Review: 'A Spoonful of Sugar' by Amanda Orr (2016)
Propped up by vitamins and caffeine, Seattle Supermom Anna Moore thinks she has it all figured out. Three free range, organic-fed kids, a skyrocketing career as creative director at her advertising agency, and a stable marriage to a gaming nerd. But when she returns to work after an extended maternity leave only to discover that she’s been mommy tracked and the health department has shut down her daycare, she loses her grip. In swoops Maria, a seemingly experienced nanny, who enables Anna to go and win back her job. Anna quickly gets swept up into her work; while on the home front, Maria’s meddling antics reach a disastrous crescendo. Soon, every aspect of Anna’s life is going horribly and hilariously wrong and she must fight to redefine her existence, with or without a prescription.
When author Amanda Orr contacted me about possibly reviewing her novel 'A Spoonful of Sugar', I already just wanted to say 'yes' based on the similarity of the title to the name of my blog, 'A Spoonful of Happy Endings', and the obvious reference to Mary Poppins, which is one of my favourite films. I think books about parenting and in particular mothers trying to live up to that ideal of 'Super Mum' are popping up more and more and I personally find it a really interesting and relevant topic, even though I am not yet a mother myself. So, I looked forward to reading the novel and checking out a new promising author at the same time (while not being able to stop myself from constantly softly singing 'Just a spoonful of sugar...').
Anna Moore is trying her very best to have it all: a family with three children, a well-run household, and a career as a creative director at an advertising agency; but keeping all plates up in the air is not the easiest task. When it turns out her boss already has someone else in place to take over her job and their local daycare facility is shut down, Anna needs a solution and she needs one quick. Luckily nanny Maria is at the right place at the right time, and Anna can focus on other things. But when things only seem to go from bad to worse, Anna is forced to get her priorities straight and decide what she really wants from her life, as a wife, a professional and a mum.
Even though I am not (yet) a mum myself, I really enjoy reading novels about the joys and struggles of parenthood, and especially finding the right balance between having a career and a family, which I think is a relevant issue a lot of modern-day women struggle with. 'A Spoonful of Sugar' focuses on that particular dilemma as main character Anna wants to have it all, but is struggling to find a way to make it all work. It was quite easy to warm to Anna and the author really managed to make the reader feel what Anna was feeling, including all the chaos, frustration and helplessness. I was interested in the story and curious to see what would happen to Anna and her family.
The book is quite witty and entertaining and gives a realistic portrayal of trying to live up to the idea of these 'supermums', women that have it all and manage to balance it perfectly, and the pressure that comes with that. While I liked the fast-paced storyline, I did feel that it all died down a bit after reading about half of the book, until it luckily picked up again near the ending. Amanda Orr has definitely caught my eye with this read and I hope to see another one of her titles to pick up soon. Overall, 'A Spoonful of Sugar' (which is a lovely reference to Mary Poppins') is a fast-paced and entertaining novel about the modern-day challenges of motherhood and the idea of having it all; a read I really quite enjoyed.