Killing It: Motherhood was never so funny, action-packed and bloody

Killing it Book review

What is this about?: A mother going back to work, except Lex happens to be an agent in the most secret of secret agencies, even more so than the MI-s. Unfortunately her first mission back involves her going undercover as a Yummy Mummy in an exclusive pound-bracket of other Yummy Mummies, while trying to plan the death of a Russian Tycoon.

What else is this about?: Asia MacKay proves to be a singular talent in writing about all the things first-time mothers might be insecure about, along with super-secret spy stuff, and injecting her book with a ton of heart and humour.

Blurb

For trail-blazing women everywhere!

Every working mum has had to face it.

The guilt-fuelled, anxiety-filled first day back in the office after maternity leave.

But this working mum is one of a kind.

Meet Alexis Tyler.

An elite covert agent within Her Majesty’s Secret Service.

Her first project back is a high-stakes hit of global significance and the old boys network of government espionage is far from ready for the return of an operational mother. But woe betide anyone who ever tells Alexis Tyler ‘you can’t’.

She will have it all. Or she’ll die trying . . .

And yes, she damn well will be home for bath time.

Stars: 5/5

Killing It is a hilariously laugh-out-loud take on motherhood that will provide some comfort because even you’re a badass assassa-mum, you’re still going to be as insecure and nervous you might cause your months-old baby irreparable harm if you don’t let her self-soothe and feed her straightaway.

When I say this is funny, I think I might be underselling it, in all honesty.

Allow me to introduce you to Lex, assassa-mum

Lex is an assassin, or an agent in the Platform, the most secret of secret agencies who uses the London tube and the platforms there as an entrance to their offices. They use the buskers to send messages to their agents, as well as the graffiti on the platforms to do the same.

And, this is the world Lex is returning to after her maternity leave.

Lex is badass, but she’s also a mum to Gigi, and not at all confident that leaving her kid is the right thing to do while, she is at the same time confident she needs to go back to work to be able to appreciate what she has with Gigi and her husband Will.

Asia Mackay is a mother of four and delightfully skewers everything about motherhood, while managing to impress me with how much she walks this fine line between that and humour through putting Lex smack dab in the middle of a case that means she has to infiltrate the world of Yummy Mummies, Parent’s Associations and activities that have the word “Baby” in front of it, and are stupidly expensive. And also make no sense.

Lex is slightly bewildered at motherhood — and how much she loves it, and wants to be back at the work at the same time. This is a character that is open about her insecurities especially to herself, and her worries and her anger at the bullshit she has to put up with at work because she happens to be a mother –– and the only female agent who has had a kid and is back at work. The rest of the parents at the agency are male — but with females and mothers, it’s always different.

I mean, Lex has to Google whether breast milk leaves behind DNA on her first mission back because she forgot to put her breast pads into the tight breaking-and-entering outfit the agency provides, so this isn’t exactly going to be filled with the spies, action and everything else you’d expect from a novel where a British secret agency is trying to prevent Russia from taking over the world.

And let’s not forget Will, the husband

He is blessedly normal and with Gigi is an oasis for Lex from the whirlwind of her secret agent life. She freely admits she never thought normal life would be for her, but that the right man changed things for her, as did Gigi. I wondered if he would play a bigger part in this book, but he didn’t, and as much as I thought I would grow tired of Will not knowing about her real life, it eventually clicked for me, this is about motherhood, and everything a woman (Lex) experiences going back to work, and you know what? It’s okay that Will is so utterly normal. That’s what Lex needs.

There is a plot, I promise

Of all the things Lex expected when she got back to work, using Gigi as her weapon to infiltrate a circle of Yummy Mummies to get close to a Russian tycoon’s wife who is helping them arrange her husband’s death would not be anywhere near the top 10 of things she thought she’d be doing. But that’s exactly what she has to do — learn all the secrets and lies that Yummy Mummies only share with each other, and take Gigi to a drop at a gymnastics class, where the USB she’s after gets corrupted by a kid’s slobber.

See, this isn’t like any spy novel you’ve read before.

But Assassa-mum has an assassination to plan. And as she’s the HBIC calling all the shots and planning everything, there’s an extra pressure on her to get everything right because she’s a mother now and has to prove herself all over again — sound familiar?

And then, she begins to suspect someone is lying to her on this mission…

Killing It is one of the best books I’ve read this year. Asia Mackay has taken the familiar trials of being a mother, dropped them into a world you’d expect a James Bond to inhabit, added a ton of humour and this excellent, engaging commentary on motherhood and the trials tribulations and sheer unadultrated  joy of it all.

Assassa-Mum rules.

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