So this is 2020. I think most of us may be in need of a little light relief by now.

This being the case, I should like to draw your attention towards the latest (highly entertaining) book from cartoonist and habitually overwhelmed mum of three boys, Katie Kirby.

What’s it about?

I am definitely going to steal the whole blurb for this one, so here it is:

Perpetually overwhelmed? Welcome to the new book from Katie Kirby, creator of the bestselling Hurrah for Gin

Do you overthink everything?
Do you struggle to say no to people?
Are you paying membership for a gym you never go to?
Do group chat politics make you want to throw your phone under a bus?
Are you overjoyed when people cancel plans so that you can sit at home in your pyjama bottoms eating Coco pops for dinner?

If so then this book is for you!

We spend our childhoods wanting to a be adults and, when we get there, find ourselves lost under a pile of life admin, half completed to do lists and anti-ageing face creams that promise to make you look as good as Natalie Imbruglia.

In her new book, Hurrah for Gin pinpoints with painful precision just how overwhelming life can be when you’re all grown up. From the worry spiral that keeps you up at 3AM, to maintaining a professional aura when you can’t stand other people – this is for everyone struggling to stay afloat.

Honest, relatable, funny and containing no useful advice whatsoever, take comfort in the knowledge that it’s not just you, we’re all as f*cked as each other.


What’s it like?

Classic Katie Kirby (better known in internet circles as Hurrah for Gin): sweary, funny and unswervingly honest. Did you ever read ‘Hurrah for Gin?’ If you did then rest assured it’s just as good as that. If not, I’d like to take this opportunity to recommend them both to you. Anyone who confidently assures you that, despite building their current career out of social media, they find the whole experience, ‘A bit like tequila, [sickening]’ and asks, ‘What is it about Facebook that seems to bring out the inner w****r in people?’ is going to have a heap of opinions to offer. Fortunately, these are entertaining opinions, not the vaguely racist kind your great uncle likes to bring out to share during family meals under the guise of telling you how things were ‘in his day’.
While you can’t judge this book on its cover (the contents are much funnier than the anxious stick person’s thoughts might suggest), it definitely gives a good insight into the contents, which explore common Adult Life scenarios (such as working in an office, dealing with small children who are theoretically not hard of hearing but definitely act like they are, or using social media) through a combination of cartoons, subheadings and wildly meandering thoughts.
This is a great book to dip in and out of and I really enjoyed reading it, though as is true with many comic books, I think you have to be in the right mindset to enjoy the flippant tone and open acceptance that much of life is either a bit rubbish or really rather daft.
Caution! This book is not advice for overthinkers! It may, however, soothe your soul to feel you’re in good company.

Final thoughts

Not all the cartoons are gold, but not every worry will hit home with everybody; those that do will provoke guffaws of laughter.
Possibly my favourite picture in the whole book was the stick mum’s response to Marie Kondo’s suggestion that we only keep in our life things which spark joy. Kirby’s suggestion is simple and shocking and I defy any parent of standard children* not to laugh loudly while inwardly empathising!
Finally, don’t worry, Marie: this book will definitely spark joy.
‘Reluctant Adult’,
Katie Kirby,
2019, Coronet, hardback
*  Standard issue children are those little darlings who are lovely and much loved but do have a strong tendency towards not ever listening / arguing at length that black is white and white is orange, all while subsisting on less sleep than childcare books insist is optimal, or even, possibly, essential.
Apparently some parents have upgraded models that do as they are told without anyone needing to shout until their throat feels like sandpaper and sleep peacefully through the night from a few weeks old. These relatively rare parents are either incredibly lucky, lying, or yet to meet karma in the form of suddenly shocking behaviour from their teenagers as their little darlings cross into adolescence and begin to experiment with rebellion.
Most parents have the standard model little darlings, who will also, most likely, progress to become borderline delinquent teenagers, but whose parents will have the important advantage that they have learned long ago not to be shocked by the behaviour of their own progeny. (“Yes, I know he came home in the possession of three police officers with a complete inability to stand upright and wearing a traffic cone as a hat, but it’s really nothing compared to his behaviour when he was four and weed in Mrs Hardgrave’s petunias while she was weeding them. I was mortified.”)