THIS MOTHER’S DAY YOU WILL CALL HER MUMMY
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 little foul-mouthed Tonya is not the daughter that Mummy was hoping for.
Meanwhile Kim is demonised by the media as a ‘scummy mummy’, who deserved to lose Tonya and ought to have her other children taken too. Haunted by memories of her own childhood and refusing to play by the media’s rules, she 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…
CALL ME MUMMY. IT’LL BE BETTER IF YOU DO.
Young children, a new born baby, kittens, puppies – all the things that make me stressed when reading. And two main protagonists who are both spiralling out of control and you have a tale of two women descending into madness, which is all very Shakespearean and definitely tragic.
This is a book like no other. We read about the kidnap from the point of view of the kidnapper, only ever referred to as ‘Mummy’ as she tries to justify her behaviour. But then no-one else could justify it like she does. She had a terrible childhood, full of hatred, child abuse, fanatical religion and cows (no nor me – at least not yet). A dangerous combination, but one that does not excuse her maniacal behaviour. And if you think her treatment of the child Tonya is bad, just wait till the story progresses – or is it regresses?
Kim is Tonya’s grieving mother. She has a toddler Darryl and is also heavily pregnant with Nate. We are sympathetic – nothing could be worse than losing a child – but it’s not easy. She doesn’t endear herself to anyone. She screams and swears at the police and the press, pushes her husband to the limit and becomes aggressive towards anyone who speaks to her. Social media call her ‘scummy mummy’. KIm too has had a difficult childhood. She just doesn’t know how to cope.
Kim’s best friend Ayesha is a godsend and her rock. She sticks by her through all the anguish and rejection, even though she has her own children to look after including a severely disabled son called Mo, Tonya’s best friend.
When Kim is at her lowest, husband Steve brings home a Dachshund puppy which they call Sausage. The last thing that Kim wants or needs is another mouth to feed, but Sausage becomes a glimmer of hope. Tonya would love him.
I don’t think the police or social workers do much to help. There seem to be no clues to the kidnapper and no-one seems to pick up on Kim’s mental state.
I loved this book. It goes where others fear to tread. It’s only the brilliance of Tina’s writing that allows humour to creep into something so dark and disturbing.
Many thanks to The Pigeonhole, the author and my fellow Pigeons for making this such an enjoyable – if somewhat stressful – read. We were so involved in the story that we planned our own rescue!
About the Author
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.