A deliciously hilarious, honest and heartfelt portrayal of modern-day motherhood and the saving grace of female friendship.
Grace Harkness looks like she has it all – two beautiful children, four cookbooks under her belt and an idyllic beachside home #blessed. But add another baby on the way (oops), a spouse that is nowhere to be seen and a relentless list of things she ‘should’ be doing, and Grace is starting to unravel.
When the madness of modern-day motherhood finally pushes her to the brink, Grace and her friends decide to ditch the men in their lives, move in together and create a ‘mummune’ – sharing the load of chores, school pick-ups/drop-offs and endless Life Admin. The new set-up seems like a dream, but is life in this utopian village all it’s cracked up to be?
Remember when readers were flooded with mum-lit books in the early years of the 2000s? Heads up – this is nothing like that. However, it does stand on the shoulders of what came before. What women will put up with has changed – we all now understand the gender inequality in the division of housework. And yet, women are still carrying the bulk of all matters domestic, as well as their own careers, and that’s what Tori so brilliantly depicts here. Grace Under Pressure is brutally honest, funny, with layers of heartbreak and most importantly, a very modern take on motherhood.
Set in Sydney’s northern beaches, this is the story of a group of burnt-out mums (aren’t all mums?) who decide to live in a modern-day commune together. They’re all under pressure: ex-soap star Petra’s husband is abusive and gambles, while single mum Shelley is about to be homeless if her daughter keeps crying at night. And Grace, who appears to have the perfect life, certainly doesn’t and has just found out she’s pregnant again. With her marriage struggling and her husband away working, she welcomes Petra and Shelley into her home, with support from Christine, who lives next door.
Author, Tori Haschka is a food writer and mum of two, so there’s clearly some real-life inspiration here for her protagonist Grace. The book is imbued with food, including the chapter headings. Tori has also done a brilliant job creating a group of complex, interesting women. Grace Under Pressure really is about female friendship, and the thread of sisterhood runs deep. Plus I loved the Facebook group BeachesMums, which will have anyone who has ever been a member of a mums group – and knows how every mum is an expert – in stitches.
This weekend, ignore the kids, ignore the washing, order takeaway. Ignore everything you think you’re meant to be doing, and bunker down with this. You deserve it.