Anonymums by Anonymous

Anonymums by Anonymous
Anonymums by Anonymous
{link url="http://www.fishpond.com.au/advanced_search_result.php?ref=866&&keywords=anonymums"}Anonymums{/link} by Anonymous

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.

The premise of this non-fiction book is simple. In an attempt to rediscover who they are outside of their roles as mother, wife and housekeeper, three mums agree to complete a dare and reveal a truth of the others’ choosing each month for two months. On the third month, they assign themselves a Big Dare. All the while, they reflect on their experiences and share it with the other two…and now with us.

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. I chuckled in parts—especially when Mum C is dared to watch the Christian channel at every opportunity and she gleefully observes her strongly atheist husband’s reaction—and I was nodding in agreement almost the entire time. There’s even a mention of romance novels as Mum B discusses sexual fantasies:

‘I like to read erotica before I start,’ [Mum B’s friend] said.

Erotica. ‘You mean like Mills & Boon sex scenes?’ I was already au fait with the guilty pleasure of the well-thumbed ‘reunion’ scene in many a romance novel. In fact, I found them great fodder for self-fondling. I had a friend who set out to write one once — she stopped when she realised that women the world over might be masturbating to her masterpiece.

But I also found parts of it deeply sad. The emotional journeys these women go through are familiar and heartbreaking—and no, that’s not a code for divorce or infidelity; no one gets divorced or has an affair, so breathe easy. (This was really important to me, so I made sure to check before I even picked up the book.)

But Anonymums underscores how tenuous our relationships can be at any given moment. Mums A, B and C work hard at their marriages, and while their husbands are generally portrayed sympathetically, there are times when the authors’ frustration and insecurities leap off the page. You know it’s going to be bad when Mum A’s husband criticises her reverse parking technique.

Each author touches on the decisions they make to strengthen their marriage, most of which involve some kind of compromise. It’s easy to lose your sense of identity when those decisions and compromises pile up, and the three-month challenge provides each mum—in differing ways—some clarity on which parts of their identities they need and want to reclaim.

Anonymums also touches on each mum’s relationship with their children. For the most part, the truth challenges are the most confronting for the authors. They examine their relationships with other mothers, their unspoken resentments and the what-if scenarios that every mother knows can never be discussed at mother’s group.

The truth of the matter is that I reckon that raising children is boring; important, but boring. It doesn’t matter how many times you go Round the Mulberry Bush, All Fall Down, or Rock A Bye Your Bear in a day, the fact is that you have to get up the next day and do the whole damn lot again.

This book will mean different things to every reader. In many ways, Mums A, B and C are lucky, and they acknowledge this. Financial and emotional stability are nothing to be scoffed at. Disposable nappy guilt is really a first-world problem. But I think the underlying ideas behind each mum’s reflections are fairly universal. Not everyone has the luxury of doing much about them, but 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…

Yay or nay?

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

Title: Anonymums (excerpt)
Author: Anonymous
Publisher: HarperCollins
B format: 9780732291693 (1/5/2011)

AUSTRALIA: Booktopia | Fishpond | Readings | Other
EBOOKS: Kindle UK | Kindle US
WORLDWIDE: Amazon UK | Amazon US | Book Depository | Library

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