19 Sep

Book Review: Theo Gallas Always Gets Her Man, by Kristen Panzer

Theo Gallas Always Gets Her Man – Kristen Panzer

This was a free download, in which a trainee lactation consultant juggles family, a neighbourhood mystery, and voluntary breastfeeding support of an unusually medicalised nature. It is not clear how or when she does her training, but she shares her knowledge readily and always carries a pair of latex gloves with her with which to do a quick mouth exam (not something a fully qualified and experienced NCT Breastfeeding Counsellor is likely to do).

I can empathise with a lot of the encounters and reflections, like dropping in for a quick visit and spending a couple of hours with a new mother, feeling out of your depth in the face of a baby who mysteriously does not feed, and so on; but the tale does not seem to include a great deal of counselling skill or reflection on boundaries.

It is an amusing novelty to read fiction based within my own industry, but I found some of the language subtly judgemental. More shocking is the chapter in which a woman comes for help and Thea – a trainee – leaps straight to an extreme level of directive help: “let’s just try this my way, okay?” waxes lyrical over the attractiveness of the client’s breasts, and compounds all this with use of the term “breastaurant.” I put the kindle down and pressed my head against the table. This is not how one would expect a breastfeeding supporter to behave.

This book was not terribly badly written, but did have a clangingly obvious plot and too many narrative-filling supplementary characters. It’s a fun exploration of the world of breastfeeding support, but I’m not sure that that, in itself, is a great subject for fiction.