Tuesday 4 January 2011

Comfort and Joy by India Knight

Pages - 230

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. 


  1. I'm still in the queue for this at the library so will have festive reading in February probably.

  2. You've got me very curious about Knight's humor, so I want to give this book a try.

  3. It just goes to show how we all differ in our liking (or not) of books. I must confess that I have read several other reviews of this - all bad - but after reading yours I'm intrigued as to whether or not I will appreciate this type of humour after all. Thanks for your thoughts Vivienne, I'm hoping our library will be able to get hold of a copy.

  4. Verity - enjoy it in February! I can only get into Christmas books at Christmas. I lose interest after that.

    Kathy - it doesn't suit everyone's taste, but I enjoyed it.

    Petty Witter - I am beginning to think I might have an odd sense of humour, as I really could see the funny side of each character and their actions.

  5. Love the sound of that, I do need to laugh, but lately I haven't read anything that made me more than giggle

  6. Thats quite the blurb!
    Glad you enjoyed it and got her humor.
    Great review.

  7. Seeing as I am always being taken the wrong way for my sarcastic humour (highest form of wit in my opinion) I'm thinking I might like this one ;) Will look out for it definitely.

  8. I've not tried any of her books but have been meaning to! This sounds pretty fun. Glad it helped you find humor during the holiday madness :)

  9. Another one to keep in mind for next year - I think it sounds great.

  10. I love the cover of this. Plus it sounds really interesting! Great review!

  11. I like the sound of this. I know so many people whose voices I could have matched to that beginning summary. It sounds like something I'd totally get and really would love to read now. :D


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