Friday 6 November 2015

Reviewed: Mothers Ruined by Aimee Horton

Mothers Ruined was published by Velvet Morning Press on October 9, 2015.

Is there a Dottie Harris fanclub? Because I really want to join it! Mothers Ruined is the latest (standalone) instalment of Dottie Harris’ car-crash life of parenting, excessive gin drinking and crazy, bitchy neighbours. Let me tell you that it is a brilliant read. Relentlessly funny, honest and relatable, there was a not a moment I didn’t enjoy or didn’t find myself laughing or shouting at the characters. Shortly after Dottie and her husband Henry move into their new home, Dottie gives birth, only to a baby boy and not the girl they were expecting. Adjusting to a life now with three kids and new, not entirely welcoming, neighbours is not as easy as Dottie would hope and she soon becomes lonely. But then one day she discovers how she can use her baby monitor to overhear her neighbours (and not just their conversations) – could she use it to her own gain?

I found it really endearing how a big aspect to this book is about Dottie and how she is lonely and yet as the reader, all I wanted to do was befriend her! I love Dottie and how forthright she is, how she doesn’t hide or shy away from talking about every little aspect of parenthood, not just the rare moments where they’re asleep, settled and no trouble at all. But at the same time, as she jokes and moans about her kids, you can tell that really she is so suited to being a mum. Even though I’m not a mother, I still found myself nodding in agreement with most of the things she said, not to mention giggling away at every page.

Once Dottie eavesdrops on her neighbours for the first time, she’s addicted. She just can’t stop, even though at times it feels like she’s torturing herself and stumbling upon things she really doesn’t want to hear. But my heart went out to her because really she just wanted to be friends with them – part of their coffee mornings and gossips. When the baby monitor begins to show all her neighbours’ true colours, I was desperate to know how it would all work out and whether Dottie would get even further involved or come out looking like the bigger person.

There was nothing for me to not love about Mothers Ruined. The humour was sharp, quick and jaw-achingly good at times. The characters were so well defined, not just Dottie but the supporting characters too. I loved Henry, who was the calmer head in the relationship though he was away a lot, so you could see why he was driven a little less mental than Dottie. Her friendship with Jane was great fun to read, especially the more drunk they were, and in those alcohol fuelled decisions to do a bit of online shopping. Every moment in this book was just spot on and I liked how it never tried to portray people as perfect – the mothers in this book were simply normal people juggling children on top of everything else. Just trying their hardest to get through the day as unscathed as possible.

The whole reading experience of Mothers Ruined was made so much better for me because it felt like Dottie was relaying every single moment to me. The biggest, probably backhanded, compliment I can pay Aimee Horton is that this book doesn’t feel like her writing telling us about Dottie’s life. Dottie takes out the author altogether. In fact, she is the author, keeping us up-to-date on her hectic, stressful and completely hilarious day to day life. That’s all credit to Aimee’s characterisation because Dottie is fantastic – so real and full of life, her honesty extremely refreshing and feeling like I knew Dottie as well as I did, I could only get behind her story and root for her all the way. I’m sure a lot of Dottie’s character has come through Aimee, through the things the author experiences in her own life (like how to pick up other people’s baby monitors…). Mothers Ruined is the perfect example of why you should write what you know – because it makes for a bloody good book.

Hilariously honest - I loved it!


  1. Really good review and sounds just up my street. What a fun book to read.

    1. Thanks Kelly - hope you'll enjoy it if you get to it!


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