As a woman used to traveling and living the high life in Bangkok, Leanne Shirtliffe recognized the constant fodder for humor while pregnant with twins in Asia's sin city. But in spite of deep-fried bug cuisine and nurses who cover newborn bassinets with plastic wrap, Shirtliffe manages to keep her babies alive for a year with help from a Coca-Cola deliveryman, several waitresses, and a bra factory. Then she and her husband return home to the isolation of North American suburbia.
In Don't Lick the Minivan, Shirtliffe captures the bizarre aspects of parenting in her edgy, honest voice. She explores the hazards of everyday life with children such as:
The birthday party where neighborhood kids took home skin rashes from the second-hand face paint she applied
The time she discovered her twins carving their names into her minivan's paint with rocks
The funeral she officiated for "Stripper Barbie"
The horror of glitter
And much more!
A delayed encounter with postpartum depression helps Shirtliffe to realize that even if she can't teach her kids how to tie their shoelaces, she's a good enough mom. At least good enough to start saving for her twins' college - eh, therapy - fund. And possibly her own. Crisply written, Don't Lick the Minivan will have parents laughing out loud and nodding in agreement. Shirtliffe's memoir might not replace a therapist, but it is a lot cheaper.
Raising newborn twins in Bangkok wasn't easy, but it was certainly colorful, according to Leanne Shirtliffe's raucously entertaining memoir. From eating deep-fried bugs to entangling with her blunt French hairdresser, Shirtliffe describes parenting abroad with a snappy zest, which is matched by Trudie Kessler, who lends a breezy tone to Shirtliffe's witty observations, ranging from astonishment to self-deprecation. Her examination of post-partum depression interjects a needed dose of poignancy, as does her self-described "sappy" realizations on the joy of motherhood. The locale may be different, but parents will find similarly relatable and hilarious experiences in Don't Lick the Minivan.
"Leanne Shirtliffe writes with hilarity and poignancy as to the trials and pains (literally) of motherhood. She is our new Erma Bombeck!" (Elizabeth Boyle, New York Times best-selling author)
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I Guess You Had to Be There?
- Joan S. Montegary