Wednesday, March 28, 2012

MOMumental: Adventures in the Messy Art of Raising a Family, by Jennifer Grant

Overview (from NetGalley): MOMumental is a foray into the enormously amusing, creative, and taxing process of raising a family and a starkly honest memoir that mothers everywhere can identify with. With narrative that is chock-full of humorous, poignant stories drawn from her everyday adventures as a mother and wife, Grant presents an entertaining and inspirational book that will give readers uncommon insights about being an intentional parent.

Review: First of all, what's great —no, wonderful— about this book: mothers everywhere will feel in good company. The book begins by confirming the fact that we, as mothers, all go through the same things: the same experiences, the same self-doubts, the same moments of exasperation, tiredness, and loneliness, and the same moments when we all think that we are the only ones who have a child misbehaving, disobeying, waking up at night, talking back... and well, you can fill in the blanks. It is a great book that offers solidarity and hope. "We all go through it" and "Don't worry, it gets better" are wonderful, encouraging phrases we need to hear, and the author not only tells us, but shows us, through her own experiences raising her 4 children, that this is true. That just because your toddler laughs when somebody falls down doesn't mean he or she will grow up to be an insensitive adult, or just because your toddler lies to you today doesn't mean he or she will grow up to be a pathological liar. That is great. You've probably heard it before, but in this book you will see proof of it, great examples, stories, that will definitely put your mind at ease. It's like talking to a good friend, sharing your doubts and worries with a friend who has gone through it and can offer you advice.
However, I thought that, although the book was certainly funny at times, it wasn't as funny as the author and her editors thought it would be. You know how it is when you tell a cute, funny story about your kid only to realize midway through that maybe it was funny to you because it's your kid? Or that maybe you had to be there to really "get it"? That's exactly how I felt when reading some of her stories. Sometimes it felt like walking in on an inside joke. Also, I thought it was too long, a few chapters too long, which made it repetitive.
But all in all, it is a good parenting book, with good advice and personal stories. I did not agree with quite a few things, but those things and approaches I agreed with will be put to the test with my son soon enough.

3 out of 5 stars

*I received a copy of this book from Worthy Publishing through NetGalley in exchange of an honest review.

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