BOOK REVIEW: Forever Outnumbered by Simon Hooper

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Parenting can be difficult, it can also be fun, it’s one of the best things I’ve ever done – but I do sometimes wonder if I’m getting this whole parenting thing right, because it doesn’t come with an instruction manual (which is what all new parents will enjoy hearing from well wishers when you are seriously sleep deprived)…until now!

Simon Hooper has a huge following on Instagram where he talks about his life at being forever outnumbered by the X chromosome in his household – these are made up of his wife Clemmie and his four children Anya, Marnie, Ottile and Delilah. So his debut book ‘Forever Outnumbered‘ consists of the tales of his family life, with words of encouragement, tips of the trade and oodles of honesty; making ‘Forever Outnumbered’ an unputdownable page turner with laughs on every page.

The book is in part Simon telling us about his journey through parenthood from before children, to just the one and then all the way up to the four that he has now, covering topics such as; Advice to my pre-child self, Welcome to your new social lives, A day in my life, Solo parenting – I dad it my way and many other fabulous insights and intriguing topics along the way.

Simon writes with such a passion that it is hard not to come away from reading this book without feeling the love that he has for his wife and children, he quite literally put his heart and soul into this book and it damn well shows – I also have to say that I found many pieces of his advice useful and helped me realise that I am not alone in my worries or failures at parenting – and this I find is the key to the book!

The book is also enjoyable due to Simons fabulous sense of humour, which had me in stitches more often than not, it’s the funniest book I’ve ever read and well, I’ve read a lot! His chapter on Children’s TV Presenters / shows where he talks about Peppa Pig and In The Night Garden and everyones favourite clown Mr. Tumble is a personal favourite of mine – I’ve included a small extract below.

‘Justin is the kind of person you want to punch in the face, but you know that he’d still be nice to you afterwards and probably smile as you were knocking his teeth down his throat, simply infuriating you more.’

The funny thing is, whilst I was at Simon’s book signing at Waterstones Clifton it would appear that Simon’s slanderously funny chapter had been read by the CBeebies crew and in turn they sent Andy (for the Dinosaur adventure programme) to ruff up Simon – I left before anything happened – but my money would have been on Simon! Please note that I may have been slightly hallucinating at this time as it was a very hot day and I’d forgot to hydrate but Andy was there, but in all honesty I don’t think he was carrying out a hit on Simon, he must have just really enjoyed the book. Justin Fletcher was not there – although I did see a clown sobbing in the gutter outside missing his teeth!

This combined with his witty open writing style lifts the lid on what it’s like to be a dad (and a parent) -and well it’s refreshing to see, because lets face it, guys aren’t really good at talking about what they struggle with.

Simon’s observations on parenting are honest and open as he recounts what he struggles with, the things he gets wrong, his honest approach more often than not hits the nail on the head as he verbalises what we’ve all been thinking. This combined with his witty open writing style lifts the lid on what it’s like to be a dad (and a parent) – and well it’s refreshing to see, because lets face it, guys aren’t really good at talking about what they struggle with. Everything I have ever read on parenting I could count on one hand, and many of those have NHS stamped across the top. This book is a truthful guide to what it’s like being a father (not just being outnumbered – although these stories are funny to read) and a parent and how you try to be the best father / parent you can, the ups, the downs, the arguments, the selflessness and the selfishness – it’s all there and it’s an arrestingly brilliant read.

So ‘Forever Outnumbered‘ is absolutely bloody brilliant. Simon has a skill for writing which is clearly evident in this page turner of a book and it’s a true joy to behold – every few pages I was laughing to myself as I recounted a similar experience or the dad secret he’d just exposed – things will never be the same again.

Writing a book like this Simon could come across as condescending and a know it all – but he doesn’t! He picks apart his own failures more often than not, that further endears this book to the reader – it’s not a text book for parenting, or a 101 parenting manual – it’s a journal of his journey from single man to a single man in a household that is seriously outnumbered by women!

I very much hope that Simon continues to write he has a real talent for it an engaging and enjoyable read!

Forever Outnumbered is published by Coronet and you can purchase a copy here.
Simon Hooper

For 40% of the day, Simon works as a management consultant. For 100% of the day, Simon is a father to his 4 daughters. 40% and 100% don’t quite add up, because being a parent isn’t something you can turn off. Even when you’re at work there are emails about gymnastic classes, paying lunch fees, providing instructions on how to work the overly complicated smart TV and other various parent life admin.

Now, Simon has committed another 40% of the day to social media and engaging with his hundreds of thousands of followers about real life parenting challenges. He still works 40% of the day as a management consultant too. He also spends 20% of the time clearing up and doing DIY jobs, while being a dad 100% of the time – yes, that’s 200% of the time he’s doing something which goes some way to explain why he hasn’t slept for 10 years and has a forehead covered in so many lines, you could mistake it for a ploughed field.

With the small sliver of remaining time Simon does find, he likes to spend time on ‘secret projects’ in the shed (no one is yet to actually see any results from these projects) and cycles – basically things that give him time on his own, a brief reprieve from a life surrounded and outnumbered by girls.
Forever Outnumbered is Simon’s first book.
You can follow Simon’s Instagram page here.

Reviewed by Ross Jeffery

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