by Kelly Denley
Growing up, Kelly Denley had dreamed of the perfect family, and of being the perfect mum, but as the mother of eight she discovered that almost perfect was actually just perfect enough.
After being a full-time wife and mother since the age of 17, by 31 Kelly Denley has lost sight of who she truly is, so when the pregnancy test comes back positive for number eight, she isn’t exactly ecstatic. Then things get a whole lot worse. Postnatal depression takes its toll on Kelly, her father is given just a year to live, her husband is retrenched, one daughter is hospitalised and another on antidepressants and, in a final frightening development, her eldest boy, who suffers from Asperger’s, threatens suicide. Distraught, Kelly blames herself and knows that everything has to change.
As the family gradually find their feet, in a bid to prove she’s more than just a mother, Kelly takes a giant leap out of her comfort zone and dons a school uniform to finish an education cut short by teen pregnancy. The suburban mum, used to sneers about her large brood like ’Don’t you know what causes it?’ blitzes the HSC with an amazing 97.3.
But that, it turns out, is just the start of an incredible journey for the Denleys. Concerned about her children’s school problems and behaviour, Kelly takes dramatic action, putting her university dream on hold so the family can travel Australia for a year in the hope that the experience will draw them closer together. How Kelly tackles both the joy and pain that lie in wait, from discovering the beauty in nature she’d always been too busy to see and mastering the art of home-schooling in a tent, to nearly drowning in a flooded river and more heartache over her children, makes Almost Perfect an inspiring, moving, yet often hilarious rollercoaster ride of a memoir.
“What a gutsy woman. Read this and know that anything is possible if you never give up.” – Susan Duncan, bestselling author of Salvation Creek