What to buy in February? Call Me Mummy by Tina Baker

Glamorous, beautiful Mummy has everything a woman could want. Except for a daughter of her very own. So when she sees Kim – heavily pregnant, glued to her phone and ignoring her eldest child in a busy shop – she does what anyone would do. She takes her. But foul-mouthed little Tonya is not the daughter that Mummy was hoping for.

As Tonya fiercely resists Mummy’s attempts to make her into the perfect child, Kim is demonised by the media as a ‘scummy mummy’, who deserves to have her other children taken too. Haunted by memories of her own childhood and refusing to play by the media’s rules, Kim begins to spiral, turning on those who love her.

Though they are worlds apart, Mummy and Kim have more in common than they could possibly imagine. But it is five-year-old Tonya who is caught in the middle…

CALL ME MUMMY. IT’LL BE BETTER IF YOU DO.

“Mummy” is desperate to become just that-a mother. But unable to conceive or adopt her own child, she uses the moment a harassed pregnant mum of 2 is distracted to steal one of hers. Unfortunately, Tonya isn’t the sweet young girl that Mummy wanted. Tonya wants her own mum-Kim the “scummy mummy” who is vilified in the press for losing her daughter. But who’s side will you be on? The answer might surprise you…

Tina Baker has delivered a very dark, heartbreaking and thought provoking novel that made me question my own opinions about what makes a good parent. Kim is the mum that others look down their noses at but does ANY mother deserve to be treated with such contempt just because of the way she looks, where she lives or because she swears and smokes? HER CHILD WAS ABDUCTED!!! But I could also understand the desperation felt by Mummy who thinks she will be a better person to bring up Tonya who seems grubby and uncared for by her distracted mother but it’s obvious that only someone with very deep issues will follow through with the horrific thoughts of taking a child that nots hers. Both women have their layers slowly peeled back by the author and we begin to discover how the past and events that life has thrown at them have made them the women they are today. The theme of nature versus nurture follows both of them throughout this disturbing narrative and your sympathies are played with every time the focus changes from Mummy to Kim and back again. But my favourite perspective was that of Tonya-she may only be 5 but this little girl knows her own mind…

This isn’t an easy read, there are some very difficult scenes throughout (and one disturbing twist that I hadn’t seen coming) but it’s a compelling story that I became completely invested in. Be warned that there are some strong, very raw emotions in there and I could feel that a lot of the author’s experiences had been channeled to help make this a relatable if somewhat extreme psychological chiller.

Call Me Mummy is an unexpectedly haunting book-beautifully written from every angle. An incredible debut from Tina Baker.

Tina Baker, the daughter of a window cleaner and fairground traveller, worked as a journalist and broadcaster for thirty years and is probably best known as a television critic for the BBC and GMTV. After so many hours watching soaps gave her a widescreen bum, she got off it and won Celebrity Fit Club. She now avoids writing-induced DVT by working as a Fitness Instructor.
Call Me Mummy is Tina’s first novel, inspired by her own unsuccessful attempts to become a mother. Despite the grief of that, she’s not stolen a child – so far. But she does rescue cats, whether they want to be rescued or not.

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jorobertson2015

I am a Norfolk girl living in leafy Cheshire with my grumpy Scotsman. A mum and nana who lives for my family but who is also addicted to reading (and Marmite!) I will read almost anything but my preferred genres to review are psychological thrillers, crime procedural novels or women's fiction. My kindle is my life but I also have a substantial bookshelf in my cosy reading room where I can go to escape the stresses of family life with plenty of tea and chocolate. I am a member of netgalley and bookbridg. I review on Amazon, where I'm a Top 500 reviewer, and Goodreads. You can always find me over on Twitter @jocatrobertson for any review requests.