I got started on this as soon as it appeared on my Kindle last week and had finished a day later.
Sophie Heawood is an entertainment journalist, this is her debut memoir, it isn’t about her career, it’s about finding love in the most unexpected of places, mainly when things have gone a bit pear shaped.
At 34, Sophie has a care-free life in LA, she’s a partier, dreamer and in no way responsible or financially secure. She’s always had a picture-perfect distant image of how life is going to go. It involves a farmhouse with an Aga, the perfect husband, adorable children and a dog. As we all know, life is what happens when you’re busy making and dreaming of a near distant future; Sophie accidentally falls pregnant.
“I had no idea how to commit to another human being. I could barely commit to reading a magazine, and I wrote for magazines for a living. My specialist subject was celebrities, and my own relationships made their marriages look eternal. I’d never paid a household bill that didn’t mention bailiffs, and my idea of exercise was to go and stand outside a famous person’s house and stare until I’d convinced myself that I lived in it.
But my life in LA was happy; free of care and consequence. That was, until I came down to earth – with a bump.
So this is the story of how I staggered from partying in Hollywood to bringing up a baby in Piss Alley, Dalston; how I never did find a copy of What To Expect When You Weren’t Even Fucking Expecting To Be Expecting, and why paternity testing is not a good topic for a first-date conversation.
People always said I’d find love where I least expected it. I always said they were idiots”. Sophie Heawood
To be honest, I wasn’t sure if I’d be able to relate completely, I’m not a parent. While it details her journey towards being a single mother, this book is for all women, not just the mums. It deals with the expectations placed on women, the pursuit of what’s seen as the fairy tale ending. Or what society sees as fairy tale with her mum telling her “just pick one (a man) and settle”.
It’s painfully honest and sees her cope with the fact the father – named only as The Musician – doesn’t want a child. It is testament to her character that she doesn’t go to town on him. In fact, she puts an awful lot of work into not hating him, it just is what it is.
Sophie does worry about what to tell her daughter about her father, even going as far as to asking Goldie Hawn what to do during an interview, which had me cringing and laughing in equal measure.
There’s never any question in Sophie’s mind about what she’s going to do, it may not have been the dream scenario, but this was a baby that she wanted and was keeping. It’s her experiences of trying to square her old life as a raver with her new one as a mother. Realising that she’ll always be worried about whether or not her daughter is warm enough for the rest of her life. It’s those small realisations that I found to be most poignant, the seemingly little acts that show love.
It’s an honest tale, she slips from hilarious stories to talking openly about how hard those early months of motherhood can be. Something we should have more of. I have friends with children who’ve voiced their frustrations at every other new mum on social media seemingly having the perfect child -who sleeps all through the night, isn’t a crier, feeds impeccably and is no bother at all – to know that we’re buggers for painting a picture perfect image of motherhood. I hope this book encourages more of the shitty tales to be told, as I imagine it’s actually comforting to know that everyone else is facing the same struggles, isn’t sleeping and feels like they’ve been turned into a milk cow.
I admit it feels weird for me to be writing like this – I have no idea what it’s like – I can just imagine that I’d like to know I wasn’t alone and everyone else was winging it too.
I’d recommend this to my friends. It is a love letter to the modern world and modern love, it shows that even though she didn’t get the farmhouse with the Aga, Sophie got much more than that. Life can go awry and be full of surprises but sometimes those surprises turn out to be the best things to happen to us.
Journalist, writer, traveller, music lover, collector of hats, news addict, bookworm