Mother, Can You Not? is a memoir by the woman who released those text messages that went viral, in which her overbearing mother continually gives out her daughter’s phone number to every man in sight in order to fix her up. I’ve never had much luck with these blogs turned into books because they often seem to rehash the same material. I figured this would be another one of those S*** My Dad Says collections. But it’s very highly rated on Goodreads and free through my library so I thought I’d give it a shot.
I was very pleasantly surprised. You do not need to like or have even heard of the author’s blog in order to like this book. Because here’s the thing about the text messages. They make her mother look crazy (I’m not saying she isn’t) but what you learn in the book is how awesome her mother is. The woman moved Hollywood in the 1970s. Started with writing porn to pay the bills. Now she’s a producer, a director and overall very successful woman in a male-dominated industry. She marched against Vietnam and for women’s right when she was younger. She raised her daughter to believe that she literally could do anything. As result of her “drone mom” (because that’s more intense than helicopter mom) style of parenting, her daughter has a fantastic education from Princeton and a career of her own.
The book is not just a collection of text messages. Each chapter starts with an example screenshot of a text and then a story that links up to it. One of my favorite stories involves her being forcefully evacuated due to a hurricane, and then convincing some poor fireman to sneak her back in to the neighborhood to save her pets, too. And yes, of course, she got his phone number for her daughter.