Not Having It All by Jennie Ensor
Neuroscientist Bea Hudson fears she is a bad mother and that her career will be thwarted by family life. When her husband suspects Bea of having an affair with her best friend, a chain of events is triggered, leading to a crisis in Bea’s life.
Bea Hudson, a neuropsychologist living in Godalming, is struggling to cope with the challenging behaviour of her obsessive husband Kurt and their disruptive four-year-old daughter Fran. On top of this, her boss is pressuring her to get results from her research. Bea has her work cut out. Things come to a head when Kurt goes away on an extended business assignment. While sacking staff and drinking heavily, Kurt’s insecurities run amok and he becomes convinced that Bea’s close friend Madeleine is seducing his wife and unduly influencing his daughter.
Meanwhile, childless artist Madeleine sees her friend torn between the demands of work and looking after Fran, and offers to help with Fran. But when she reveals a startling desire to her unsympathetic therapist Mr Rowley, he advises her to focus on the attention of Colin, a man she met in a lift.
Can Bea survive the demands of her career and the turmoil in her marriage without having a breakdown? Can Madeleine survive Kurt’s anger and find happiness with Colin? And can love survive marriage, middle-age, alcohol and ambition?
Not Having It All is about a scientist torn between her stalling career and the demands of her family. With themes of trust, deception and obsession, it is a mercilessly playful take on modern friendships, relationships and family life.
Not Having It All is the perfect title for this amusing account of the life of Bea Hudson. Outwardly she does indeed have it all but actually, underneath her legs are flapping like a swan in a jacuzzi.
In a series of journal entries, emails and text messages we begin to piece together the core of Bea’s life. Her husband Kurt is so obsessively fixated on his wife that he begins to think she is having an affair with her best friend Madeleine. In actual fact, Bea is desperately juggling being a mother to a (very) demanding child and maintaining a successful reputation as a Neuroscientist whilst Kurt is pursuing his own career overseas.
I liked the different fonts which are used for different characters in the book and the different methods of communication, all pieced together gave a unique feel. It was an interesting way of getting to know the characters on a very personal level. I loved the journal entries from Katie the Polish nanny, let’s just say that she has a very amusing turn of phrase!
The book deals with some serious issues but overall this is a humorous story with many relatable issues. Jenny Ensor certainly made me chuckle and I look forward to reading more of her books.
About The Author
A Londoner with Irish heritage, Jennie Ensor began her writing career as a journalist, obtaining a Masters in Journalism (winning two awards) and covering topics from forced marriage to accidents in the mining industry. She isn’t afraid to tackle controversial issues in her novels, either: Islamic terrorism, Russian gangsters and war crimes in her debut Blind Side, a psychological mystery; child abuse and sexual exploitation in her second novel THE GIRL IN HIS EYES, a dark psychological family drama (published September 2018 by Bloodhound Books).
Her third novel, NOT HAVING IT ALL: a brazen comedy about the perils of midlife (published in May 2019) is a no-holds-barred comedy about a scientist mother who’s pulled towards breaking point by the incompatible demands of her family and her career.
Jennie Ensor’s poetry has appeared in many publications. In her spare time she plays the piano, sings and dreams of setting off on a long trip with her Kindle.