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My Wild and Sleepless Nights: THE SUNDAY TIMES BESTSELLER

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Sometimes I think that a lot of parenthood is like that morning, trying to create an impression that you know what you are doing and are in control.

The book follows Stroud and her family through a tumultuous year, in which her fifth child, Lester, is born. Reading this is like repeatedly gulping down the bright orange smoothies her children love: sharp, refreshing, sloshing, delicious, and entirely without pause. She takes us through her life from when she found out she was pregnant with her fifth child, her pregnancy and the beginning of his life. I'd never heard of Clover Stroud and assumed this book would be like so many other parenting books that describe the funny and/or difficult bits of parenthood. I was in tears from the first chapter, so many pages succinctly described my exact feelings in various moments - the fury of waiting after due date and batting off those "any sign?Clover Stroud brought back so many memories, the good ones, and the bad ones, the happiness and joy as well as the fear and guilt you feel as a mother. This is the conversation we should all have about motherhood, it is wild and sleepless but I wouldn't have it any other way.

At times her honesty gives you a jolt of recognition of something you have experienced yourself, and at other times it can be shockingly frank.So much spoke to my heart, it made me laugh out loud nod and agree out loud and possibly cry a little, quietly and with a mixture of joy and sadness. This book was exquisitely tender whilst also being brutally honest about the challenges that loving small beings so fiercely, brings to your life. So I was somewhat nervous of reading the intensity of motherhood in this memoir: would I be further swayed one way or the other?

as a busy mum myself I prefer to read something that overall lifts my mood and reminds me, overall, how really really lucky I am to be a mum. Labour is “Medusa ripping out” and early days of breastfeeding are “nipples bleeding, like being stabbed with hot pokers” (I’m paraphrasing but you get my point).By the end of the book I would happily have left home, and moved in with Clover, Pete and the 5 glorious children that they bring up together! The only thing I didn’t like, and which seems to be a trend in books I’ve read recently, is her references to drug taking in the past and intimate details of her relationships.

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