CALL ME MUMMY. IT’LL BE BETTER IF YOU DO.
Glamorous, beautiful Mummy has everything a woman could want. Except for a daughter of her very own. So when she sees Kim – heavily pregnant, glued to her phone and ignoring her eldest child in a busy shop – she does what anyone would do. She takes her. But foul-mouthed little Tonya is not the daughter that Mummy was hoping for.
As Tonya fiercely resists Mummy’s attempts to make her into the perfect child, Kim is demonised by the media as a ‘scummy mummy’, who deserves to have her other children taken too. Haunted by memories of her own childhood and refusing to play by the media’s rules, Kim begins to spiral, turning on those who love her.
Though they are worlds apart, Mummy and Kim have more in common than they could possibly imagine. But it is five-year-old Tonya who is caught in the middle…
Book Info: Print length: 383 pages. Publisher: Viper. Publication Date: 25 Feb 2021
Tina Baker, the daughter of a window cleaner and fairground traveller, worked as a journalist and broadcaster for thirty years and is probably best known as a television critic for the BBC and GMTV. After so many hours watching soaps gave her a widescreen bum, she got off it and won Celebrity Fit Club. She now avoids writing-induced DVT by working as a Fitness Instructor.
Call Me Mummy is Tina’s first novel, inspired by her own unsuccessful attempts to become a mother. Despite the grief of that, she’s not stolen a child – so far. But she does rescue cats, whether they want to be rescued or not.
This is Tina Baker’s debut novel which had been sitting on my kindle for ages. I read her latest (third) novel Make Me Clean first (review here) which I adored so I decided to catch up with her previous books.
Obviously I was aware of Tina from TV and having met her in real life a few months ago at a literature event, I can confirm she’s completely bonkers but in a brilliant way.
Call Me Mummy has everything I personally love in a psychological thriller. A batsh*t crazy female protaganist, a little girl with a potty mouth, a completely dysfunctional family with a gripping plotline which constantly makes the reader change their minds about who deserves their sympathy and who should be locked up!!
The book begins with a child abduction (this could be triggering to some readers), a harrassed “scummy mummy” with several young children and heavily pregnant is at a local department store screaming at her children who are misbehaving when her 5 year old daughter Tonya disappears.
The book then starts to examine who and why this child has been taken. The chapters alternate between the real mother of Tonya, Kim and the new mother who believes it is her sole purpose in life to rescue Tonya and give her a better life.
The author also inserts little chapters from the public and media point of view including WhatsApp messages from neighbours and school mums, which are really ferocious towards Kim and her family.
This is a really dark book with some heavy and disturbing themes running throughout and those who are triggered by child abuse/rape/domestic violence might not be able to read this book.
I personally found it very thought-provoking. My emotions towards Kim “scummy mummy” flew back and forth throughout the book as we discover more about her past and why she behaves the way she does. “New Mummy” is a whole new bag of nuts though.. she is literally barking mad and my heart broke at the relentless abuse towards this little girl who had to cope with being ripped away from her family.
This is a brilliant debut book. My ONLY complaint and the ONLY reason I didn’t award it 5 stars was that the C-word was used too many times .. I’m not really a prude but personally didn’t feel it needed to be used as much.
WHAT OTHERS ARE SAYING ABOUT THIS BOOK
‘Dark, heartbreaking and totally absorbing’ – LORRAINE KELLY
‘Brilliantly written and emotionally compulsive’ – HARRIET TYCE
‘A powerful and thought-provoking page turner’ – KATERINA DIAMOND
‘Disturbing and distinctive, this is a book I couldn’t put down’ – AMANDA JENNINGS
‘Tense and gripping, these characters will stay with me’ – ALICE CLARK-PLATTS
‘Psychologically twisty and utterly gripping’ – LISA HALL