I’m thrilled to be here on the first day of the blog tour for this funny and uplifting book by Mink Elliot!
Annie Beaton is turning 50 – it’s a momentous day! She doesn’t realise just how significant it’s going to be, because by the end of it, she’s been fired from her job and her husband Joe has asked for a divorce! Quite how someone asks their partner for a divorce after making them a lovely birthday dinner that they’ve shared with their two young children, I’m not sure, but that’s exactly what Joe does … rather flippantly too, if you ask me!
And so Annie Beaton is forced onto an entirely different path to the one she expected she’d be taking at this stage of her life. And we, the readers, get to take it with her! Her Aunt Audrey is off travelling and offers Annie her ramshackle house in the countryside. So she and 9-year-old Izzy and 5-year-old Ben move in, and attempt to make the best of things. It’s not easy! She has no idea when her aunt last took a feather duster to her house, and it’s quite clear that a ‘handyman’ has never crossed its threshold!
But what she does have is loads and loads of self-help books, and Annie’s determined to use these to transform herself from the miserable, useless, snivelling heap that she’s become, into a semi- functional human being again. She aims to find three positive things in each day regardless of how awful she feels her life has become, and believe me, there are some truly terrible times in store – many of her own making. For Annie is quite the bumbling, clumsy individual, and she has two children on standby to laugh and point at every tiny mishap she has.
In the beginning, I struggled to like Annie. Although I did feel extremely sorry for the way her 50th had turned out (NOBODY should have that happen to them on their birthday!!), she was just so bloody helpless! But then I quickly started cheering her on as she shifting things up a notch or two and realised that she needed to get everything ship shape if she wanted to get on with any sort of decent new life for her and her kids.
Speaking of which … her daughter Izzy must be the worst girl-child every written into creation. She is the brattiest brat of note! I couldn’t bear her. She was just too horrible for words! And the more Annie justified her behaviour, the more annoyed I got. She’s a really dark little cloud in Annie’s attempts at positivity.
But other than that, this is such a delightful read. I felt it was like a gentle shake of the shoulders, reminding us to pull ourselves towards ourselves when things go haywire. It’s up to us to get it together. Nobody’s going to do it for us. They might help, offer advice, and do what they can to be there for us, but they can’t actually do what needs to be done. Only we can do that for ourselves. And Annie does that admirably.
This is a lovely 4-star read. Thoroughly enjoyable.
Mink Elliott’s always been into writing – mainly about the ups and downs of family life. Her first novel, The Pissed-Off Parents Club chartered the first year in the life of an older new mum and the toll a baby takes – sorry, the joy a baby brings – and her second novel, Just Another Manic Mum-Day, dealt with trying to find yourself again amongst the chaos and clutter created by a wilful toddler when you’ve got another one on the way. Born in Manchester only to be teased mercilessly about ‘jam butties’ when her family moved to Adelaide when she was seven years old, Mink now lives with her daughter, son and bonkers Irish Setter in a small village in Berkshire. Like Annie Beaton, she tries to practise positive thinking and mindfulness, but is more likely to be found mindlessly Hoovering up a packet (or two) of Tunnock’s Tea Cakes than square breathing.
Thank you to Sarah Hardy from Book on the Bright Side Publicity & Promo for inviting me on this lovely tour. Follow the tour for the next few days to see what other bloggers have to say about Annie Beaton’s Year of Positive Thinking …