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‘Time Out' is a humorous, clever and realistic insight into motherhood. Anyone who has put aside a profession to become a full-time parent can relate - from feeling alone and inadequate to being inundated with opinions; from feeling so in love with your baby (ies) to bargaining with them for a moments peace; and then there’s the inevitable change in your relationship with your partner. All this and more are addressed honestly and expertly (warts and all) by author, Emma Murray in this book of fiction. Brilliant characterisation, btw. PS The ankle drag depicted on the cover was how I often moved about the house with my needy 15 mth old while I was very pregnant with no. 2. 🤣
I wish I had read this book more than 30 years ago. I’m fact, no: I wish I had had the courage and skills to write a book like this 30 years ago ! This lady is very brave and true to herself in this world we are living in. She is an amazing writer who knows exactly what it is like to be a mother struggling on her own even though she has a husband at home with her. In reality this is harder than being a single mother, as you would expect some help and support, but your husband is too busy and involved with work and other things to realise what you are going through. She also shows that this is not entirely his fault, as her sudden and unexpected rush of love for her child brings out such a protective instinct that she almost pushes him away. Even if you can see that this is what you are doing, without help it is impossible to get out of this cycle of destruction of a family. She turns to an online forum in desperation and loneliness, but She finds that other people she meets on there can be judgmental and dishonest about their own experiences. This makes her despair until she meets that one true friend. Who can cop in life without at least one true friend? We follow her life in London, as she prepares to become this new kind of writer about motherhood, and she travels back to Ireland for a two week break to pursue this dream by having time alone in a new place. Her descriptions of places and people are very vivid and i became engrossed in the story. I did like the way she describes children including her own. Even though she has such a deep love for her daughter, she shows the selfish side of a 4 year old who is not an easy child to cope with. She ends her book explaining that everyone should be kind to each other, after a scare about her husband’s life. She also leaves it open for the next book, which I look forward to very much. She has also given me the inspiration to try to write my own story, though maybe my family would never forgive me!
This is a thoroughly engrossing and very funny story but also very sharply observed and insightful! Essentially, Saoirse is struggling with her small daughter, her marriage is not going well and her career is at a potential turning point but the other pressures that surround her are leaving her with no time or energy to devote to her work. Cue a fortnight getaway to her native Ireland, where things get interesting; she finds friends, meets a potential love interest and the funny and moving plot thickens! The book is indeed laught-out-loud funny and I wish I'd had it around when dealing with the "breast feeding nazis" and the "organics" - judgemental mothers who are quick to slyly put other mothers down on social media and, indeed, outside nursery! It also addresses the more serious elements of having your first child, including feeling as though you are the only one that doesn't know what they are doing, crushing anxiety and the ways it can affect your marriage and your most solid friendships. However, what I enjoyed most about this book was the characters. Obviously, Saoirse herself and her headstrong daughter Anna, not to mention her husband David with his OCD. Her friends are also well drawn, particularly the seemingly-undauntable Bea. But for me the star of this book was the old fashioned Irish mother, who had developed an obsession with all things internet, from "the Twitter" to "the Ebay"! She made me laugh and cry! Although this is a book which covers many themes, for me, it was really about friendship, whether with your oldest friend, your newest mum friend, your husband or your mum!
I could not put this book down! I think I read it in two days, which is super rare for me. Emma is such a witty writer, I was chuckling from the first page and all the way through. Anyone that's in a Whatsapp group for the school Mums or has a challenging (but loveable) toddler will know exactly what I mean!
This book confronts new motherhood in busy London in a super authentic yet lighthearted way, and I found myself really willing Saoirse on to recognise her talents and just go for it. I also absolutely loved her friendship with best friend Bea and how it pretty much shouted from the rooftops that it takes a village to raise a child! This was a super warm and funny read and I would definitely recommend it.
Saoirse is currently failing. At everything. Or at least that’s the way it feels. Her work as a ghost-writer for business books has dried up, she’s constantly battling with her neat-freak husband, and being a mum to four-year-old Anna is the hardest job she’s ever had.
Oh my goodness, I could completely relate to the parenting challenges. When my daughter was young, I remember seeing social media posts from other mums who seemed to have sussed it all - from breastfeeding to making their own healthy food to playdates to radiating joy at how amazing motherhood was. I kept wondering what the heck I was doing so wrong and felt permanently inadequate. I therefore loved reading about a character who didn’t find any part of it easy either. I absolutely loved Emma Murray’s description of the Vale Mums – the Facebook and local community of mums who appeared to judge instead of support their fellow mums. Some of the Facebook exchanges and Saoirse’s reactions to these were absolutely hilarious. Working from home with no family and few friends in the areas, Saoirse’s loneliness compels her to keep checking the Facebook group even though every interaction makes her feel inadequate. I think that’s something many readers can relate to as well. It’s so easy to keep reaching out to a community, particularly an online one, to fill a gap in your life even though every interaction affects your self-esteem.
As the title suggests, Saoirse needs some time out. When her bestie, Bea, offers her the chance to stay in her mother’s holiday home in Ireland, Saoirse sees this as the perfect opportunity to get her head together, decide what she wants from the future and, ironically, work on a pitch for a book about motherhood.
This is a fabulous story of recognising that perfection doesn’t exist and we’re really all muddling through the best we can; even those who make out otherwise. Supported by a well-formed interesting cast of secondary characters, I loved Saoirse’s journey. She’s a completely relatable character who I rooted for throughout. Even though I’ve said the motherhood thread really resonated with me, I think readers will be just as engaged with this book even if they don’t have experience of small children in their lives. It’s witty, fun, beautifully-written and has a couple of surprises in there. Very highly recommended. Excited to see what comes next from Emma Murray.
I read Emma Murray’s debut novel, Time Out, in sixteen hours (and that counts seven hours of sleep when I had to tear myself away). While I was awake, I simply could not put it down. My children were largely left to their own devices, the bath water went cold last night, and I stayed in bed with a cup of tea to finish it this morning. Simply, it is unputdownable.
Funny, outrageous and supremely well written, Time Out is the story of Saoirse (pronounced Seersha not Searcy), who is asked to pitch a book on the real truth of motherhood. As a working from home mother of one, Saoirse is looking for the project that she can put her real name to, having been a ghostwriter for a number of years. The trouble is, she’s concerned that her own experiences of motherhood, which include running the gauntlet of the ‘Organics’, a posse of local mums on a social media group, keeping her four year old Anna sweet with a combination of sugar and iPad use and bonding with the equally sweary but loveable Bea over their respective parenting disasters, might be a little too ‘real’. Throw in a husband she adores but also wants to murder for his neat-freak tendencies, and Saoirse isn’t sure at all that she’s the right fit for this project.
We travel through Saoirse’s life as she tries to find a way to write the pitch for the book she’s not even sure she wants to write, and we’re literally up close and personal during her triumphs and disasters, told brilliantly in Emma Murray’s hilarious and confiding style. From London’s Wood Vale to County Wexford, we are encouraged to laugh, grimace and punch the air alongside her. Saoirse is irrepressible, honest, and very, very sweary, and she’s exactly who I needed to spend time with after ten weeks in lockdown with my own little ‘angels’. I started to laugh at the mention of ‘guilty pleasures’ and continued throughout this novel, which is interspersed with brutal, comical honesty and heart wrenching pathos. Fabulously Irish, brilliantly funny and completely addictive, this is a book that will lift you out of the doldrums, make you realise that even the most seemingly capable parents have their off days, and fill you with hope that it will all be OK in the end (Ryan Gosling lookalikes and Cheerios notwithstanding). Treat yourself, and pick up this book – you’ll have a ball. I can’t wait for the next one!
This isn't usually my kind of book, but a friend recommended it, so i thought i'd give it a try. I was captivated from page one. The style is easy and friendly and you can't help but just keep turning the pages. I 'recognised' some of the characters and could empathise with the Saorise's feelings and frustrations. All in all it was very 'real' - and that's what made it so readable and so engaging. There were times when i laughed out loud, and certainly a lot of the time i had that knowing grin on my face as I read. Definitely recommeneded. A great, light, fun read.
This is a genuinely hilarious and heartwarming read. From the first page, I was absolutely hooked! The protagonist is so real and likable - any new mother can relate to her completely. My sisters have both recently had children and I will definitely be recommending this book to them. I am certain that it's a beautiful way to make a new mum feel less alone in her highs and lows. It expands on many of the challenges women and mothers face in the modern world - such as Facebook trolls peddling organic food to slightly absent husbands consumed by their jobs and lives outside the home. Female friendship was my favorite theme in the book - Saoirse's best pal Bea emerges as a power-house and reminds us all to really value the loyal and loving forces in our own lives. In terms of creativity and beautiful descriptions - this book is overflowing. We really get a sense of Saoirse's life both in London and when away in Ireland - I feel like I was there with her. Lest we forget, the force of humor, light, and a few tantrums - daughter Anna. She is sweet and charming, yet also very realistic and at times difficult. I think many mums relate to Saoirse's uncompromising love for her child, yet moments of dislike for her behavior.
Overall, I would definitely recommend this book - it is nuanced, light-hearted, and charming. Plus, it delicately and beautifully sheds light on the realities of motherhood in the 21st century....GREAT READ!