Monday, 26 December 2016

Book Review - Days Like These by Sue Margolis

Amazon UK
Title:  Days Like These
Author: Sue Margolis
Format reviewed: Ebook
Source: Netgalley
Publisher: Berkley
Publication Date: 6th December 2016
Rating: 4 Stars

In the new novel from the author of Losing Me, one woman is about to discover what happens when you take the “grand” out of “grandma.”

Recently widowed, Judy Schofield jumps at the chance to look after her two grandchildren for six weeks, while their parents are out of the country. After all, she's already raised one set of children—and quite successfully, if she may say so herself. But all it takes is a few days of private school functions, helicopter parents, video games, and never-ending Frozen sing-a-longs for Judy to feel she's in over her head.

As weeks become months, Judy feels more and more like an outsider among all the young mothers with their parenting theories du jour, especially when she gets on the wrong side of the school's snooty alpha mom. But finding a friend in another grandmother—and a man who takes her mind off all the stress—almost make it worthwhile. She just needs to take it one food allergy, one incomprehensible homework assignment, and one major meltdown at a time...

I'm not sure how many years it has been since I last read a Sue Margolis book, so I was shocked and delighted to see she had a new one out. And then I was scared, just incase my tastes in books had changed so radically that I no longer would like her writing. 

Thankfully I didn't need to worry at all, as it didn't take me long to remember why I feel so at home with this author's writing. 

The characters of Judy and her mother, Freida, between them are composite of the best bits of my own grandmother.  They are nourishers, supportive of their family, couldn't do enough for their daughters, while also trying to have an active group of friends, and putting others first. In a way this was bittersweet for me, as my own grandmother passed away a couple of months ago, but this has brought the grandmother from my childhood back to life, so I very grateful to Days Like These. 

The story revolves around Abbie and Tom's decision to help out in Nicaragua after an earthquake, leaving Judy to look after her grandkids for an initial period of 6 weeks, which soon extends quite a bit further. The children are Rosie who is about 5, and Sam who is 9. 

The two children are some of the stars of the story, and most of the action centres around them, how they are getting on in this situation, and just how Judy is coping. 

Judy only lost her husband a couple of years back, and her mother Freida moved in to help her with her grief. She is still grieving, but by looking after the kids, they are giving her a new purpose in life and a chance to move on. 

What I loved was Judy's thoughts on the private school her grandkids go to, the extra-curriculars, and the different approach she has to things, than the majority of the parents on the school run. She does make friends with another grandma, as well as another mother. 

The other star of the book is without a doubt Frieda who I loved. She is the classic hypochondriac and loves using google to look up hers and others symptoms. She loves to cook and taking care of the family, all while moaning about her aches and pains. She also has a tragic childhood, but not one that is unsurprising, given the horrific era she was trying to live through. Frieda more than Judy uses a lot of yiddish phrases, which again reminds me of my own grandparents, although I hadn't ever seen half the words written, I think I may have heard more of them than I first thought. 

Days Like These is a wonderful story that spans four generations of one family, three of which living under one roof. There is a lot of humour, as well as the more serious storylines, and the children always keep things feeling fresh. I found Rosie to be very sweet, and Sam was a lot more complicated but hes older to that feels very realistic. 

I thoroughly enjoyed my first Sue Margolis book definitely of this decade, and really hope she will continue to write, especially if they are as full of warmth as this one is. 

Thank you so much to Netgalley and Berkley for this copy of the book, which I have reviewed honestly and voluntarily. 

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