The Bad Mother's Handbook by Kate Long is the story of three generations of women experiencing very different times and how they cope with one another. Charlotte is a struggling seventeen-year- old who finds herself pregnant in the middle of her junior year with the father consciously ignoring the baby's existence. Meanwhile, Karen, Charlotte's mother has problems of her own. Aside from finding the perfect man, and becoming a grandmother when she's only thirty-three, she has just unearthed a huge secret about her past. One that she's hoping will explain the current funk she can't seem to shake. Finally, Nan, Karen's mother, the eccentric and often perceived as crazy old woman has to cope with her past and learn to deal with her future. When you put them all together in one small English home, the hormones rage and out of the mixture comes three beautiful and strong women who learn lessons that will aid them throughout life.
This book was fantastically imaginative in that it was about everyday life. Someone once commented on how families are really just individual people with separate lives living together under one roof and loving each other. If so, this book contains the perfect example of a family. Each person brings something different to the story; Charlotte and the way she accepts her pregnancy, Karen and the way she discovers the importance of the people in her life, and Nan in the advice and wisdom she offers when it truly matters. This book reeks of English countryside, though the backgrounds and setting easily become familiar. Withholding the fact that I've never been to an English club, the club in the story brings memories of clubs I have known. The same goes for Charlotte's school, the family's home, and even the home of Charlotte's friend, Daniel. Part of this book contains sexual material and there is one pretty horrible incident of violence, but other than that it's marvelous. Part coming-of-age tale, part witty comedy, part bitter tragedy, this is an utterly enjoyable book, indeed.