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Submitted Literature

The Mother and Daughter Diaries

By Clare Shaw


Clare Shaw was a Speech and Language Therapist before turning her attentions to writing, and has published widely in the fields of child health. It is unsurprising therefore that she should write a novel concerning adolescent mood and eating disorder. Told in the alternative perspectives of 16 year old Jo and her mother Lizzie, this novel gives insights into anorexia through the eyes of both sufferer and carer. Jo finds life spiralling out of control during puberty while Lizzie is preoccupied with her ex-husband and his new wife. Jo attempts to regain control via list writing and ultimately vast restriction of her food intake. Their mutual concerns are eventually resolved with the help of mysterious online therapist Lily. This novel falls loosely into the genre of 'chick lit'.

Key Themes:

  • Childhood / Adolescence
  • Eating Disorders

Significant Quotes / Pages

59 - "Every step was an effort, like I'd already walked ten miles or something. I folded my arms across my aching breasts. As if I could stop them getting bigger. I felt messy and grubby and infected. I had a disease I didn’t want and the only cure was to travel backwards in time.”

155 – “But then food had always been the barrier, not the aim. I realised I needed another aim: To be in control of my life.”

246 – “Although deep down I knew there had been some progress with Jo, I still couldn’t settle my mind because it was all moving too slowly for me. I desperately wanted the old Jo back right now, as if nothing had happened. I wanted her to wake up one morning, tell me she was better and tuck into a big bowl of cornflakes.”  

Reference: Clare, Shaw. 2008. The Mother and Daughter Diaries. Mira, 2008


- Charley Baker
Date Review Submitted: Monday 5th October 2009