As someone who usually devotes as many hours as humanly possible to reading; as someone who wangs on about books endlessly and to absolutely anyone who will listen; and as someone who, if asked when they’re at their happiest, would say when reading (that or drinking prosecco), it has come as something of a shock that the mandatory social distancing has left me feeling somewhat bored of books.
I’ve always been an early riser – and most people who read this blog will know that I get up at 5am in order to eek out as much reading time as possible before the rest of the day begins. But now said day involves a whole lot less of what it used to, and – should I so wish – I could pretty much spend all day with my nose in a book, I spent a good five days picking one up and reading a couple of chapters, before returning it to my groaning bookcase and opting, instead, for a nap.
Thankfully, I was to be saved from such peril in the form of a PDF copy of The Hungover Games by Sophie Heawood. As someone who balks at the idea of owning an e-reader and has amassed a collection of 500 books in my bedroom in Bondi , it was the first time in my thirty years of read I had attempted to read a book on a screen. Thankfully, it was a feat well worth it.
A memoir about Heawood’s adventures as a single mother, The Hungover Games tells the story of how, when working as a journalist in Los Angeles, Heawood was told that due to having had polycystic fybrosis in her twenties, she would only be able to get pregnant on purpose, only to then find herself soon after, quite accidentally pregnant.
What follows is a warm and witty account that spans Heawood’s time in both LA and London, as she not only gets to grips with her unexpected pregnancy, but then single-motherhood itself.
Having lived in both cities myself, I loved the sense of place in the book; I adored the rich cast of family and friends that were integral parts of Heawood’s pregnancy, and I laughed out loud at many of the anecdotes that led up to her giving birth.
An unputdownable tale that is both comic and candid, The Hungover Games offered the perfect slice of solace in amongst all the current corona-chaos. A redemptive tale about unplanned motherhood, about the value of friends and family and about embracing a different sort of life to the one you had planned, The Hungover Games is one of the best memoirs I’ve read by a country mile, and I couldn’t love it any more than I do.
About The Hungover Games
The Hungover Games is the true story of one woman’s adventures in single-motherhood. It’s about what happens when Mr Right isn’t around, so you have a baby with Mr Wrong, a musician who tells you, halfway through your pregnancy, that he’s met someone else – just after you’ve given up your LA life and moved back to England to be with him, so you’re now six months up the duff and sleeping on a friend’s sofa in an art studio in Dalston.
It’s about what it’s like raising a baby on your own when you feel more at home on the dance floor than in the kitchen. It’s about how to invent the concept of a two-person family, when you grew up in a traditional nuclear unit, and your kid’s friends all have happily married parents too, and you are definitely not, in any way, ticking off the days until all those lovely couples get divorced.
Brilliantly funny, unflinchingly honest and emotionally raw, The Hungover Games is the true story of what happens if you’ve been looking for love your whole life and you finally find it where you least expect it.
About Sophie Heawood
Sophie Heawood grew up in Yorkshire. She has since lived in Barcelona, working as an au pair, in Hong Kong, working as an extra in Chinese soap operas, and in Los Angeles, where she interviewed the famous and wrote columns on modern life. She now lives in Hackney, East London, with her daughter. She has written for many publications including The Times, Guardian, Observer and Vogue.
This is a great read from Sophie, on how we’ve lost the art of brevity; and I loved this on how life coaches helped her lift her game. Finally, this is a brilliant write-up from Sophie on confronting the reality of getting older.