Love is Contagious

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Laughter, like love, is the most contagious thing.
Before Helen was a mother she was a force to be reckoned with. They called her Hells and she didn’t care what anybody thought of her.

But now she’s caught a very severe case of self-doubt and she struggles to remember who that confident person was. Everyone’s a critic when you’re a mother, and Helen can’t seem to do right for doing wrong with Alfie, her son.

She isn’t helped by the fact her ‘partner’ Richard is suffering some kind of mid-life crisis and is worse than useless when it comes to helping out with Alfie. Her friends aren’t much better, and she feels like she is being constantly judged – and found wanting – by her NCT group, in particular by their leader, Deborah ‘The She-Devil’ Parkin. Bullied into meek submission, Helen finds herself unable to resist a life of playdates, Mumsnet, and chicken pox parties. Which wasn’t what she signed up for in the first place.

Love is Contagious introduces us to the darkly sarcastic, brilliantly observed voice of Helen Carter, a voice which remains well-hidden at the start of the story, but which begins to break through to the surface the longer the stream-of-consciousness narrative progresses. By turns humorous and moving, the story explores how Hells regains her voice and discovers her own method of bringing up baby.

By A. J. Kirby, the author of other comedy shorts including ‘Bed Peace’, and the novel ‘Things Won’t Fix’.