India Knight’s My Life on a Plate read by Jill Tanner

More than a little over the top, Clara Hutt is dropping her 2 boys off this morning wearing her pajama bottoms (again) and wondering (again) why all the other mothers can arrive at school with perfectly starched blouses and expertly applied makiage. Not now, Darling, I’m Paaaarking,” and again, “I AM PAAARKING,” and again “Stop it, Charlie, don’t make me want to break your legs.”

There are so many things wrong with this picture that the fact that Clara doesn’t speak to her children like the mummies in books is, well, funny. Indeed, Charlie is six and already has a “vast panoply of hideous, faintly disturbing, terms of abuse.” “You tiresome retard” he says to his brother. Or to some hapless toddler on a play date: “God! You exasperating creature! What is it? Talk for God’s sake!! God. God. Bloody God!” She is, of course, to blame she thinks, while she watches Naomi The Perfect Mother and Crossing Guard doing her pelvic floor exercises. Hup two three four and hoooooolddd.

I think Clara is darling. In perfectly bad faith for the nought generation, Clara has all the elements of a mad Greek family member. But she is English, and thanks to Jill Tanner’s drawn out vowels and enthusiastic syntax, we are happy to relocate our tragic flaws.

Clara’s mother is, on the other hand, global.