Aussie Book Review: Peace, Love and Khaki Socks by Kim Lock

Peace, Love and Khaki Socks
My Rating:                     5 / 5
Format:                         e-Book courtesy of Kim Lock
Publication:                   1st May 2013
ISBN:                             9780987380913
Publisher:                      MidnightSun Publishing
Extent:                           333 pages
RRP:                              $24.99

The Blurb

“One sultry October morning in Darwin, hemp-wearing army wife Amy Silva grips a trembling fist around two pink lines on a plastic stick. Struggling to come to terms with her rampant fertility, disillusioned with a haughty obstetrician, and infuriated by an inordinate amount of peeing, Amy finds solace in a decision to homebirth. After all, it worked for the cavewomen, right? But as a tropical cyclone threatens to whip down the main street, Amy finds herself facing more than biology.

Peace, Love and Khaki Socks explores what it is to be a woman, an expectant mother, a lover and a friend in a patriarchy. Sometimes horrifying, sometimes hilarious and always honest, this unforgettable story is one woman’s struggle to turn the ordinary into something extraordinary.”

Summary and Thoughts

How can two pink lines on a plastic stick cause so much havoc in your life?

With my focus over the last few months being on a lot of deeper and more emotional reading, it has been a long while since I read a novel that gave me so many laugh-out-loud moments, but Kim Lock, through her protagonist, Amy, certainly provided me with a true sense of escapism, even though the subject matter at hand is not laughable and is a very important one for any woman contemplating motherhood.

Having moved inter-state from Victoria to be with Dylan, her childhood sweetheart, partner and Army soldier, Amy has lived in Darwin for the past four years but is still unable to fit in – I still felt swamped and out of place amongst the air kisses, delighted squeals of recogni­tion and the continuous pomp pomp pomp of the army band on parade” and as with everyone’s life, friendships are a matter of choice and hers is to not bother herself with the “Army Wife Mob” while feeling consistently out of place - after all, she’s a hemp-wearing, meditating, organic food loving “army wife” content with just Dylan and her Darwinian born and bred best friend Hannah and a few other select people in her life.

But things are about to change – if Dylan is her “oasis” then Hannah may well turn out to be her “nemesis”, or is it the other way around!

Amy takes us on a hilarious, albeit candid journey of the trials and tribulations of pregnancy and childbirth.  When she finds herself at twenty-four years of age holding that little plastic stick showing two pink lines, trying to triumph over the rampant emotions she feels over a moment that most women look forward to, for Amy it sounds a death knell and her whole world appears to shatter, even more so when she is left feeling bewildered after her visit to the GP in which hints of dating scans and antenatal blood tests abound and she realises that she knows absolutely nothing about pregnancy.

Seeking out Hannah, Amy is surprised to learn that her best friend knows more about pregnancy and the abundant acronyms than she does, while Dylan, knowing about as much as Amy, tries his best to understand and offer support in an unplanned situation. 
With a signed twelve-month work contract looming over her head and Dylan’s impending departure for a six week exercise in Malaysia, Amy finally plucks up the courage to make an appointment for her confirmation scan followed by a telephone call to her mother to share her news.

A woman on a search for empowerment and confidence along with revelations by another friend Trish with regard to hospital deliveries and induction failures (enough to make any newly pregnant woman run a mile), and with Dylan having already left for Malaysia, Amy continues to feel totally out of her league, even more so by the cold, almost clinical treatment of her condition by Dr Lavina after which, over a cup of coffee, Hannah discloses her own tragic secret.

What follows is Amy’s account of the remainder of her pregnancy, her foray into the technicalities involved in home-birthing, Dylan’s initial dismissal of the whole idea of home-birthing, her feelings of hurt and anger over Hannah’s indifference towards her, the foolishness of a woman (possibly as a result of too many pregnancy hormones raging through her body) as she endangers the life of both herself and her baby in a daring dash through a monstrous Darwin cyclone, and then, a fabulous midwife who takes Amy on a journey to a wonderful birth sequence where we finally get to see her obtaining the fulfilment she has been seeking.

While Amy drew much sympathy from me over her uncertainties, along with the lack of necessary family support required at times like these, due to hers living so far from her and her partner frequently performing patriotic duties for our country, I felt that her lack of interest in learning more and the total shunning of the traditional hospital birthing system was extreme.  But, this is Amy’s journey!

Although I have no knowledge of the procedures involved in pregnancy and childbirth in Australia, I am well aware that home-birthing in South Africa is not too widely embraced - the medical profession preferring to have emergency assistance close at hand - but there are private hospitals that will consider alternative birthing practices in a more relaxed (albeit hospital) environment.  While I may have contemplated home birthing for my own first pregnancy, I soon changed my mind after attending a few antenatal classes and my husband’s subtle reminder that I’m a known sook when it comes to pain and I can say in all honesty that my first experience is one which I would not like to re-live, thanks to the self-inflicted pain caused by my determination to go through it with no pain relief – a situation which, I might add, was short-lived as I admitted defeat and called for an epidural.

In saying this though, I also had the most amazing Obstetrician, who allowed me to explore all my options before making my final decision.  He truly was very patient, most forthcoming and warm, and in no way made me feel like I was just another pregnant woman, so it irked me that Amy’s first obstetric experience was mired by such an arrogant, impersonal woman such as Dr Lavina and it’s no wonder she decided to explore another option.

This is an entertaining debut by author Kim Lock, one with well-developed and personable characters, situations that this reviewer could truly relate along with a well-balanced amount of humour and real-life issues, culminating in a very satisfying and heart-warming conclusion.  Of course, for those of you venturing out on that wonderful path to motherhood, remember that this is a work of fiction and, with birthing options remaining an extremely personal choice (and not to be taken lightly), be prepared to read with an open mind.

My thanks goes to Kim Lock for providing me with an e-Book of this, her first novel, and I look forward to reading more from this author who quite clearly has a great sense of humour.

Here's a sneak peek:

A Little About the Author

After growing up in country South Australia, Kim Lock has lived in Darwin, Melbourne and Canberra, and now resides on home soil in Adelaide with her military husband and their two young children. It was after having her children that Kim found the urge to write in earnest.

Some experience as a breastfeeding counsellor saw her develop an interest in maternal psychology, and Kim is now working towards her degree.

Kim has spent over a decade working in advertising, and although she has been writing her whole life, Peace, Love and Khaki Socks is her first novel.


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