Summer. Another wonderful day to be alive. Maybe I could make a noose for myself out of the curtains. Roll up, roll up, and welcome everyone to the greatest show on earth. Life? B****cks. I had limited interest in life and even less interest in the school run. Or more accurately, I f******g HATED the school run." (p. 4).
Profile Image for Kerry.
482 reviews35 followers
August 21, 2022
Well, talk about a rollercoaster of emotions.
Drea is not an easily likeable character. Her behaviour at times is questionable at best. However, I couldn’t help but feel for her. She is dealing with a debilitating grief. Grief no one should ever have to face. On top of that she has just been dumped and left to fend for herself and her stepdaughter. A stepdaughter with £15,000 school fees!
Her get rich quick ideas leave a lot to be desired! I can’t even imagine, but desperate times call for desperate measures as they say. Honestly, I don’t think I’ve ever read anything like this before.
There is such a lot going on throughout this story. It’s heart-wrenching at times but laugh out loud funny. This author has incredibly sharp wit and a talent for making the most desperate, and sometimes violent, situations comical. It really is clever writing.
I loved the relationship Drea shares with her stepdaughter, Ava. Drea is far from a typical mother (whatever one of those is) but she has Ava’s best interests at heart and Ava loves her. Ava is often more like the parent though.
Drea’s Papa is funny! Loved him!
Hilarious but desperately sad at the same time. I found The Good Enough Mother a highly entertaining and thought provoking read.

Profile Image for Pam Robertson.
1,024 reviews2 followers
February 10, 2017
Once I had got the measure of the book and realised that, just as the blurb had promised, it was indeed a black comedy, I really enjoyed this read. Taking the plot with a pinch of salt, I learnt to suspend belief and take each point in the plot as it came.The humour in this book is what carries the reader along. Dry and sarcastic, the view of affluent Gatlin rings true as anyone who has driven through the leafy suburbs during the school run will testify. Drea is an entertaining central figure but underneath, you realise that there is a lot of heartache which she is carrying with her in adulthood. Drea's view of herself as a mother is complex and leads you on to think about what makes a mother and what keeps a family together.

Mental health issues are central to the story, with accounts of depression, suicidal thoughts and panic attacks. Drea gives us her inner thoughts in a straightforward and unselfconscious way and there is a great contrast between the humour of her observations and the inner feelings which she must have. Although there are some serious issues dealt with, the overall tone is never heavy or depressing. It is quite a feat to do this without the humour ever becoming jarring.

In short: A book full of light and shade where dark issues lie beneath a humorous surface.

Thanks to Jenny at Neverland Tours for a copy of the book and a place on the Blog Tour.
364 reviews12 followers
October 10, 2016
I received this book from Goodreads and thank them for it.

It was different from anything I had previously read. The reviews I had read previously said that it was "laugh out loud" funny. I didn't find it that funny. It was very dark humor and I was a bit disappointed since I was hoping for an easy fun read. It was however a very clever, original story.
399 reviews
December 21, 2016
I normally don't enjoy reading about women who feel perpetually slighted by others, yet I couldn't help but laugh when the muggings & stiffs started turning up. I'm not particularly interested in people's relationship or financial problems, & the dénouement seemed a tad too pat for me. I had been expecting a biting satire promised in the blurb. But I was grateful to have received a copy through a Goodreads giveaway, as there were moments.
This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
Profile Image for Cindy.
20 reviews10 followers
October 3, 2016
This book is not my usual read, but I enjoyed it a lot! It's dark, funny, crazy and unbelievable! The way they finally get the money for the school... I just couldn't stop laughing!!! but it took me some time to get into it, so "only" 4 stars.
Profile Image for Charlotte.
136 reviews13 followers
Shelved as 'dnf'
March 30, 2017
Unfortunately, going to have to DNF this for now. I've kind of enjoyed how much I've read so far, but I haven't picked it up in ages and can't seem to get back into it. Will probably revisit soon, but for now I have too many others to read!
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