Review: The Bad Mothers' Book Club by Keris Stainton, Reviewed by Ilona Hanne.

I belong to an awesome online book club called "Mummies Boozy Book club," so it's hardly surprising the title of this book appealed to me.

Just in case the title alone wasn't enough, the tagline certainly was. "This book club only reads wine labels". Yes, that's my kind of book and club.

However, it turns out the Bad Mother's Book Club is only formed about halfway into the book, and I do wonder if the book, tagline and blurb were wrongly chosen.


That's not to say it isn't a good book, but my expectations from the cover etc meant I spent the first half of the book feeling impatient and waiting for the book club to form.

Once it did the plot rushed through at break-neck speed, too fast to give some of the topics covered enough time.

The premise is great, a bored and lonely school mum, Emma, finds herself invited to join an exclusive book club, run by a footballer's wife and PTA chair. After a couple of awkward encounters, she is kicked out and forms her own book club - the bad mother's one of the title.

Keris has created some great, likeable characters in the book, and had I not been reading impatiently waiting to find out about the book club, I would have enjoyed meeting these characters. There was only one character I found lacking. Eve, who was having an affair with one of the other mum's husbands, needed extending in order to make her likeable or relatable.

The book covers infidelity, cancer, sexuality, isolation, child development, so many great topics but I was left wishing they had been explored in more depth. Keris certainly could have, as her characters were well formed enough to explore the topics in more detail.

The pace of the book was simply too fast to give proper attention to many of the themes, and instead some of them were reduced to throwaway lines or paragraphs.

It's not a bad book, it's just not as good as I had hoped it would be. It would make a good light read on a rainy day, and might even make you seek out your own book club.

As for me, I will stick with the great women I have met through my own, boozy mummies book club, and leave Emma and her friends in my "only need to read once" pile.


This regular column showcases some of the books available to borrow from the Stratford or South Taranaki book catalogues. The books are chosen by our editorial team.

As well as borrowing books from the Stratford Library, Stratford library card holders can also borrow books from the South Taranaki book catalogue at no extra cost.

This shared service is very popular, with over 300 books moving between the libraries each week. Library users can reserve books online regardless of which library they belong to and can also return issued books to the Stratford Library or any of the seven South Taranaki libraries.

Reserving items is free. Library members are notified by email or a phone call when reserved items are ready to collect.

All of the books reviewed in this column are available to borrow through the library system.