After reading quite a few intense books and going through a stressful few weeks myself I was ready to read something that was a little less “edge of the seat” and a little more “sit back and relax” and this book was just that. I enjoyed picking up this book and losing myself in the pretty chaotic world of Audrey and now I’ve finished it I’m going to be going straight over to Amazon to see what else of Fiona Gibson’s I can read.
The story is about Audrey who is mother to a teenage son Morgan who seems to spend his days wrapped around his girlfriend Jenna in their house. Audrey is a dinner lady and also a carer to Mrs B. She spends her days looking after other people, picking up her son’s girlfriend’s thongs from her bathroom floor and rushing off on last minute trips to various motorway service station hotels to spend the night with her boyfriend Stevie.
When Audrey wins a prize as Dinner Lady Of The Year she gets the chance to spend a week in a grand hotel learning French cookery skills from a ‘celebrity’ Michelin starred chef. This is so far removed from her every day life that it is the perfect break and Audrey begins to get more confidence and see what is important in her life.
I really liked the light hearted element to this book. There were some deep issues that went alongside it too which made it a really well formed book but the humour was brilliant. The awkward rope tying incident, a cake being described as ‘too cakey’, the son being incapable of operating a washing machine… there were lots of moments that were brilliantly funny and quite probably very true to life too for some people!
The characters were well formed, I really liked the relationship between Audrey and her son. How she was desperate for him to make something of his life and to find a job or go on a course rather than spend his days in bed or wrapped around his girlfriend. I liked that over time she began to realise that she barely ever complimented him on anything and instead was just focusing on what he wasn’t doing. Over the course of the book their relationship changed and it was still very realistic to the teenage son-mother relationship of real life. The conversations between them were often full of tension which felt very real.
Audrey I thought was great. Trying to help people all the time, she seemed to be stuck in a routine of just running around after others and was forgetting to do things for herself. I liked her scatty nature but also how caring she was, supporting her son and his girlfriend when they needed her.
Although whilst reading this book I was usually laughing along with the very naturally flowing humour I was also infuriated by Stevie and Morgan at times, the way they just expected Audrey to do whatever they wanted as the drop of a hat made me feel cross! I think that is a sign of a well written book- if it enables the reader to feel such strong emotions! It meant i was able to get into Audrey’s head and know just how frustrating it must have been as a mother to try to motivate your son but then risking more tensions within your relationship.
I enjoyed this book a lot. It was just what I needed to read whilst having stressful days myself. It was perfect to pick up and lose myself in for a while and I can’t believe I’ve not read any other books from this author before, I will definitely be seeking them out now.
I would recommend this read to anyone looking for something that provides some escapism, humour and a read that will take you on a journey.