Writing humour is very difficult and I am in awe of the three nominees in this category. I only wish I had half their wit (although that could make me a half-wit, of course).
Anyway, it is with great pleasure I present the nominees for this year's Grunter Awards in the Humour Category.
Erin Murphy is your typical Washington Mum, trying to balance her job with her husband’s needs and her children’s requirements. Erin is a life-long Democrat and work in PR for an environmental lobby group. When the Democrats get trounced at the mid-term elections, Erin’s job disappears and she is left with the dilemma and guilt of not having been there for her children and the difficulty of finding another job in what is largely a Republican Washington now. To complicate matters, in House Divided, by Jami Deise, Erin’s husband Jack is a dyed-in-the-wool Republican and when he lands a plum job with the ultra-right-wing television network TRC (The Right Choice), family loyalties will be pushed to the brink. Can Erin settle happily as a stay-at-home Mum while Jack makes a fortune as a television commentator. Her conflicting emotions and the political conflict provide for an exciting and fascinating journey.
House Divided was, I felt, a timely reminder of how political loyalties can divide even the most tight-knit of families. Jami Deise has provided a fascinating insight into the life of those on the fringe of Washington politics and how it can consume their very existence. This is a serious look at an issue that affects not only those in Washington, but all working mothers. There is an overwhelming guilt that many mothers experience over not being there for their children while they are growing up. Erin, like many mothers must face this balancing act of money vs time. Although the topic is serious enough, Deise’s writing is light and fun. She manages to find the quirkiest moments from serious situations and this made the book incredibly easy to read. I enjoyed being able to relate to a system I actually know very little about and I loved the little in-joke at the end about the current administration. This is a timely book and one I know many people will enjoy reading. Well-written and easy to read. What more can a reader ask for?
Have you ever woken up from a drunken New Year’s Eve party and wondered just what you’d got up to the night before? In From Beer to Maternity by Julie Hodgson, that is exactly the dilemma faced by overweight Janet. It’s not until she turns up for work at the call-centre after the holiday break that she discovers, to her horror, that she has challenged the very fat Jack, from Accounts to a weight-loss competition over the coming year. The competition soon takes on a life of its own, as first her workmates, the company and then the media become caught up in the hype of this competition. Janet and Jack find a whole weird and wonderful variety of different diets foisted upon them, each month by the boss. Despite this, both become caught up in the idea of losing weight and becoming healthier. A year of hilarity follows.
I found From Beer to Maternity to be a very funny and light-hearted look at what is a serious subject – obesity. Both Jack and Janet are very real characters that I am sure many readers would have no problem at all identifying with. Although bordering on farce and caricature at times, this book by Hodgson is a very easy and satisfying read. It is typically English working-class humour – dry and witty, with a good dollop of sarcasm. My only complaint would be the book was a little short for my liking and I felt the author could have fleshed out each month a little more, with greater insight into Jack and Janet’s lives. That being said, it was a fun read and one I can definitely recommend. I particularly liked the chapters alternating between the characters. This gave equal insight into both contestants. An excellent read.
A fun, frolic down fantasy lane is the best way I think I could possibly describe The Royal Treatment, by Melanie Summers. This is an out an out funny, chick-lit, with no pretensions of being anything else. Tessa Sharpe, a twenty-eight-year-old, former journalist has adopted the role of Royal Watchdog for the Kingdom of Avonia. Her blogs on the Royal Family and their excesses are grist to the mill of the group of Avonian citizens who consider the Royals to be an outdated and unnecessary institution in the Twenty-First Century. Facing a potential referendum to strip the Royals of their powers, Crown Prince Arthur invites Tessa to spend two months at the Palace, to live with the Royals and to see what it is they really do to help the people of Avonia. What follows is a hilarious romp filled with palace intrigue and of course the never-ending question (will they do it!).
I read so many books over the years that focus on the very worst of the human condition, so it is wonderful, from time to time, to come across a story so frivolous and so much fun as The Royal Treatment. There are few books that can make me chuckle, let alone belly laugh and yet Summers managed to draw that out of me in this fun tale. It is genuinely funny and yet still has something important to say, on a higher level. Obviously Avonia is a mythical kingdom, but the comparisons can well be made to other European countries still supporting a monarchy, even if that monarchy is merely ceremonial. Many of the issues faced by the Avonian monarchy and indeed the perception of that monarchy to the citizens can draw a direct parallel to other monarcies, such as the British. Look, I really enjoyed this book and congratulate Summers on a fine effort. The Royal Treatment is a wonderful distraction from a world where there is much too much angst and seriousness.
...and the winner is!
EMBRACE THE OPPORTUNITIES LIFE PRESENTS TO YOU AND ALWAYS, ALWAYS FOLLOW YOUR DREAMS!
HAVE A GREAT LIFE AND SPREAD THE LOVE!
CHANGING THE WORLD – ONE READER AT A TIME