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14 February 2014

Review: 'Diary of an Unsmug Married' by Polly James (2014)

What happens to love when life gets in the way?
A funny and perceptive read about real relationships. Perfect for fans of Dawn French, Sue Townsend and Bridget Jones’ Diary.

Meet Molly Bennett. Married to Max and mother to two warring teenagers, she’s just ‘celebrated’ a significant birthday. According to Bridget Jones Molly is a “smug married”. So why doesn’t she feel smug?

Is it because everyone seems to be having a better time of it than her? Or is it that Max has started taking more of an interest in ‘business trips’ and less of an interest in their sex life? Molly is beginning to despair until an old school friend starts flirting with her through Facebook …

When I was contacted about reviewing Polly James' novel, 'Diary of an Unsmug Married', I was straight away interested after having read the description of the book: funny, about relationships, and perfect for fans of 'Bridget Jones' Diary.' I have to say I'm not the biggest Bridget Jones fan, but I've always loved books written in the form of letters, e-mails, diaries, and so on. After discovering Polly James actually started her own blog as Molly Bennett, the main character of this novel, and it was an instant hit, I was even more curious to find out more and looked forward to picking up the book myself!

On the outside, Molly Bennett seems to fit the famous Bridget Jones' image of a smug married woman. She has been with her husband Max for years, they both have good jobs, they have a nice house, and they've got twee teenage children. Unfortunately, Molly would describe herself more as an unsmug married, because her life is quite frankly one big mess. She hates her job working for a demanding and slightly crazy MP, her husband appears to be having an affair with the neighbour, and having two teenagers around the house who can't stand each other doesn't help. A small beam of sunshine seems to appear in Molly's life when she is contacted by an old school friend who starts flirting with her and seems keen on meeting up with her. Molly's life appears to be falling apart, the question is whether she wants to throw the towel in the ring or whether she is willing to give married life another shot.

I really liked the fact that the story in the book is told through diary entries written by the main character, Molly Bennett. Molly is a mother of two and an MP caseworker, and I personally enjoyed reading about Molly's family life (which included some funny moments, mainly including Molly's crazy son) and her job (which I thought was quite fascinating, including various eccentric but definitely entertaining characters). It provides the reader with a look into the world of British politics while also dealing with relatable issues having to do with family, relationships, and marriage.

I have to admit I expected the book to be funnier than it was. There were definitely some laugh-out-loud moments, but somehow it didn't quite match my expectations after reading the blurb. However, I am sure numerous women will be able to relate to Molly, mainly because she has her flaws, just like the secondary characters in the book, but this makes it a realistic and recognisable read. 'Diary of an Unsmug Married' is a funny and realistic portrayal of a middle-aged woman trying to find her way in life and provides a glance into the life of a slightly dysfunctional but easily loveable family. I'm sure lots of readers will enjoy this, even though it wasn't necessarily a big hit for me personally.

Rating: 6,5/10

For more information about this book: Amazon UK / Amazon US / Goodreads

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