Join Allison Pearson to talk about I THINK I LOVE YOU - our April Book of the Month - on Tuesday 19 April, 8-9pm

(67 Posts)

Our April Book of the Month will have you swooning, mooning and kissing your pillow for practice. I THINK I LOVE YOU by Allison Pearson (author of the seminal bestseller I DON'T KNOW HOW SHE DOES IT) is a homage to the teenage crush, and the maelstrom of adolescent emotion that goes with it. Witty, observant and moving, this beautifully nostalgic novel also explores female friendship and the mother/daughter relationship. Whether you dreamt of being Mrs Cassidy, Mrs Le Bon or Mrs Adam Ant, it's a book that'll keep you smiling all day.

You can find out more about the book here.

We are delighted that Allison will be joining us on Tuesday 19 April, 8-9 pm, for the bookclub discussion - look forward to seeing you all there...

sakura Thu 24-Mar-11 05:11:00

I thought I don't know How She Does It was absolutely brilliant, so I'm sure I think I LOve You is just as good smile

AlmaMartyr Thu 24-Mar-11 07:31:01

Do you mean that Vintage are offering 50 copies of 'I Think I Love You' rather than 'The Slap'?

Sounds like a good read

NancyMumsnet (MNHQ) Thu 24-Mar-11 09:22:30

Oops - yes it is 50 copies of 'I Think I Love You'! We've fixed that mistake now

GeraldineMumsnet (MNHQ) Thu 24-Mar-11 09:29:55
gramercy Thu 24-Mar-11 13:45:46

My first crush...

I bought a copy of FAB 208 at a service station on a school trip to Coventry Cathedral, because there was a David Cassidy poster in it. I was only 9 !! Other highlights of the trip were Nicola Miller being sick on the coach.

Greenshadow Thu 24-Mar-11 14:16:14

Was more of a Donny Osmond than David Cassidy fan, but am looking forward to the book bringing back lots of memories.

GeraldineMumsnet (MNHQ) Thu 24-Mar-11 14:23:47

Yowzer, that was quick! All 50 copies have been snapped up. So congrats if you're one of the lucky ones, and commiserations if you're not. But please beg, borrow or buy a copy and join Allison on the 19th.

MrsKwazii Thu 24-Mar-11 17:32:11

Oooh, managed to find a hardback copy of this in my charity shop today for one whole pound! Looking forward to reading it and getting into another great chat grin

Sister to Mrs Le Bon and Mrs Michael (they wished!)

CointreauVersial Thu 24-Mar-11 19:34:18

I picked this up in the library a couple of months back - a really good read, gets the thumbs up from me.

She was interviewed on the radio by Simon Mayo; DH listened with half an ear, not making the connection til afterwards that it was the author of the very book I'd been raving about all week. Annoyed I missed it!

Wheelybug Thu 24-Mar-11 20:40:24

Just received this through the post (bought with Waterstones loyalty points) but just realised I'm away for the chat. Oh well...

YottyTotty Fri 25-Mar-11 12:32:44

I loved IDKHSDI, but I've just seen that it's being made into a movie in the US, starring Sarah Jessica Parker.

In my head that's all wrong, it's such a London-centric story and 'English' relationship, what does Alison feel about that?

rookiemater Fri 25-Mar-11 16:59:43

I can't bring myself to read it, "I don't know how she does it" is my favourite book and I don't really fancy the plot of "I think I love you". So I'm afraid my question is about the former blush. Does Allison feel that choices and options for women have moved on since she wrote it?

80sMum Sat 26-Mar-11 18:29:26

I'm reading "I think I love You" at the moment. Will be interesting to hear what others think.

CarmenSales Mon 28-Mar-11 10:06:44

Yes!

Greenshadow Wed 06-Apr-11 14:11:54

Free book arrived here today - thanks very much Mumsnet and Vintage Books.

Perfect timing as I finished my last book last night.

gramercy Thu 07-Apr-11 09:19:22

My book arrived today - thanks so much!

In fact whilst clearing out the garage at the weekend I found "Daydreamer" (double A side with The Puppy Song) which was the first single I bought. Ah, the breathy voice...

Galaxymum Thu 07-Apr-11 09:27:11

I was so excited yesterday when my free book arrived. Thank you very much! Really enjoying it so far - it feels all too familiar! Very funny but also very poignant.

LawrieMarlow Fri 08-Apr-11 21:38:40

I found this in a charity shop yesterday so got it

rattie77 Mon 11-Apr-11 22:14:31

Just finished reading i think I love you - and have to say it was brilliant. Alison really captured what it was like to be a teenage girl in the 70's and the memories came flooding back. It even sparked the old brain cells into remembering things I had long forgotten such as Linco Beer shampoo and Anne French Cleansing Milk. A really great read - recommended.

ExitPursuedByALamb Tue 12-Apr-11 16:42:02

Not read her books but I do read Alison's column in The DT so will add them to my list of books to read.

Did anyone see David Cassidy on the One Show last night? He seems to have lost the plot completely.

I'm so enjoying going to bed with this book every night, it's replaced the hot water bottle as my favourite accessory.

It's time to start collecting advance questions so if you've a burning request or you can't make it on the night, please pop your questions here now...

bringmesunshine2009 Thu 14-Apr-11 16:46:04

"I don't know how she does it" is one of my favourite books. I downloaded "I think I love you" with interest. I liked the writing style, but have to say I coulsn't relate to the book enough to get a lot of enjoyment out of it.

SpringHeeledJack Thu 14-Apr-11 21:41:45

Hi Allison, I'm far too young to relate to the subject matter of ITILY <coughbyabouttwoyearscough> but I read IDNHSDI at least once a year when racked with insomnia

It has left such an impression on me (as a lazy cow) that my sister and I are thinking of making companion volumes- mine provisionally titled "I Don't Know What She Does All Day" and my sister's "I Don't Know What We Pay Her For"

smile

gailforce1 Fri 15-Apr-11 13:45:15

Is anyone else struggling to get into this book club choice? I am a few pages into chapter 6 and I am just not inspired. Can't work out why not? I am normally an avid reader and have enjoyed Room and The Slap although disappointed with Trespass.

AllisonPearson Sat 16-Apr-11 13:29:04

Dear Yotty Totty, I can see why you think movie of I Don't Know How She Does It should be set in its native England, but I feel the story is so universal it works equally well in the States. You get about one day's maternity leave over there...
I went to the set in NYC and met Sarah Jessica Parker, who is playing Kate. I'm glad that she's in the right age bracket to play a harassed mum and I'm glad she has three young kids of her own so she knows something about trying to go to work after a broken night. She said, even though she was a "privileged" mum she loved the book and wanted to do it justice for all the mums out there.
More chat on Tuesday night.

ExpatAgain Sun 17-Apr-11 11:05:12

what can beat the M&S mince-pie beating episode in the dead of the night to make them look home-made?! So loved and related to IDKHSDI, almost daren't read the nothers for fear of disappointment!

80sMum Sun 17-Apr-11 16:22:08

I very much enjoyed "I think I love you." It took me right back to 1972 and how it felt to be an awkward teenager, scared of real boys and 'in love' with pretend ones. The author captures very well the dynamics of a group of 1970s teenage girls; the bitchiness; the strict pecking order; the desperation to be included etc. Very good job, Alison!

A quick reminder to put any advance questions here - don't forget that you can ask Allison about previous books, the career of a writer, anything you fancy. So even if you haven't finished/read I THINK I LOVE YOU, feel free to pitch in...

gazzalw Mon 18-Apr-11 08:47:42

Think this is very amusing as I have a DD (5) who is already obsessed with Justin Bieber and it really makes me think of girls having crushes on David Cassidy, Bay City Rollers, Osmonds etc.... all those years ago!
Sadly DW didn't get a copy but will have to get her one - she very much enjoyed "I Don't Know How She Does It!" - particularly the mince pies cheat!

MrsKwazii Mon 18-Apr-11 10:56:34

I watched my sisters be totally obsessed with Duran Duran and Wham, I used to love defacing George Michael, especially calendars. Am suprised my sisters didn't kill me TBH grin

I have to admit that teenybop crushes passed me by, possibly due to seeing how silly my sisters were about it, but I could totally relate to the book's depiction of teenage girls and how fraught relationships between them can be. I also laughed out loud at Gillian's 'legendary bedroom' as I'm sure that everyone knew of someone who seemed to be living the teenage dream while the rest of us made do with our Mum's idea of what a teenage girl should have.

I enjoyed the teenage/David Cassidy magazine sections, I found the older year parts a little formulaic though.

Anyway, my question for Alison is: How much of the teenage sections are autobiographical? And, if you did draw on your own experiences, is there anything there that really made you wince as you recalled it?

Adair Mon 18-Apr-11 12:37:39

I too have read IDKHSDI a hundred times. First (possibly?) pre-kids or while I had one, now have three kids and each time I find something new that chimes. I consider the mum in the book a 'privileged mum' tbh. I also find so much of what she does a bit 'silly' (the mince pies) as it doesn't fit with my normal, non-aspirational life I guess.

Anyway, agree am finding this one hard to read. Possibly too young for all the references. They feel a bit self-conscious to me, though I might not think that if it was Chesney Hawkes/NKOTB and Space Raiders. Not sure. Also find the main character a bit too self-deprecating. Feels a bit done-before. Didn't Tony Parsons write a book that was similar to the Bill character too?
Er... no questions yet! Will finish by tomorrow hopefully...

Oh, I know. You mention 'stroking the bridge of his nose so his eyes shut like a roller-blind' (I paraphrase). It works and is a brilliant tip THANK YOU. Any other genius sleep tips?!

Haven't read the new book but have just this minute finished IDKHSDI for the first time and thought it was great. I don't know ifbit is just that I identified with it or whether it was the great writing, but every time I put the book down I felt a little bit stressed and was thinking 'what have I got to do next?!' a la Kate Reddy!

Although on maternity leave with no.2 I'm technically a working mum, albeit in a family friendly part time public sector job. However, even with that and a very egalitarian husband I still find my head swimming with all the things I have to do, order Internet groceries; get something out of the freezer for tea; or else construct a tea out of pasta, eggs, half a tub of creme fraiche and a courgette; fill in census (it was 3 weeks late); change address on driving licence (moved 9 months ago -going to get a fine if caught!); put the washing on the line (it's been in the machine for two days and is going to need doing again); get some shoes for dd1 so she doesn't live in wellies.... You get the picture. What would be your best recommendation to stay on top of it? Or is that the Holy Grail?

gazzalw Tue 19-Apr-11 09:55:44

Hi Allison
"I Don't Know How She Does It" so much epitomises the dilemma women have with work/life balance. This juggling act which women so competently (but often to their own detriment) manage, twixt family and highly dynamic careers. Do you really think women can have it all or should strive to do so? We are increasingly coming to understand that being an uber-Mummy is just not feasible but what are the alternatives....?

Adair Tue 19-Apr-11 10:30:20

Hey, read more today and am getting into it! Will post more later if i get a chance. Like that the protagonist is standing up for herself a bit and all the cello stuff is really nice to read... eg 'I think i love you.'

champagnesupernova Tue 19-Apr-11 17:52:14

ooh what was sjp like?

matekiddleton Tue 19-Apr-11 18:21:05

Allison, I haven't read your new book yet, but I would like to thank you for the bit about 'Toddler Taming' and how well it works with male bosses. I thank you. (from 'Idkhsdi') smile

matekiddleton Tue 19-Apr-11 18:24:00

And if recent photographs of you are current, I think you look lovely. Never got SJP, except that she married Ferris. Couldn't you play yourself?

OliviaMumsnet (MNHQ) Tue 19-Apr-11 19:33:32

Hello Allison
Am annoyed as have to go out tonight and am in haste as obv running late
I'm on mat leave but still RUSHING rushing rushing!!(must remember etc)

Just wanted to say I loved both the books that I've read recently - ITILY and IDKHSDI.

Really enjoyed the Cassidy parts and so many trusims in there- loved the feeling (Don't know if the cellist part is autobiographical but you should watch this sketch about Pachelbel if so)

How do you remember everything?
Any tips you'd like to share with a flustered mum of 2? (still getting used to the 2 part even though he's 5 months old!!)

Thanks

AllisonPearson Tue 19-Apr-11 19:46:36

OK, I am trying this out, aided by my technical assistant. Welcome Evie, 15-year-old daughter. Well, there has to be SOME payback for giving birth to them...
In reply to rookiemater, do I think conditions for women have improved in the 10 years since I Don't Know How She Does It came out? Good question!, says Evie.
I think quite a lot has changed, though much remains to do. It is easier to mention you are a mum - or dad - who has responsibilities for kids and/or elderly relatives. This is no longer the love that dare not speak its name, unless you're in Mergers and Acquisitions.
I think the Blair government did a lot to entrench better maternity rights, which there is no rowing back from. The idea of "work-life balance" has entered the national conversation, with even political leaders paying at least lip service to the idea of trying to be there for wife/kids. I interviewed David Cameron today and he told me he bathed Florence last night. No PM of any previous generation would have thought that assertion was a vote winner, let alone done it! I don't know if Dave threw baby out with the bathwater, but at least he tries..
HOWEVER, we are stuck with the basic template. Women have babies, babies need mothers. A lot of work/professions still think mother is a creature "lacking commitment". The revolution in working promised by new technology has not materialised. Bloody ridiculous in my view, since it is possible to respond to email from school drop-off and also very possible to work at night after the small persons are in bed, or even to take part in chats on mumsnet!
The really sticky problem is on and off ramps. I know so many women of such great skills and character who can't get back onto the career ladder because - god forbid - they have invested some time raising the next generation. Fab organisation called Women Like Us can help there.
Sorry, this is a book not a message. GREAT QUESTION, rookiemater!

AllisonPearson Tue 19-Apr-11 19:57:21

Mrs Kwazii, how much of the teenage sections are autobiographical? Well, I was once a 13-year-old girl like Petra. In 1974. Every friend I have said, "I wouldn't go back to being a 13-year-old girl for a million pounds." That really intrigued me. PLus I had a 13-year-old girl of my own, to whom I was trying NOt to say, "YOu're not going out looking like that." And failing. Mothers are genetically programmed to criticise their daughters. Well, that's my excuse.
I had a Gillian Queen Be ein my life, but she wasn't called Gillian. She had that perfect bedroom with a PHONE and white pile carpet. And she used plain little speccy me as a sounding board for her boyfriend dilemmas. Like Petra, I was just a bit player in Gillian's dramas. And I did, dear God, empty my piggy bank to buy her a Mary Quant eyeshadow palette for her birthday so she would pick me as her best friend. And she did - ouch, the memory still hurts - give that gift to one of the other girls in our group. I found out one day in the girls' loos.
As a writer, I think that if you locate the things that made you wince - the memories almost too painful to own up to - and write them down, then you have the potential to make a powerful connection with your reader. That was certainly true of IDKHSDI. When I write that Kate took a long time brushing her teteh to avoid having sex with her husabdn so she could skip a shower in the morning and earn herself an extra 10 minutes sleep. That, alas, was me. But I do make some stuff up. Though mainly I magpie like mad from my girlfriends. Authors are all appalling PARASITES!

Evening everyone

We've been checking Allison's messaging and all is working ok, so without further ado...

I'm very excited and honoured to introduce Allison Pearson as tonight's Author of the Month. I DON'T KNOW HOW SHE DOES IT has become a sort of talisman in my house - I think of it every time I find myself cracking an egg one-handed into a cake mix with two small, flour-covered 'helpers', whilst burping a baby and attempting to reply professionally to emails. And I THINK I LOVE YOU has reminded me that, despite the chaotic motherhood, maybe I don't want to go back to being young, free and smothered in pearlescent pink eyeshadow again.

Allison, firstly, congratulations on two fantastic, funny books. And thank you very much for taking the time to talk to us tonight. There are a few advance questions from earlier on that we could kick off with, and I'd also like to add my own:

What childhood book most inspired you?

And what advice would you give anyone attempting to write fiction?

AllisonPearson Tue 19-Apr-11 20:03:05

OK, Adair, stroking bridge of baby's nose is my best sleep tip. Don't get into any fussy Baby Must Sleep in Cot, Pointing Towards Mecca, Gina Ford crap. Baby must sleep wherever you are. In buggy, in car. I remember driving around for hours with mine. In fact, some enterprising person should set up a baby sleep-chauffeur service?
When they're tiny, wrap them tight and wedge into Moses basket between rolled-up towels like a hotdog. God, this makes me so nostalgic. Mine is now so teenage she sleeps till 2pm at weekends and I long for her to WAKE UP. Just know that that sleep deprivation phase won't last for long. You get your memory back by the time you're 48, just in time for the menopause to take it away...

Greenshadow Tue 19-Apr-11 20:09:50

Hello Allison,

I was one of those lucky enough to receive a free copy, courtesy of your publishers.
I was born in 1961, so would be the same age as Petra, but was more of a Donny fan than a David one. (My sister had his posters on our shared bedroom wall though, so will pass the book on to her next).

At first I was disappointed when the story went from the 1970s to the 90s as I wanted more links back to my teenage self, but soon forgot that and felt that it was right that it told her story as an adult (albeit with a rather predictable outcome).
Was it always going to be a story in two halves or was the original intention just to write about a 13 year olds life?

AllisonPearson Tue 19-Apr-11 20:10:57

Thank you TillyBookClub for those kind words. I didn't have many books in my house as a child. In fact, I didn't read all the middle-class classics until I did teacher training. I loved a scary book called Marianne Dreams, about a girl who is ill in bed for a long time and starts to live in a frightening drawing. I still remember the goosebumps it gave me.
Advice on writing is the only way to improve is to sit on your backside and start typing. Arse on chair, there's no substitute for that. And reading. Raed and read the writers you like, steep yourself in their words like a teabag. Gradually, you pick up the rhythms and the structure. I still feel like I'm learning. In I Think I Love You, I gave Bill a daughter, but I took her out because I couldn't handle any extra complexity. I'm some way off Anna Karenina at this point, but I think I'm improving..

Did the teacher training give you particular insights into raising children, do you think? And what made you swap teaching for journalism/writing?

AllisonPearson Tue 19-Apr-11 20:16:02

Hello Greenshadow,

I will forgive you for being a Donny fan.. I always wanted the book to be in two parts. I wanted the woman in her 30s to be looking back at her teenage self, when she has a teenager of her own. That teen infatuation is so strong and potent from generation to generation. The great dress rehearsal for love - it's primitive and quite scary, the oestrogen revving up in the young female. I wanted older Petra to reflect on the illusions about love her younger self had and how - maybe - they had affected her older self's view of relationships.
I also wanted to try and write a perfect romantic comedy, with a hook that took a woman back in time to be almost able to stand over her younger self. I'm just writing the stage musical of the book and I have the older and younger Petra actually singing to each other. I find that idea very moving.. Can it be that it was all so simple then/ Or has time rewritten every line. In the immortal words of Gladys Knight and the Pips.. The Way We Were..

TuttiFrutti Tue 19-Apr-11 20:23:06

What are you working on next? Your books so far seem quite different from each other - will the next one be still more different?

AllisonPearson Tue 19-Apr-11 20:24:39

Hi to all asking Can Women Have It All? The perennial problem. Not too many men being asked that question, I notice. GLoria Steinem said no man has ever been asked how he is going to combine a career with fatherhood..
From the thousands and thousands of glorious stories and confidences that IDKHSDI produced, I have deduced a little wisdom. There is no one answer that fits all. Staying home with a small baby terrifies some women, leaving home with a small baby in it distresses others. Know Thyself. Once you know what feels right try to act on it. No point being a feminist martyr if you're in a job incompatible with parenting. The sacrifice I made was to leave the office and colleagues that I loved, work from home, go up two dress sizes and live in Sweaty Betty. Oh, the glamour!
Personally, I think a four-day week, if you do go back, is a minimum requirement for sanity if you can swing it. You can get your boring tasks done on the Friday, maybe take darling child to a music or swimming class, so you have a toe in the mummy world. Then the weekend is pretty free just to hang out and BE. Took me a long time to learn that the kids don't need to DO much. Just being around you, curling up on the sofa and watching Beauty and the Beast (the BEST Disney film, certainly in feminist terms)
Also, do not forget the male person with whom you made the babies in the first place. We ended up having a babysitter Sunday nights and heading out from the weekend detritus to a movie. It was lovely, even if I fell asleep through most of the films of the 1990s.

'I think the Blair government did a lot to entrench better maternity rights, which there is no rowing back from.'

Do you really think that is true? When the Conservatives are considering exempting small business from certain employee laws including Maternity Leave? And cuts are being made to child-centric benefits?

AllisonPearson Tue 19-Apr-11 20:34:36

Thanks Olivia. I don't play cello, but I sat at the feet of the great young cellist Natalie Clein, who looks suspiciously like my heroine, to learn all about that beautiful instrument. Sometimes, you think you've made someone up and then - there they are in the real world.
Tips? Well, I don't remember everything. Kate's neverending To Do list is partly a parody, but all too true. When I was going away on work once, I handed my OH a list of all the things to do in my absence. he said plaintively: "But it looks like a plan for invading a small country."
Quite right. All mothers run the small country called home. It's one hell of a job, particularly when the First Law of Motherhood is the note about School Viking Day will only ever be found in the PE bag at 9.47pm on Sunday night. And don't get me started on costumes for World Book Day, which I swear comes around every 8 weeks.
I'm afraid, to some extent, you have to go with the flow and the chaos. If you have a five-month-old baby, just getting dressed and feeding everyone is brilliant. Don't hold yourself to your pre-baby standards. Listen to your body - and to your heart. They will tell you when the balance has gone too much one way or the other. And guilt is to motherhood what rain is to Swansea. It's just the prevailing climate so buy a bloody good umbrella and get used to it.
FINALLY, you are the only mum your kids have. They have no point of comparison, ergo you're wonderful. Their love for you is inextinguishable and will survive any kind of crap childcare - although mine now tease me about some of our worst experiences! Be honest with them. Tell them, Mummy's been tired and cross and I'm sorry. Mine know that I work to pay for certain things which we otherwise couldn't have - like a house!

AllisonPearson Tue 19-Apr-11 20:42:40

Dear Bumperlicioso,
Yes I do think that New Labour changed the climate over maternity rights and that the main parties are signed up to them. The deal now is far superior to when I had my kids. There is always going to be an issue in smaller businesses if several women are off at the same time.I do a lot of campaigning about this within firms and it's amazing what can be achieved if a precedent is set.
One lawyer I met adopted a child and the condition of adoption was she could not work full time, so her firm made her their first part-time partner. It worked really well and now others have done the same - even to look after elderly relatives as well as kids.

Adair Tue 19-Apr-11 20:46:20

Agree re sleep - i take it where i can. Ds is dc3 and will be asleep on me while i doze tonight... reassuring to see working mum promote non-GF too (shamelessly stereotyping). Was hoping for another magic trick though grin

I think a lot of women (men?) have this enormous list in head thing even without kids. I know I did.

Question: what has been your most 'pinch-yourself' moment about actually becoming a famous novelist? Apart from meeting sjp of course...

The bit I was questioning was the 'no rowing back' from these rights. It scares me some of the anti women legislation being proposed, both here and abroad (some really fecked up bills being proposed in the US re: abortion). It scares me the some of the people we have in power seem like they have been handed the world to them on a plate, never had to fight for anything, which is why they are so far removed from the POV of women.

Apologies for derailing the talk with political crap!

AllisonPearson Tue 19-Apr-11 20:48:34

Rattie77 I'm so glad you liked it. It was really interesting trying to recreate that teen world of believing every word we read in the magazines. Egg white on the face, lemon on the hair for highlights, Anne French Deep Cleansing Milk (the sophistication!)
Actually, when I went back to the mags of the era I was stunned by how they seemed almost designed to make girls feel as neurotic as possible. Identify Your Weak Points. Are You A Wallflower? It made me think how there's this whole culture of making you scared you look terrible when, in fact, you'll never look better. Why didn't we walk round with a banner saying, I Have a 24-inch waist?
And why do women do that to themselves. I actually make myself tell my daughter she looks lovely. Not something my mother felt she could do for me.. I think today women feel more able to be more praising mothers and more able to take pleasure in their girls' youth and beauty. Anyone agree?

I think that the masses of parenting books from people who have never had children, and celebrities who have children plus an entourage, make it easy to think you are doing everything wrong and in fact there is a secret magic formula that you will find out if you read 'The Baby Charmer' or 'Gurning celebrity famous only for reality show's guide to bringing up your children with only a million pounds and 2 nannies'. IDKHSDI is a nice antidote to that, and also to the yummy mummy chick lit which has become popular.

Sorry, I'm sure you want to talk about your new book, I haven't read it, am more of a 90's teen brat myself!

MrsKwazii Tue 19-Apr-11 20:56:02

Thanks for answering my question Alison. The eyeshadow and the way it was used between the three girls to say so much really stood out for me, so not suprised it is based on your own experience.

If you have the time, another sneaky one, did you used to kiss your DC posters? grin

Adair Tue 19-Apr-11 20:56:35

Yes, i agree. Just sworn at Special K ad 'women don't just wake up looking fabulous' - gah.

But it happens a lot on here and is, dare i say it - a British fear - celebrating your achievement is seen as doing other's down and boasting (my child said four words today/My child drew a gorgeous unicorn/My child shared her biscuit without asking). I would like to have a culture where we are proud and amazed about all the different things children do and say and be and think.

MrsKwazii Tue 19-Apr-11 20:57:27

Obviously that should have been, did you use to kiss your DC posters? blush

I used to love defacing my sisters' George Michael pin-ups from Smash Hits grin

I'm interested in what you say about mothers and daughters (I've got 3 boys but was one of 3 sisters growing up). My mum always told us we were beautiful, but it was obvious that good exam results were what really made her happy.

Was your relationship with your mum a bit more like Petra's?

AllisonPearson Tue 19-Apr-11 20:59:41

OK, a few answers. I gave up teaching because I was too young to handle the kids. First question on first day: "What's yer favourite flavour condom, Miss?"
I should have said Chicken Tikka Masala. Alas, I didn't know they came in flavours.. Now I have actually had kids myself I'd be able to handle it better.
I spent my twenties in a series of different jobs - sold advertising space, worked in mental hospital (excellent preparation for having a toddler), PR. Didn't get into journalism till my late twenties and didn't see a word of mine in print till I was 32. That first picture caption - all 52 carefully crafted words of it - was such a thrill.
WHat will my next book be about? At the moment, I have NO PLANS to ever write another novel. I find the whole process shattering. And the kids hate it. It's like I'm upstairs creating a rival sibling, which in a way I am. I am very slow and trying to bring together themes, characters, imagery is like docking a spaceship!
One plan I have is, with my wonderful American friend, Sharon, to produce a factual book - I Do Know How She Does It - which shares some of the insane, hilarious and heartbreaking stories that readers have sent in or come up to me with. I do feel that there is a kind of communal wisdom and Sharon and I email back and forth across the Atlantic the whole time, so I thought that just a conversation between two friends with great jokes and cartoons might be something people might like?
In my craziest moments, Ive thought about writing sequel to I Don't Know How .. because poor Kate has got teenagers by now and I'd like to see how she's doing.. But I need a volunteer to write the bloody thing!!

Adair Tue 19-Apr-11 21:06:09

Right, I am off to finish ITILY as I really got into it this morning, up to concert bit and want to find out what happens next (not a suck-up, honest blush)

PS re-read your answer to my question, I look at this nearly-three-month baby and long for another but do look forward to the teenage years of SLEEP. THANK YOU! grin

AllisonPearson Tue 19-Apr-11 21:07:36

I never kissed my David Cassidy posters, but I did kiss him on the black and white TV. It made a kind of fuzzy/buzzy sensation...
Not sure who asked, but the highlight of the whole writing career.. Well, I was in New York promoting I Don't Know How and I was on the Today show with Katie Couric, herself a working mum and almost hysterically glad to discuss the book. After I'd done the show, I walked down Madison Avenue and went into an internet cafe where I checked Amazon. The book was Number One. I was so excited I pointed it out to my neighbour who, being American, went wild and told the whole cafe. The proprietor bought everyone coffee and bagels and toasted my success. I remember telling myself, Take a picture of this moment for your memory for it shall not come again.
To be honest, what gives me the biggest kick is readers coming up and sharing their stories. I've had so many lovely and hilarious conversations about I Think I Love You. People say, "It's like you had a camera inside my head" and THAT is my drug of choice. The proof that trying to render experience as faithfully as I can has worked. Some of Evie's friends have read the book and it's really great to see teenage girls recognising all the bitching and cruelty they put themselves through. The scars last a lifetikme. I'd love the book to be taught in schools to open up discussion about the way girls bitch to bond.. Boys just don't care that much..

AllisonPearson Tue 19-Apr-11 21:11:25

Oh, Tilly,
I should say the disapproving German mother in the book is definitely not my mum. Much more my authoritarian and impossible to please dad. What's weird when you write is that particular feelings you've had get into the novel but they don't always attach themselves to the relevant character they belonged to in real life.
I suppose the mother in IDKHSDI is more like my mum.
Did I mention that the screenwriter has created a friend for Kate in the movie called ALLISON who is being played by Christina "Mad Men" Hendricks. I am humbled to be thus immortalised! Movie is out in US on 16 September.I've heard the first clips are really good and funny. Fingers crossed

AllisonPearson Tue 19-Apr-11 21:21:07

Adair, I agree about needing a culture in which it's OK to celebrate amazing things about your child. I really love looking at other people's baby photos so I may be untypical in this regard!
Also, I don't think that it's boasting. Even hearing one of you mention your baby lying on you takes me back to that miraculous heft of them, tucked onto your chest. I don't kniw why we have to be cynical when these things arouse our most tender feelings.
My daughter is hugely musical - perfect pitch, listens to a tune on the radio, walks over to the piano and plays it. That gift has NOTHING to do with me. I can't claim any credit for it. am honoured merely to be the humble womb in which it came to be.. Mind you. I do wish she'd consider reading a book like her mother!
btw, it's also OK to share more ambivalent feelings. Lately, Daughter has had me in tears a few times by saying such nasty things. I prefer to see her as being demonically possessed. Not such a great idea to have me on the menopause while she's in puberty... like a pair of poltergeists!

Allison, thank you so much for all your excellent answers - I've been writing some of your lines down so that I can repeat them to myself when banging my head against the fridge door.

I do hope you do write another book - meanwhile, I'll make sure I see the film. I'm a Mad Men addict so will find it deeply strange if movie Allison isn't wearing pointy-boobed dress and carrying a folder...

Many thanks again, it's been wonderful to talk to you.

elkiedee Thu 21-Apr-11 12:56:07

Some very interesting answers there, wish I'd posted a question beforehand, as I can't do 8 pm chats - I'm usually settling toddler to sleep on our bed (he climbs out of the cot if put in there awake) or running round putting a wash on and snatch a few minutes reading/internet before doing so at that time (dp kindly does bath and storytime), I admit I've never wanted to read I Don't Know How She Does It in the past but I think I might have to read it now. I did quite enjoy I Think I Love You

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