Male Authors of Mommy Lit

So everybody knows I like to read “mommy reading club” novels because they explore and work through women’s fears (and also they are junk food for the brain, which is great), right? But what about books in the same genre that are written and protagonized by men? They are rare but they exist.

I found one such author, and it’s fascinating because his books offer a list of men’s fears. Obviously, the readers are all female and they couldn’t care less about male concerns, so the novels have to be very well-plotted to appeal to the female readership. The author’s name is Mark Edwards and his male characters are terrified of

1. The wife’s in-laws.

2. Eastern European immigrants. Which are the only immigrants it’s still ok publicly to despise (the author is British).

3. Finding yourself in the same space with people of a lower social class (again, British).

So far I’ve read two of his novels (I’m on vacation, so I read a lot of trashy stuff): Here to Stay and Follow You Home. The latter is absolutely hilarious because the male protagonist makes a horrific, life-changing mistake of not booking an expensive sleeper compartment on a train he and his girlfriend take to travel through Europe. Instead, he buys cheap seats that force him to sit next to some Romanians. Who are all criminal freaks, of course. Even after the poor guy gets back home, evil Romanians overtake his life and pollute the wonderful, peaceful UK. As I said, it’s total garbage bit that’s what makes it fun to read. It’s like looking into the shadows of the collective subconscious. I don’t recommend the novel but I do recommend Here to Stay about evil in-laws.

7 thoughts on “Male Authors of Mommy Lit”

      1. Also just a different demographic. We barely have any Eastern European immigrants here, and I’m not high class or British enough to be worried about the class stuff. Who would I be fearing, myself?

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        1. Working in the UK’s warehouses, farms and factories has for a while essentially been the safety net replacement for Eastern Europe, something you do when you run out of other options (it’s how I used it). A lot of people are here due to necessity, and they resent the place for it – I’ve talked to, been friends even, with people who’s life was literally consumed by loathing for the UK. Not that there’s not good reason for it – due to a few exploits in labour laws, these jobs can be taken or given at a whim, and you may not even be sure what your working hours are day-to-day. I’ve seen people go from evening shift to night shift just so they could make hours for the week, and the put on overtime on top of that just to be a bit more sure about the next.

          Walking through the streets, you’re about as likely to hear Russian, Romanian, Polish, Lithuanian even, as you are English. This translates to the working environment, too – there used to be nominal “English only on the floor” rule that no one really upheld, but eventually, management started essentially sectioning off working areas by language – so Romanians would get Stock Control and Polish would get Inbound, and so on. A large portion of the immigrants either don’t want to or don’t see the need to adapt in any way – I’ve met people who lived here for years and didn’t know a word in English, nor were planning to ever learn. Not old, set in their ways couples, mind, twenty-year-olds.

          As for the class thing… I’ve been tumbling down from my parents’ position of uncomfortable middle class for a while now, and while there’s good people and assholes everywhere, the way that gets expressed tends to wary, as do the likely extremes. I could have happily done without learning that a fully grown adult could choose to take time to smear their own shit over the walls of a company bathroom, for example.

          If you’re a regular brit, just bumbling around and worrying about your wife’s mother, you probably don’t have the full context, but you do know that you’re surrounded with people who you don’t understand and who don’t like you. Which is a reasonable enough thing to be anxious about – just because you’re stupid doesn’t mean you’re wrong.

          I don’t know. I’ve met people here that are like what I imagine the author of the book is like – plump little dough-faced precious things, barely able to formulate an objection to anything they don’t like. These hobbit folk are decidedly not the worst people here.

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  1. “a list of men’s fears. Obviously, the readers are all female and they couldn’t care less about male concerns”

    From your description the fears described aren’t what I’d call stereotypically male… so I think this is still about womens’ fears – the fear of getting stuck in marriage with a non-assertive bumbler… the kind who can’t buy a train ticket or is intimidated by the woman’s family etc

    For a (not edifying at all but probably pretty accurate) account of some (straight) male fears and concerns popular fiction is not a good hunting ground. Look at the twitter feeds of men’s rights guys* (when they interact with each other) and maybe the podcast Cumtown (it helps to have a high tolerance for extremely obscene and stupid ‘locker room’ talk and very offensive humor but there’s a lot of info there too).

    *especially when they don’t agree I’ve been following a major twitter dust up between rival MRA self-styled leaders that’s a fascinating little soap opera…

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    1. I’ve heard Cumtown is entertaining…but I just can’t bring myself to listen to a podcast called Cumtown. I have a very vulgar sense of humor yet for some reason I draw the line there. I also just hate listening to podcasts.

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