Haydn Radford -A freelance writer born in Adelaide, who loves living here. I write about movies, theatre, entertainment, literary and art events. I am happy to promote & review your events. www.weekendnotes.com/profile/121822
Published April 25th 2012
At Unley Library author, Fiona Higgins discussed her book The Mothers' Group, a social novel about six very different women who meet regularly after the births of their babies.
It is believable, compelling and thought provoking as it engages with modern Australian life. With its strong narrative I found it difficult to put down, as it is so easy to read, with characters that standout as being instantly identifiable with people we all know and with situations first time parents we will relate to.
Initially, I saw it as a book written by a woman for women experiencing the various challenges and life adjustments brought about by parenthood. However, after reading it, I would recommend males, especially first time fathers to read it as Higgins clearly describes everyday situations that are recognisable from the different parents' points of view.
Higgins has a wonderful writing style that forms the readers' opinions of the various characters only to shape and reshape them as the story unfolds.
Fiona Higgins's book 'The Mothers' Group'
Fiona's public speaking style is professional, informative and, appropriately funny as she engages with her audience in a relaxed and friendly manner. There were certain topics, she said, that society consider were taboo and made it difficult for women to be able to discuss. One of these topics affects, 1:3 women. It is "pelvic floor damage", which is highly uncomfortable for many women to discuss, hence is avoided. This is where she felt the members of her Mothers' Group provided understanding and empathy as the spirit of judgement was suspended and was over-ridden by the spirit of friendship.
The Mothers' Group gave her marvellous support and friendship and convened as a Book Club might, providing interest in handling unanswered questions about her book. She had anticipated difficulty with members feeling "their story" was being revealed, when it wasn't. Fiona maintains all her characters are composites of herself and none of her group need feel there was a breach of confidentiality in anyway.
I have kept a journal since I was nine years old," said Fiona, "and with writing this book the characters came and found me." She described how on several occasions in the early morning hours, when nursing her baby, trying to encourage her to go back to sleep, dramatic revelations would come to her; she would quickly jot down 200 - 400 words at a time, so as to not to forget them.
Higgins described motherhood as controversial territory with certain expectations and judgements placed upon new mothers. These expected norms could vary considerably depending on the overbearing influences of family, partners, friends and in-laws . If their advice and recommendations weren't enough for a first time mother to take on board, then there is always the huge volume of information in non-fiction books and women's magazines on mothering to be considered.
One unique and exceptional book Higgins suggested is the children's book for adults Go the F**k to Sleep by Adam Mansbach, which provides a humorous and lighter side to parenting and offers a well deserved laugh. It is racing up the best seller lists, and there is now a recorded version of the profanity-laden children's bedtime story read by Play School veteran,Noni Hazelhurst.
Noni Hazelhurst reading a humorous version of a 'profanity laden childrens' bedtime story for adults.
In closing, Fiona said that the concept of Mothers' Groups was introduced in the 1970's, today there are 1,000's of such groups worldwide.
Coinciding with the national program Love2Read many local libraries in South Australia host a program called Meet the Author, which provides visiting authors to speak with groups and encourage people to read more, and in some instances re-discover reading as an enjoyable pastime.
If you love reading and you would be interested in hearing visiting authors talking about their books and writing experiences then you should check out the Get Reading events hosted by our local libraries.