Mumma’s childhood was warm with baking. She was a good girl. She was Mother’s Little Helper, The Wee Chef, an Apple Dumpling in a green pinny. Her time at home revolved around cooking with her mother. Baking together was as close as they ever got. Her mother had a shelf of bosom and Mumma stood in her shadow, in her darkness.
When Mumma is eighteen she is sent away, heavily pregnant, to live alone on a remote island. The island community is small, and Mumma keeps mostly to herself, but when her baby Lola Belle – Lolly – is born, she is determined to bring her up surrounded by love. Together Mumma and Lolly grow, in a life filled with baking and tastes and scents.
Their family expands with the inclusion of Mister, the shy son of a neighbour, and together the three of them make a life. But as Lolly grows she and Mumma both struggle with the secrets of their past and their present, and with their female forms.
Eating Lolly is a gentle, rich story of femininity, of family and of love. At times shocking and confronting, it explores the challenges faced by three generations of women in coping with life, with secrets, and with themselves.
A beautiful read, female readers especially are likely to catch glimpses of their own lives within.
Eating Lolly, by Corrie Hosking
Fourth Estate, an imprint of Harper Collins, 2008