183 times a year is reportedly the number of times it is normal for a girl to argue with her mother. Unfortunately for Lizzie it seems more like 183 times a day! Not only does she have her own angst ridden teenage daughter Cassie to contend with, but also her Goth like teenage stepdaughter Maisy (or Mania as she insists on being called). Her son Connor, who has yet to discover his hormones, happily co-exists with all the mayhem and is almost oblivious. Connor and Cassie are Lizzie’s children by her first marriage, and therein lies much of the source of the arguments and disruption as her ex husband is really only interested in his new family, so Cassie vents her spleen at home.
I really enjoyed this book. It really grasped the nature of mother/daughter relationships very well, in a way that was funny but also at times, touching and poignant. As I don’t have children I’ve never suffered the ‘joys’ of teenagers, however, although it may have been quite a while ago, I still remember what it was like to be one. If I’m honest I suspect I was probably quite a little Cassie myself, so for that – sorry Mum! The joy of this book is that there were many reference points that struck a personal chord. Lizzie’s reminiscences of her own younger/teenage years could well have been my own as I too was always going to be Mrs David Cassidy – he just needed to meet me! The angst of the teenage years, of fitting in and being accepted, are all feelings we will recognize. The importance of the correct clothes, the choice of music, watching the right programmes, reading the correct books. Whether you were a ‘Lizzie’ or have a ‘Cassie’ this book will resonate.
The book isn’t solely about teenage relationships, it deals with many other contemporary issues such as the changing nature of the family unit, work practices, friendships, illness and infidelity to name a few. While the general tone is upbeat, it doesn’t shy away from dealing with more serious topics, and drifts into darker territory towards the end. That said it still maintains a lightness that makes you think about the important things in life, rather than concentrating on the things that are sent to try us.
I’d like to thank Eva for providing me with a copy to read, and I’m happy to say I had no difficulty in writing a positive review. I’d happily recommend this book, to anyone who enjoys a realistic and yet entertaining look at modern family life.