Saturday, 10 March 2012

Review - The Pile of Stuff at the Bottom of the Stairs by Christina Hopkinson

OMG! A most hilarious account of family life that makes you think and think and think!

Mary and Josh are married and have two lovely young boys who Mary adores but feels that she doesn't get enough quality time with them. At work she’s given all the crappy jobs because she’s part time and not as respected and isn’t given the same opportunities as those who are full time yet she is just as capable.  Mary also feels that she has to constantly compete with her friend Mitzi who has the perfect house, the perfect children, the perfect husband etc and who has just bought the perfect second house on the Norfolk Coast.

Home and their house is really getting on top of Mary. Josh is a nightmare around the house, leaving stuff all over the place and creating even more work for Mary to do every time he offers to help with the kids which she feels is quite rare in itself.  He’s untidy, he’s lazy, he leaves a trail of destruction behind him and he’s generally getting right on her nerves!  He doesn’t even take equal responsibility for the kids, she’s always the one picking them up, dropping them off, having to remember everything for both herself and the kids, while he just sorts himself out. Her life is really quite exhausting, but Josh just doesn't understand why!

As the kids have improved their behaviour by utilising star charts, she makes a drastic decision and compiles "The List".  She has set up a secret spreadsheet on her computer and gives and takes points depending on Josh’s behaviour and things that really annoy her.   She has decided to put him on a six month trial and if he exceeds his allowed points, she is going to ask him for a divorce.  So the list begins …….

What a hilarious and entertaining story!  I’m sure there are a lot of Moms who feel that they are put upon all the time, and a lot of Dads out in the world that think it’s ok for that to happen!
There are a lot of men who feel that their careers are more important than that of their wives.  A lot of women have to get straight home to pick up the kids, feed them then bath them, read them stories and get them to bed before getting prepared for school the next day, while the men  work late, pop into the pub on the way home then wander home when all the hard work is done, expecting their dinner while Mom has just sat down with a glass of wine to relax after a hectic evening.  Obviously – I’m not talking from personal experience here! I know it used to happen to my Mom when we were kids. 

I laughed out loud so much at many parts of this book and I shed a few tears towards the end of the story too.  It taught me to be careful what you wish for, and that the grass might not always be greener on the other side.  It also made me think that people are not always what they seem.  There is one particular part in which I was so shocked that I sat open-mouthed for a long time (Christina knows which bit!) and it left me quite discombobulated!  It certainly made you realise that you never really know people as well as you think you do.   It also made me realise that no-one deserves to be taken for granted and that parenting should be a shared effort and not the prime responsibility for just one of the parents. 

Christina is a fantastic author, a really strong story with wonderfully descriptive words, and fabulous characters, made this a book which will stick in my mind for a long time to come.   This was one of the most enjoyable and funny books I’ve ever read.  I loved it.  I would definitely recommend this to all the Moms and partners in the world. For some it will make you see that you don't deserve to be taken for granted and for others it will make you realise just how lucky you are! 

Christina Hopkinson was born in London and brought up in Cambridgeshire.  She attended Hertford College, Oxford reading Modern History and after graduating worked at Usborne Publishing and is a strong advocate for their books now she has kids herself.  She then worked as an au pair in Spain before writing for a number of magazines, websites and newspapers.  She now lives in North London with her three children and hubby who she strongly denies is not the inspiration behind this book.  

Learn more about Christina at

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You can buy this book via Amazon by clicking here

1 comment:

The Book Snoop said...

Sounds like a fun book. I will check it out.

~ Jenna