The Other Mother (Kelly Chandler, Affirm)
When Kelly met Pete, it was easy, straightforward and just what she’d been looking for. Negotiating where she fitted into his life with two kids under six, however, would prove more of a challenge. As parties give way to bedtime routines, Kelly suddenly finds herself cast in the role of ‘stepmother’ navigating her way within an already established family with a colourful cast of extras. Far from a clinical ‘how-to’ guide, this funny, heartfelt and frank memoir offers new insights into the experiences of being part of a blended family. At 13, Kelly’s world changed when she was confronted with her own stepmother; in her thirties she became one and her world changed again. This book mixes the humour and wit of Rosie Waterland with the raw honesty of Judith Lucy’s The Lucy Family Alphabet to create a personal yet increasingly common account of what it means to be a stepmother. Pushing back against preconceived notions of ‘evil’ and ‘wicked’, The Other Mother is essentially an exploration of changing family dynamics and a love letter to blended families. Whether you’re a ‘spare’ or you know someone who is, Kelly Chandler’s book is a relatable and insightful read.
Jessica Slade is a former bookseller