19 November 2007

The 200-word review: 'The Family Way' by Tony Parsons

As a typical married twentysomething female I am practically obsessed with children, and so naturally I was drawn to The Family Way. I was slightly cynical about a book dealing with motherhood written by a man, but that only intrigued me more. I quickly found that this isn’t just about motherhood; it’s about family and all the issues that come with it.

If you’re looking for a fluffy, cooing view of parenthood, this isn’t it. Parsons deals with the good, bad and ugly of family life – the story revolves around three girls abandoned by their mother as children, and their own complications as adults. There’s the infertile couple, the unintentional single mother and the woman convincing herself that her partner’s vasectomy is not a problem. Throw in endometriosis, pre-eclampsia and Caesareans, and there’s really not much else to discuss. Parsons portrays the female perspective surprisingly well, but also shows us the views of the men, so often left silent in works and debates about parenthood and family.

This book isn’t a literary classic, but it isn’t soppy pulp fiction either. It drifts between heart-warming sentimentality and gut-wrenching honesty, much like family life, I suppose. A must-read for other broody twentysomethings!

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