Review: Mutton – India Knight

Mutton by India Knight

Title: Mutton
Author: India Knight
Publication date: 1 August 2013
Publisher: Penguin
Format: Paperback
ISBN: 9780241955048
Length: 224 pages
Genre: Contemporary fiction
Age group: Adult
Source: Publisher
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?

My thoughts

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.


2.5 star rating*Many thanks to Penguin for sending me a copy for review*


  1. says

    I have this book on my TBR pile and I did think it was supposed to be funny. Now I want to read it to see if I feel the same as you. Funny is hard to write and harder to appeal to everyone. I’ll let you know. Very honest review.

    • says

      You should, it’s a brilliant book and it’s so funny! Towsend has an interesting writing style, though, and it might not work for everyone. (But if you read the first couple of pages before buying/borrowing the book, you should be fine. :))

  2. says

    …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.

    Haha, this actually made me snort.

    I’ve read this on my TBR for a while because I picked it up on a whim and haven’t got around to reading it yet. This is the first review I’ve seen of it so far, so maybe I’ll hold off picking it up just yet!
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