I’d like to welcome fellow comedy author Jon Rance to my blog this week in celebration of his new novel This Family Life. For anyone who is new to parenthood and in desperate need of some belly laughs, this could be just the tonic you’re after. Over to Jon…
Firstly a HUGE thank you to Tasha for hosting what is the first stop on my ‘This Family Life Blog Tour’. Over the next few weeks I’m going to be visiting a lot of different blogs and along the way I’m hoping to write a lot of very funny, informative, and thought-provoking blogs on how my new novel ‘This Family Life’ came to be. So with the pleasantries out of the way, let’s crack on.
In this blog I want to talk about how ‘This Family Life’ evolved. If you read the first book in the series ‘This Thirtysomething Life’, you’ll know it was about the slightly useless, immature, thirtysomething Harry Spencer and his wife Emily. When Emily suddenly becomes pregnant, poor Harry has a bit of an emotional breakdown and makes some questionable choices thereafter.
Both ‘This Thirtysomething Life’ and ‘This Family Life’ evolved from my own experiences. Firstly with ‘This Thirtysomething Life’ of going through a pregnancy with my own wife and having a ‘bit of a wobble’ (as we like to call it in my house), and secondly with ‘This Family Life’, of trying to survive the first year of parenthood.
If you have children you’ll know what I’m talking about. The first year can be a proper Tim Burton style nightmare. Babies are terrifying. You’re always waiting for them to either A: Die. B: Injure themselves and then die. C: Get injured by you and then die. Or D: Lull you into a false sense of security and seem really happy and you’ll tell people at parties and friends that actually they’re an ‘easy baby’ and then die. Basically, most of the first year you’re worried they might die. If you aren’t worried about that, you’re worried about how they look. Is their head a funny shape? Why do they have a comb-over hair style? In the book Harry worries constantly about baby William, and yes it’s generally about ridiculous things like, why does his wave look like a Nazi salute? And why does he babble with a Japanese accent?
I think at the heart of the novel it’s about his fears, and I think the fears that most parents feel when they have babies, that they have a life to protect. It’s this fear that I think gives the novel its funniest scenes and also its most heartfelt – just like real parenthood. I think Harry says it best in this scene from the book.
Wednesday 27 February 9.30 p.m.
I wouldn’t class myself as a big worrier. A medium worrier maybe, but since William was born all I’ve done is worry. Maybe it’s just how parenthood is. 1% enjoyment, 99% worry. I worry about William all the time. There was a kid at my middle school who couldn’t say ‘cinema’. He pronounced it ‘swinema’. And of course, all the mean kids would make him say it as often as possible. What if William says ‘swinema’ instead of ‘cinema’? What if he breaks a leg, or both legs, and we have to push him around in a wheelchair with him saying ‘swinema’?
Then there’s the now. I wake up most nights and listen to him breathing on the baby monitor, but without fail I decide I can’t hear him, and I go in his room to check on him. Sometimes I lie in bed and tell myself to stop being silly and just go to sleep, but I can’t. I have to check on him. But even this is OK against the bigger worry of when I can’t protect him. When he’s at nursery, or primary school, or secondary school or just at the park without me, and I can’t be there if he needs me. He’s only six and a half months old and already I’m worried about the rest of his life. I just want him to be happy. I just want him to be able to say ‘cinema’ properly. Is that too much to ask?’
This Family Life Synopsis
Things that might happen during your first year of parenthood:
1. You’ll get covered in a ‘nuclear’ poo.
2. You’ll be convinced your son is talking with a Japanese accent.
3. You’ll worry that when your son waves, it looks like a Nazi salute.
Of course, this might just be Harry Spencer.
Taking up where This Thirtysomething Life left off, Harry Spencer and his wife Emily are back and trying to survive their first year of parenthood. It has its ups and downs (and a few bits in the middle), but along the way they begin to understand the true meaning of family and what it takes to be a parent.
Featuring a hilarious cast of extras including Harry’s father-in-law Derek, who has a unique problem with Scotch, Steve and Fiona, the parents from children’s entertainment hell, and a yoga instructor with a prominent camel-toe, This Family Life is the ultimate comedy for anyone who is a parent, has a parent, or is thinking about becoming one.