The core of what makes a good marriage is at the heart of Slummy Mummy, by British feature writer Fiona Neill. (Neill writes a weekly column by the same name for the London Times.) The novel chronicles the domestic crisis of Lucy Sweeney, mother of three sons, wife to the tidy and exasperated Tom. Lucy has developed a crush on one of the school dads, a stay-at-home writer who has bad boy penciled all over him until he opens his mouth to compare cereal mixes. Lucy to put it mildly is not the most organized of mothers. Her laundry pile is out of control, her car is a science experiment of old apple cores and melted chocolate, and she can't seem to hang on to her keys. On the other hand, she adores her children, and everyone in her life chooses the compassionate and thoughtful Lucy when they need a confidante. Her husband well, they loved each other once, and maybe they would again if they could ever have sex, but how is that achieved, exactly, with three children under the age of seven? Lucy is both clever and kind, a disaster and a dear, and most of all a woman you'd never mind sitting down to share a bottle of wine with, because she is always entertaining. This book makes a great pick-me-up on a day when you've got those can't-seem-to-get-it-all-done blues.

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