I first heard about Clover Stroud’s memoir, My Wild and Sleepless Nights, when writer and author, Laura Jane Williams, said of it on Instagram, ‘I feel like a better person for having read this’ and so swiftly ordered myself a copy. It arrived before the unrelenting corona-chaos truly kicked off, and so I took myself down to the beach one sunny afternoon last week, and, with my phone on aeroplane mode, switched off from the world and read it in a single sitting.
A memoir of motherhood that is both unflinchingly honest and beautifully written, My Wild and Sleepless Nights is a refreshing and candid account that chronicles the pregnancy, birth and first year of Clover’s fifth child Lester, which is wonderfully – and chaotically – intertwined with the adolescent turbulence of her eldest son, Jimmy. She describes with awe and wonder the relentless bliss of new motherhood and the complete immersion that comes with both parenting young children and navigating the ways in which her relationships with her children blossom and grow over the years. Clover recounts with searing poignancy the chaos, challenges, joy and darkness that being a mother entails – from the pains of labour to dealing with an unruly teen – all the while trying to maintain a romantic relationship with her parter and joint care-giver, Pete.
Having grown up with three sisters, and later a step-brother and sister, I adored reading about the mayhem and madness so synonymous with big families, and was gripped by the nostalgia and fondness with which Clover so brilliantly writes about her ever-growing and changing family.
My Wild and Sleepless Nights not only gave me a greater insight into parenthood, relationships, desire and intimacy, it too gave me a better understanding of my own ties with my parents and step-parents, and a glimpse at how my relationship with each of them has played out through their eyes, instead of just my own.
Beautiful, raw, touching and incredibly honest, My Wild and Sleepless Nights is a poetic and plain-spoken portrayal of the physical, emotional and psychological essence of mothering that will resonate with readers everywhere.
About My Wild and Sleepless Nights
Mother to five children, Clover Stroud has navigated family life across two decades, both losing and finding herself. In her touching, provocative and profoundly insightful book, she captures a sense of what motherhood really feels like – how intense, sensuous, joyful, boring, profound and dark it can be.
My Wild and Sleepless Nights examines what it means to be a mother, and reveals with unflinching honesty the many conflicting emotions that this entails: the joy and the wonder, the loneliness and despair.
About Clover Stroud
Clover Stroud is a writer and journalist writing for the Daily Mail, Sunday Times, Daily Telegraph and Conde Nast Traveller among others. She lives in Oxfordshire with her husband and five children. Her first book, The Wild Other, was shortlisted for The Wainwright Prize.