I like to read funny memoirs and autobiographies, especially by funny ladies, but I never purchase these books because they’re such quick reads. I hate spending $10 to $15 on a book (and it’s always new, you can never find these at Half Price Books) that I will finish in an afternoon and likely never read again, even if it was fun to read. Therefore, I usually borrow these books from my lovely sister, who has similar taste in the funny-ladies-and-occasionally-dudes-write-books genre. Sadly, she doesn’t purchase ever single book I want to read (something about paying her bills), so this weekend…I went a little nuts at the library and borrowed like eight books in the same vein, and read three over the weekend (see?). So my apologies that my next few reviews are going to be on rather similar subjects.
First up: Nia Vardalos’s Instant Mom, which I found funny and sad and very powerful. I love Nia Vardalos — I think she’s smart and witty and she just seems like a nice person. Everything I like about My Big Fat Greek Wedding (one of my favorite movies), I found in this book: Vardalos makes you laugh and cry and want to give her a hug. Her writing varies between funny and touching and I loved every word of it.
Instant Mom describes Vardalos’s experiences with the following: trying to get pregnant naturally, spending months and months doing IVF — even two attempts with a surrogate — unsuccessfully, her constant depression about her situation (often compounded by nosy women trying to give advice), her and husband (the wonderful Ian Gomez)’s acceptance that adoption might be the right choice for them, months of unsuccessfully sitting on adoption waiting lists, her decision to “let it be”, and finally, the phone call that brought them their 3 year old daughter. Then things got difficult.
Vardalos describes their first months with their daughter, who at the age of three was not potty trained, barely spoke and occasionally physically aggressive. They sought advice from professionals and family, and sometimes just went with their guts, and came out the other side a real, bonded family. It was a tough journey, but her honesty about her hopes and fears during this time comes across as inspiring, not bleak. Vardalos seems determined to help others who want to adopt, who can’t find the resources or help that they need to do so. I liked her based on a silly movie before reading this; now I understand what an incredible woman she really is.