Friday 23 October 2020

Call Me Mummy by Tina Baker - Book Review

Amanda Kennedy

Reading Call Me Mummy was like looking at the aftermath of a car crash: a visceral, intrusive glimpse into the motherhood experiences of two very different women through which I felt I should turn away but was compelled to continue.

The plot shifts between the point of view of "Mummy": an unnamed woman who steals a little girl named Tonya away from her "undeserving" mother at a shopping precinct, and Kim: Tonya's pregnant mother. Several interludes present Tonya's internal monologue and social media updates from the public watching the case unfold over the course of several months.

From the outset the tension is palpable. We are introduced to the discomforting contrast of polarised women, the first, a mother whom we may easily judge on first impression. Kim is working class, harried, pregnant, with a toddler in a stroller, paying more attention to her mobile phone than her daughter who is left to wander the shop unattended. "Mummy" is wealthy but childless: a woman who would feed a child of her own nutritious meals, deliver a rounded education and make all of the provisions needed for the development of a healthy, happy child. Which indeed she tries to do, once Tonya is safely contained in her perfect, sanitary home. It is at this point we begin to learn that appearances are so rarely indicative of a person's lived reality.

Both Kim and Mummy's background and secrets are slowly revealed through the course of this haunting (and at times, horrific) novel. Perhaps certain scenes and revelations affected me most because I am a mother myself. The ending could have been difficult to pull off, but proved very satisfying, particularly as this was Baker's debut as an author. I look forward very much to reading what she may write next!

Thank you Netgalley and Viper Books for the digital ARC!

Call Me Mummy by will be released on .

Reviewed by on . Rating: 4 out of 5 stars.

Amanda Kennedy / Book Blogger, Writer & Editor

Amanda is a lifelong learner and book lover who lives in the North of England with her family and several cats. She writes book reviews, literary news and bookish articles here on All My Pretty Books.

To learn more about Amanda's own work, visit her personal website.


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