Welcome to my book review: Call Me Mummy by Tina Baker. This is a phenomenal debut novel, published by Viper and out now in hardback and ebook. You can also pre-order the paperback. Call Me Mummy is an original, tense and gripping thriller about two damaged women on different parts of the social spectrum.
My Book Review for Call Me Mummy by Tina Baker
The story opens dramatically with a woman in a shop we know as ‘Mummy’ watching Kim a pregnant mother who has several young children with her. Swearing and focused on her phone Kim does not seem like the perfect mother. Seizing her moment, Mummy kidnaps the oldest child, a bruise covered girl named Tonya. Mummy works hard to be perfect and have the perfect life. The only thing missing was a perfect child of her own. But motherhood is harder than Mummy anticipated, especially as five year old Tonya does not want to be Mummy’s perfect new child. Meanwhile, impoverished Kim is vilified for allowing her child to be snatched; a woman like her doesn’t deserve children.
This book drew me in from the first page. The kidnap is a perfect hook and the plot line development is truly absorbing. I couldn’t put this book down! At first I judged Kim just as Mummy had, for being a less than ideal parent. But how much can you know about someone from a brief observation? And I found myself examining my prejudices later on. Mummy tries to give Tonya a perfect life: stimulating activities, organic vegetables and beautiful clothes. But is she really better than Tonya’s real mother?
The story is told mainly from two perspectives. That of Kim and of Mummy, which works very well. There’s also a little from Tonya’s perspective, this seems intended to fill in details of the plot but to me she doesn’t sound quite right for a five year old. This very minor criticism is literally the only thing I can nit pick. I found the plot to be very lifelike from the kidnap, the press coverage and social media fallout, to the two women’s backstory. There was a good variation in pace with time passing in the novel but no let up in the tension. A fantastic debut and I can’t wait to see what Tina Baker does next!
CALL ME MUMMY. IT’LL BE BETTER IF YOU DO.
Glamorous, beautiful Mummy has everything a woman could want. Except for a daughter of her very own. So when she sees Kim – heavily pregnant, glued to her phone and ignoring her eldest child in a busy shop – she does what anyone would do. She takes her. But foul-mouthed little Tonya is not the daughter that Mummy was hoping for.
As Tonya fiercely resists Mummy’s attempts to make her into the perfect child, Kim is demonised by the media as a ‘scummy mummy’, who deserves to have her other children taken too. Haunted by memories of her own childhood and refusing to play by the media’s rules, Kim begins to spiral, turning on those who love her.
Though they are worlds apart, Mummy and Kim have more in common than they could possibly imagine. But it is five-year-old Tonya who is caught in the middle…