Author: India Knight
Publication date: 1 August 2013
Length: 224 pages
Genre: Contemporary fiction
Age group: Adult
Add it: Goodreads
Buy it: Amazon UK | The Book Depository
In a nutshell
Clara Hutt is forty-six years old, and in pretty good nick, considering. She has kick-ass underwear, a large and loving family, and a healthy sense of what matters in life. Until Gaby moves in.
Gaby’s an old school friend of Clara’s who has just returned from LA. She may be a yoga mogul who lives off kale, and speaks a made-up fantasy novel language, but Gaby’s no stranger to cosmetic surgery: she’s almost fifty, but looks thirty-six at most.
What with Gaby, and Clara’s son’s leggy girlfriend, Sky, wafting around the house in her stripy pants, Clara starts to wonder if a little Botox, a little filler, a nip and a tuck, would be so very wrong. Should she ignore the fear? Or is there another way to grow old gracefully – and how far is she prepared to go to find out?
Following one of Clara’s remarks from the book, namely that “bluntness is the best solution: there seems so little point in shilly-shallying about with announcements” let me get right to the point: Mutton was a huge disappointment. Being in my mid-twenties I might not be the book’s ideal target audience but that doesn’t alter the fact that the book is miles away from being hilarious (as it’s supposed to be) and if this really is an accurate portrayal of women in their forties (I highly doubt it) then it’s even more depressing than I thought.
I wasn’t familiar with Knight’s books before I picked Mutton up but I’ve always enjoyed books with a similar subject matter. I read Sue Townsend’s The Public Confessions of a Middle-Aged Woman when I was in my late teens (again, I was hardly the right target audience and yet…) and it’s been one of my favourite novels ever since. It had me crying with laughter, which was definitely not the case here.
I suppose the biggest problem here is that almost every aspect of the book is just… ‘meh’, and there’s nothing that would make up for the lack of wit or accuracy. Clara – the main character and narrator – isn’t particularly amusing or interesting. Gaby is downright irritating, to the point where you just want to grab her by the shoulders and shake her. Right until the end – when a famous writer is thrown into the crazy world of the two women and the book gets mildly entertaining for about twenty pages – there isn’t much of a storyline either (apart from Clara’s dilemma about having Botox).
I really wanted to enjoy this one but it didn’t work for me at all. It’s dull, unrealistic and sadly – harsh as it may sound – one of the most forgettable books I’ve read this year.
*Many thanks to Penguin for sending me a copy for review*