Katja Berg is your average, every-day, solo-mum who has gone through the trials and tribulations of falling in love with the wrong person and being left saddled with two children and a mountain of debts by her wastrel partner. A Rubber Face with a Stripper’s Name is her poignant story of her struggle to cope with the pressures of everyday life that being left in that situation can put on you. Born and raised in Denmark, Katja emigrated to Britain when she was eighteen and followed her love of flowers into opening up her own floral shop in Richmond, London. The birth of her twins Pepper and Magnus and the realisation that her partner and “soul-mate” Casper was a cheat, a liar, and a thief from their own savings and business, meant she had to face the dilemma of debt collectors, bailiffs and family court, while still trying to bring a sense of normalcy to her children’s lives and somehow find her own inner peace. We follow Katja as she attempts to navigate the judgements of other parents, family and friends whilst still trying to find her own happiness again, in the world of being a single mother.
It is true what they say that the best memoirs are often those of ordinary people, just like ourselves. We can all find something to identify with, in Katja Berg’s emotional and at times heart-wrenching story of love, loss and friendship. As a solo-father myself (for a period) I could readily identify with the struggles she went through. Berg said she wrote A Rubber Face with a Strippers Name to reach out to all solo-mums and tell them one simple thing; “you are not alone”. I think there is something in this simple story for any reader to extract. The essence that came across the most, to me, from Berg’s story was simply; friendship is something that must be treasured and it is not our right to judge anyone for their choices in life. We have no comprehension of the road they are walking and all we need do for our friends is be supportive, be there and listen – but don’t judge. The writing is clear, simple and to the point, with no restraint on language. There is no attempt to varnish the truth or hide from her own shortcomings. Berg understands that both parties in a relationship are responsible for the growth and development of their partnership. I thoroughly enjoyed this simple read and took much from the author’s perspective on life.