Saturday, September 21, 2013

Review: Mutton by India Knight

'Laugh-out-loud funny' is bandied around in book reviews about a lot of not-so-funny books. In India Knight's case it is the absolute truth. Giggling throatily on the train, in bed and on the sofa as I raced through Mutton in two days I have finished the book thinking that she may be one of the people you list as 'celeb you would most like to have dinner with.'

India Knight's writing is pacy but full of feeling. Her journalism lends itself to the no-nonsense style of story telling whilst her philosophical asides are real thoughts on subjects that go through everyone's minds as concepts are considered.

There is no getting away from the fact that this book is going to appeal to 'women-of-a-certain-age', that age being mid-40s+teenage kids+clothing crisis+am I really old? At a certain age everything becomes a question; is this dress too young for me? vs is this dress going to make me look old and frumpy?, should I try to maintain a youthful image vs should I accept the inevitability of ageing and just try to age gracefully and the pitfalls surrounding mature dating. The list is endless and the teenagers won't be backward at coming forward if you get any of these decisions wrong. The heroine of India Knight's book is Clara; forty-six, feeling to be in her prime, divorced with three kids with a happy supportive family. That is until her old school friend moves in, returned from ten years in LA with an LA yoga body, LA food philosophy (don't eat basically) and in complete denial that she is nearly fifty. Extolling the virtues of the nip and tuck along with the botox and all that goes with it, Clara starts to question her satisfied existence which is not helped by her son's seventeen year old girlfriend wafting around the house radiating youth and firmness.

With a wilting faded rose attached to the collar of the book jacket cover picture of Clara and the statement "Age before beauty. Maybe." this book brings up every question about ageing gracefully, addressing the whole subject with humour, candour and ultimately a big dollop of warmth that will make this one of those books you'll be telling all those 'women-of -a-certain-age' that they will just have to read.

Mutton by India Knight is published  by Fig Tree/Penguin

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