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Thursday, 18 July 2013

EXPECTED by Sarah England

Reviewed by Maria

This is a most enjoyable comic read from the wonderful Sarah England, which made me laugh out loud at times.  Fair dues to Sarah too, for providing humour on a topic which is actually no laughing matter at all.  The truth is, many people, women in particular, have the weight of expectations of others weighing them down and holding them back.

Take this novel's heroine, Samantha Sweet (don't you just love that name?). Sam is burdened by her mother's expectations of being a grandma.  That's why she's engaged to a particularly obnoxious specimen of manhood called Simon Bumper.  Simon's a mother's dream.  A doctor, no less.  And very smug he is too at the thought of marrying the working class Samantha and raising her social class a notch or two. He likes the way she picks up his dirty clothes and dishes and cooks his meals while he rubbishes her career as a beauty therapist.  What the heck does she want a career for, anyway? Is he not the centre of her universe?  Well, no, not really.  And poor Sam isn't having it so easy at work either.  Everything she touches seems to turn toxic and she's not sure exactly why. A couple of clients are suing the company over botched injections which were supposed to make their wrinkles disappear and made them look like the Bride of Frankenstein instead (my words, not Sarah's).  There's a man Sam likes at work, but she can't even go there because of the smug fiance.  Her retail therapy excursions have resulted in a credit card bill that's going through the roof - this girl has problems.  It's only when she takes back control of her life that the tide starts to turn in her favour.

Ever went to someone's house for dinner and instead of a three course repast with wine and all the trimmings you were served tea and a sandwich instead?  Ever went out for your Christmas dinner and instead of good cheer and bonhomie, you found yourself surrounded by screaming kids?  There are some hilarious scenes in this book which will have you laughing, even if they wouldn't be very funny to be actually in.  Sarah has a keen eye for the follies and foibles of human life and that's her unique talent.

This is a wickedly funny read and I highly recommend it.