Fabulous New Book Alert: Bedtime Stories for Busy Mothers by Caylie Jeffery. This book did to me what never happens when I read or watch movies – it drew a tear to my eye! Caylie Jeffery is a friend of mine and I have watched with much interest her progress from book conception, through the grueling writing and editing process, to the exciting journey into self-publishing (see books being delivered in the pic below). Now, I am very delighted to report that her book is number one in some of Brisbane’s best book shops (in the pic below, number one at Black Cat Books). Indeed, on Saturday, at the national chain bookseller Dymocks, Caylie sold more copies of her book in two hours than has ever been done in that store before.
Here is my review:
One other reader-reviewer described this as chicken soup for mothers and I agree. This is a well written, brave and original collection of newspaper-style columns about various aspects of parenting. It’s brave because Jeffery tackles topics that can sometimes be hard to discuss with even a friend – what to say when your child publicly identifies something different or unusual about a stranger; different ways to handle child/teacher conflict; the impact of parenthood on a marriage. Jeffery approaches each subject with candidness and honesty. Sharing opinions on parenting issues is risky – it’s a controversial topic and most parents’ own views are grounded in emotion so intense it can make debate or discussion difficult. However, Jeffery avoids alienating anyone because these stories do not preach – they are simply one women’s experience of a variety of funny, sad, embarrassing and at times shameful experiences. The topic of shame, in these stories, interests me. For me, the story that effected me the most was one where the author’s son misbehaves in the classroom and, as punishment, misses out on a much desired playdate with his older ‘buddy’. The little boy is so humiliated and ashamed it brought a tear to my eye – and I never cry from books or movies. My reaction made me think about the idea of shame. Years ago, when I did a creative writing course, we discussed how ‘shame’ is the one emotion that always reaches out to a reader and makes them feel connected, or empathetic, to the character. Everyone relates to shame because it is such an intense, uncomfortable, distressing emotion. Jeffery’s writing style is cleverly conversational and she is clearly a gifted writer – easy to read is never easy to write. In these stories, Jeffery takes a commonplace situation and unpacks it, discusses it, and puts it back together in a way that makes you reflect on your own experiences, not just as a parent, but as a person. It makes you want to be the chicken soup for someone else’s soul! This is an extremely motivated writer with considerable writing talent, and I look forward to the next book she writes. Watch this space!