x Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 17 January 2018

Book review: Harried mums will relate to Julia Sweeney memoir

Julia Sweeney, who used to write for the TV programme Desperate Housewives, reflects on a month spent without her husband and child.

Screenwriter, actress and comedian Julia Sweeney faces the prospect of a month at home without her husband and eight-year-old adopted daughter, Mulan, with unbridled joy in this funny memoir about her break from reality.

Fans of the television series Sex and the City and Desperate Housewives, for which Sweeney used to write, will recognise its narrative style of zippy anecdotes, flashbacks, direct address and self-revelation, as she explains a relationship break-up, adopting her then 17-month-old daughter, hiring a nanny, acquiring a dog instead of child No 2, meeting a husband and moving to a small town from Los Angeles.

There are serious notes too: the death of her brother during writing and a plea for abortion rights in the United States, as well as the odd rant, for example about the too-wide strollers pushed by self-absorbed parents.

Ultimately, it's Sweeney's self-awareness and comic timing that saves this book from similar accusations.

Any harrassed mother (ie all of us) will appreciate its honesty and, yes, laugh out loud.