Book of the Month: The Awkward Age
Francesca Segal's latest offering is a witty and observational novel about love, parenting and contemporary life as a blended family
About the book
When Julia, a widowed music teacher falls in love with James, a divorced obstetrician, she sees the opportunity for a new start and happiness in her later life. The only obstacle is that Julia’s daughter Gwen loathes James and even more so his son Nathan, who in return takes great pleasure in antagonising his new stepsister. Determined to not allow their offspring to ruin their relationship, Julia invites James and Nathan to move into the family home in North London. But will living together allow the warring families to smooth over their differences and co-exist in harmony?
The Awkward Age is a fascinating look at the contemporary blended family and at the question: to what extent should parents pursue the happiness of their children above their own? Indeed, Francesca Segal's first novel, The Innocents, was a compelling insight into the impact that community and relatives can have on relationships (and also a Mumsnet Book of the Month in 2013). Her lastest novel once again delves into the complexities of family life, and her skillful depiction of conflicts through the perspectives of different characters demonstrates that there really never is a straightforward right or wrong in family dilemmas.
About the author
Francesca Segal is an award-winning writer and journalist. Her first novel, The Innocents, won a whole slew of awards – including the Costa First Novel Award, the 2012 National Jewish Book Award for Fiction, as well as a spot on the Baileys Women’s Prize for Fiction longlist. She lives in London with her family.
Francesca says: “I can't tell you how delighted I am that The Awkward Age is the Mumsnet book club selection. Mumsnet has been an online home from home, while I was pregnant and later sleepless with babies. You've all rescued me with answers to my panicked questions (mostly at 3am!) and I look forward returning the favour, and answering all your questions live.”
What our bloggers thought
“The prose is cleverly controlled – almost musical – in contrast to the emotions of the main characters which often seem wildly out of control.”
“Segal’s writing is simply stunning, giving insights into the tortured minds of her characters while also making you laugh out loud.”
“I enjoyed reading The Awkward Age, in spite of my frustrations with the characters. It was beautifully written and incredibly emotive. I'd recommend it to others – just be prepared for an emotional rollercoaster of a read.”
“Francesca Segal truly captures the highs and lows of a blended family and thrusts her readers into a harrowing and poetic world with aspects that everyone can relate to.”
“Here we have six individuals all with complex ties to each other as well as a web of pasts, egos and plans for the future – where will it all lead? You’ll have to read it to find out.”
“Francesa Segal doesn’t pretend that love is easy, nor that it is for always, and yet what she does promise you is a true insight into the reality of navigating your way through life, through love, and through heartache.”
If you're interested in joining us, do grab yourself a copy. Or first, check out the book by reading or listening to the extracts below.
Francescas Segal will be joining us to discuss and answer questions about The Awkward Age on Tuesday 5 June between 9 and 10pm.
New to Mumsnet Book Club? Find out how it works, and what we'll be reading in the next few months
Prices correct at time of publication