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Hurrah for Gin! And again I say Hurrah!

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I’ve never been a fan of parenting books.  While I was pregnant, those ‘what to expect’ books would reduce me to a snivelling heap, wiping teary snot off my face with the back of my hand.  And since, those ‘how to get them to sleep through the night’ books — and similar — had me chucking them at the wall and hanging my knackered head in my hands.  So I stopped reading anything about parenting.  On principle.  Books, blogs, websites, backs of packets, you name it.

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Then I discovered ‘Hurrah for Gin‘ — or rather, a school mum friend of mine liked something from the blog on Facebook — and the cartoon that popped up made me laugh out loud.  Like, properly out loud.  With snorting and everything.  I was properly hooked.

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Katie Kirby’s new book — called, funnily enough, Hurrah for Gin — is hilarious.  It’s also quite moving, a little bit sad, achingly familiar and a cracking good read.  I’ve even found Mr C dipping into it, and he’s said he’s going to read (and he never reads anything — or drinks gin — but he is a parent, so I guess it’s ok).

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I love that it’s not a ‘how to’ book, but it’s a book for those of us who pretty much have no idea ‘how to’ either but are muddling along — sometimes very nicely, sometimes screeching like a banshee and sometimes locking ourselves in the loo for a brief moment of peace.

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Katie Kirby is the mother of two little boys — Big Bro and Little Bro — and she takes us through the whole kit’n’caboodle, from the, er, joys of ‘growing a human’ to the challenges of getting the little buggers to sleep once they’re out — as well as answering those delightful questions (“where is your willy, Mummy?”) and balancing work and home, or not, and the guilt that seems to accompany every possible decision you make — the ever-present lime in the G’n’T of life.

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I loved it.  I raced through it, and I keep going back to it — being that really annoying person who chuckles out loud while reading and then insists on reading out the bit I’ve just read, or showing you the picture, even though it’s totally out of context and you’re doing something else entirely.  (Sorry about that.)

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It’s not for the faint-of-heart, though.  It contains a load of swearing (much like my parenting, to be fair) and a load of fairly no-holds-barred honesty about how $£^*&ing difficult so much of being a parent can be.  But there’s also a real sense of love for her kids and for the whole ridiculous business of realising you are everything to these little people — and you have no clue at all how to live up to that.

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You might not know more about what to do at the end of reading it — but you’ll absolutely know that whatever you’re doing might be right some of the time and rubbish some of the time and that’s just fine.  You’re doing your best.  And there’s always gin.

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If you’re around this Wednesday evening, 23 Nov, you can catch Katie Kirby reading from her book and being interviewed by *ahem* me (squeak!) at Sarratt Village Hall, hosted by Chorleywood Bookshop.  You can book your tickets right here — and they include a copy of the book and (hurrah!) a G’n’T.  See you there!

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