Tuesday 4 January 2011
Comfort and Joy by India Knight
Published by Penguin in 2010
So I'm walking down Oxford Street, sodden by the sheeting rain, like I walk down Oxford Street sodden by the sheeting rain every single bastarding Christmas. Well, I say Christmas - I mean 'festive period' ( which always makes me think of menstruation, except while wearing a jaunty paper hat and blowing a tooter, for fun. Poot poot!). It's not actually Christmas Day - that would be tragic or, come to think of it, maybe refreshing: just me and the odd tramp and our cosy cider, rather than me and my sixteen or so, um, loved ones.
Clara is a harassed mother of three children from two different dads. Every year she goes out of her way to create the best Christmas with hilarious results. The book covers three different years. It starts with 2009 and ends with 2011. Each Christmas sees her going all out to cater for up to fifteen different people, all with differing tastes. The best Christmas they have is the last one, when she decides to book a trip for the whole family in Marrakesh.
This book was absolutely hilarious to begin with. The first chapter nearly gave me an asthma attack as I just couldn't stop laughing. Hubby thought there was something seriously wrong with me. The way Clara speaks to her audience reminds me of how I normally refer to Christmas. Every year I walk a fine line between trying to create the ultimate Christmas and loathing it intensely. Clara is exactly the same. She goes totally over the top with all her preparations and never finds time to actually enjoy it until the last Christmas when she finally relaxes and lets someone else take the reins. I loved Clara's mother Kate, as she reminded me of one of my aunts. Though most people who have read the book were quite put off by her character, yet I found her comfortable to be around, like a pair of old slippers.
This book has received quite a lot of bad reviews, especially on Amazon. However, I got India Knight's humour completely. I could relate to her sarcasm with ease. I am known to actually talk in a similar manner, so it definitely was an interesting read for me. I could almost hear myself within her words.
The book really is only funny in the first couple of chapters, but definitely worth reading to the end. It was a wonderful read to accompany my journey through the madness of December. If you suffer from anxiety attacks during Christmas and normally run around like a headless chicken, then this book will make you feel much better. I would definitely recommend looking out for it for next year.