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I’ve seen only five star reviews of her book (probably fans) on other sites , but here, mostly negative reviews. So, what’s the truth? I listened to find out. As usual with two extremes the truth is in the middle. Knepper is a clever writer. She’s not often laugh-out-loud funny but she will keep you smiling. Only rarely does she come across as trying too hard to be cute. Parents of young or recently young children looking to commiserate over the stress of the job, especially moms, should enjoy this book.
I came to this book wary. I expected the self-satisfied prattling of an ex-cheerleader ex-sorority girl (Knepper proves you can do either/both and not lose your soul.) trashing motherhood for the sake of cheap laughs. It’s not that. I expected highly irreverent, bordering on irresponsible, takes on parenting in the name of comedy. It’s not that either. Knepper had the guts (okay, chutzpah) to narrate her own material and does a competent job. Some will complain her voice is too perky or annoying but it’s her, it’s genuine, and that grows on you. She knows exactly how her writing should sound which we know is rare for many author narrators. She mostly writes about how hard it is to be a good mom and how the job will drive anyone nuts if they’re doing it correctly. It is absolutely clear that she really cares for her kids. I can’t possibly disrespect that.
It’s not JUST about parenting. She starts with a riff on difficult menstrual cycles & clueless men or how guys talk too much about their favorite body part, (ironic given that the very *next* chapter is all about girl body parts.) cleaning toilets (for some cheap potty humor - very literally), and quitting smoking, among things.
You learn she’s a relatively mature parent who became a mom after a decade or so of career. Born in 70, she’s a generation Xer and calls herself a “technophobe” trying to sound like the airhead she’s not and was clearly an early adopter of the Internet and social media, long before Facebook. She fully embraces her generation’s slang in her writing.
I didn’t get over my suspicions about Knepper as a decent soul until the chapter she wrote on the need to learn to “effing cook”. That humanized her. She eventually admits to several flaws which ultimately make her easy to relate to as just a normal person and not just a self-consciously clever one. That she gave up a career to be a full time mom and talks of skimping and cutting corners to make it on her husband’s salary makes her all the more endearing.
Not all her bits are home runs. One essay imagining her own son’s thoughts as he manipulates a waitress using cuteness in that way children learn to do to try to get a better dessert goes on too long. A few times I wished her rants bit “rantier” and more extreme. There's nothing too shocking or outrageous here.
However, more often than not, she tells it like it is. If you worry that your child is weird. (Doesn’t every parent at some point?) you will be able to relate to the weirdness she describes in her son. The battles described between siblings are also classic.
Overall there was less swearing and less drinking than expected while still being legion. Her parody of the “lice letter” that invariably all parents of primary age children receive from school is very funny. Her talk on “effing game night” and “field day” are some of her most powerful writing which she saves for last.
She’s most human when she explains relying on comfort food and cheap wine, to help her through the stresses of parenthood. I’d compare her to Erma Bombeck but I never read any Erma Bombeck. I can say Knepper is a mother and writer with soul. If you find parenting stressful (and you aren’t normal if you don’t) this book will give you a few laughs and help you to feel less isolated. I don’t recommend this book for those who have never been parents but are absolutely certain they could do the job better than the rest of us because we know you’re living in a fantasy world which has no basis in the day-to-day reality of parenting described in this book.
7 of 8 people found this review helpful
An absolute belly laugh kinda book! Don't listen to it in a quiet office if you don't want people to think you are crazy!! I busted out laughing so many times!!! Loved it and related to it!!!
2 of 2 people found this review helpful