For me, one of the best ways to relax on my own is to read. I’m not a strong reader and it will take me a few moths sometimes to get through one book.
One of my favourite authors is Philippa Gregory. She has written a lot of best-selling novels, many of which have been adapted for film and TV, the most known of which is The Other Boleyn Girl (Natalie Portman and Scarlett Johansson star).
Lately, I have read one of her books, titled The Little House. It’s about a young mother who has a tough time adjusting to becoming a mother and suffers from depression not long after. After suffering from this myself, I thought it would be interesting to see how it looks form the outside. The book is fiction, but it was still an interesting, yet quite extreme view.
To give you a feel for it, here is what is written on the back of the book:
“It was easy for Elizabeth. She married the man she loved, bore him two children and made a home for him which was the envy of their friends. It was harder for Ruth. She married Elizabeth’s son and then found out, somehow, she could never quite messier up…”
This is one of the key points of this story. The main character Ruth is quite a modern girl whereas her mother in law is quite traditional and the two clash, but in a nice, polite way. It’s very odd!
“Isolation, deceit and betrayal fill the gaps between the two individual women and between their different worlds. In this complex thriller, Philippa Gregory deploys all her insight into what women want and what women fear, as Ruth confronts the shifting borders of her own sanity”
The first few weeks after having my daughter, I don’t think I had any sanity!
“Laying bare the comfortable conventions of rural England, this spine-tingling novel pulses with suspense until the whiplash double-twist of the denouement”
After reading this, I ended up heading back to the bookshop to buy it as it was stuck in my head, going over and over it, again and again. I had read the book at school, but something about reading this again seemed different. It rang so many bells in my head about experiences that myself and friends have been through over the last couple of years with our children. It takes the fears that we as women always seem to have when pregnant.
For example, when I log-on to parent forums and chat sites, there is always a post about someone feeling like another person is trying to take their child away from them. It’s always a horrible thing to see and read and this book takes those fears, scopes them up and throws them back as a possible reality and it’s weird, scary, yet part of you thinks “yeah, this could happen!”
As I read the book, I would find myself saying, out loud, “no way would she do that” and “what, why would that happen” and more. It just pulled me in. Though the first time I read it, i’ll be honest, I found it hard to connect to the story. I think the process of having a baby and the relationships with the people around me changing really helped me understand it more, which is why I think the book is great for mums (and mums-to-be!)
Even if you don’t like reading, you can still get involved with this story. ITV3 recently rebroadcast the two-part adaptation of the book and all though small things of the story have changed, the raw emotion is still there and the experience that Ruth goes through is still hard.
Head over to ITV player now to take a look or head down to your local book shop. It really is a captivating story.