Review: Mutton by India Knight

Mutton by India Knight

Title: Mutton
Author: India Knight
Genre: Chick Lit, Contemporary
Publisher: Penguin (1st August 2013)
Source: Penguin Books
Format: Finished Copy

Clara Hutt is forty-six years old and is in pretty good nick, considering. She has kick-ass underwear, a large and loving family, and a healthy sense of what matters in life. Until Gaby moves in.

Gaby’s an old school friend of Clara who has just returned from LA. She may be a yoga mogul who lives off kale and speaks a made-up fantasy novel language, but Gaby’s no stranger to cosmetic surgery: she’s almost fifty but looks thirty-six at most.

What with Gaby, and Clara’s son’s leggy girlfriend, Sky, wafting around the house in her stripy pants, Clara starts to wonder if a little Botox, a little filler, a nip and a tuck, would be so very wrong. Should she ignore the fear? Or is there another way to grow old gracefully – and how far is she prepared to go to find out?

Rating: *** (3 stars)

Clara Hutt is a  forty-six year old mother of three who on the whole likes her life until her best friend from childhood Gaby comes to live with her. Gaby has lived in LA being a yoga mogul, and all that entails. The last time Clara saw Gaby she was the thin pretty one, but the tables have turned with Gaby returning looking closer to thirty-six than her actual age of almost fifty.

So regular readers of the blog will know that MUTTON isn’t the typical style of book to be reviewed on here. However, I chose to give this book a try to write a review about it for a number of reasons. First though it’s fair to say that I am not the intended reader of this book, I’m around two decades younger than the main character, but I’m also (shocking and disturbing as it is) not the intended audience for the young adult books reviewed here, but that doesn’t stop me enjoying them. I ended up chosing to read MUTTON based on a single, very important, fact: it sounded interesting.

In a lot of ways Clara reminded me of a slightly older Bridget Jones or Carrie Bradshaw. MUTTON certainly has a similar tone and feel to the books, although the focus of the book is more on growing older than on friendship or love – however both do feature prominently in the book. One of the things I found really interesting about the book was the discussion about appearance and our own attitudes towards it and how they change over time. I emphathised with the discussion about being age appropriate in terms of clothes – and does it really matter? Sex was also discussed frankly in the book, and I think Knight handled the topic brilliantly.

The thing that drives MUTTON, and that I most love, are its characters. There isn’t really a plot per se to the novel, it’s more of a character study and I actually enjoyed this. Normally I’m quite plot driven, but for me the characters driving the story really worked in this book. The secondary characters seem real on the page – I especially loved Clara’s sisters and mother. Jack and Sky seemed like believable teenagers, and I thought Knight created an interesting dynamic between son and mother. Perhaps the most interesting secondary character in the book is Gaby. In a lot of ways it is through her that the events in the novel fall out.

I really enjoyed reading MUTTON, even if I am a bit young for it. If you’re looking for a book for your mother, or aunt, or an older friend then you should seriously consider this book. It’s light and fun, but at the same time a little bit thought-provoking. If you’re my age or younger and think it sounds interesting then give it a go – it may surprise you.

4 thoughts on “Review: Mutton by India Knight

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