20.3.19

BOOK REVIEW: You Can Take Her Home by Anna Jefferson

That moment when you realise...
you have absolutely no clue.
Emily Jones is a new mum: she's bought the swank buggy, planned her labour soundtrack, read the books. Then her little girl actually arrives and Emily realises, she has all the gear, no idea- and only the rest of her maternity leave to figure it out. Lonely, but not alone, it's the women Emily makes friends with in the first year who will see her through to the other side. 

Publisher: Orion
Pages: 343

You Can Take Her Home Now is one of the funniest books I have ever read. Anna Jefferson writes about first time mum Emily Jones and the book is told entirely from Emily's perspective. In a nutshell it is Emily's experience of the first year of motherhood- the highs, the lows and the very messy moments. It is frank and hilarious, I had laughed out loud several times before I even finished the first chapter:
"Just relax" the doctor says perkily. "We had to cut through several layers of your vaginal wall to get your baby out, so I'm going to sew it up for you. You won't feel a thing for now. I'll tidy it up best I can so it'll be nearly as good as new." I don't think I ever want to use my vagina again. She might as well just sew the whole thing up.
I've read several fictional accounts of having a newborn but this has by far been the best. I identified with so much of it and I couldn't stop reading. That first year is such a roller-coaster and I think Anna Jefferson has done an excellent portrayal within this book.

Emily and Nick bring their baby home with no idea of what they are doing. They are faced with the tiredness, breastfeeding and the huge task that simply leaving the house has become. Nick returns to work and Emily is adapting to her new role as a mum. She is mourning the lost relationship of her childhood best friend Rachel but she soon has two new first time mum friends, Helen and Tania. They provide her with much needed support and understanding that she needs.
Jefferson is brutally honest about motherhood and the many different emotions experienced during those first few months:
I just need to stop the constant chatter in my brain, the constant self-evaluation, the endless guilt. The guilt is so overwhelming, I feel like I'm drowning in it.
I can remember feeling so guilty in those early days. Guilty that I wasn't enjoying every single moment of it, guilty that I would do anything for an uninterrupted night's sleep, guilty for watching daytime TV instead of going to a baby massage class.
This book sounds very serious but it has a great balance. A huge dose of reality matched with excellent humour. I do think that being able to laugh at stuff is one of the best ways of dealing with parenthood, that and alcohol helps too.

You Can Take Her Home Now is an unflinching look at becoming a first time parent. Emily and Nick have to navigate this path whilst being exhausted and very much resenting each other at times. I thought it was interesting how Jefferson explored the different roles we take on when having a baby. Although Emily and Nick have had a baby together, their experience of day to day life with a newborn varies greatly and they have to find a way to stay united.
I can highly recommend this book, I believe You Can Take Her Home will be hugely popular with readers, it is a fantastic debut.

Many thanks to Orion for inviting me to take part in this blog tour, the book is published on 16th May. 

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