This is not a great piece of literature. Our grandchildren won’t be studying it in their Classic Lit classes. It is often silly and ridiculous and predictable and mostly eye-rollingly way beyond reality.
And I enjoyed the hell out of it.
If you aren’t familiar with Bunmi Laditan, she’s a “mommy blogger” and I follow her on Facebook. She makes me laugh because her house is a mess, she has laundry everywhere, her kids complain about what they eat, and she never seems to find time to take a shower. She’ll post a picture of legos on the carpet and cheerios on the floor and hashtag it #blessed. Her life sounds pretty familiar to anyone with little kids, and its always nice to know that someone else is managing life the same way as you.
She’s been in the news (and by news, I mean the internet) a bit lately for her recent post about homework for her elementary school aged daughter, and how it has been causing her anxiety and unnecessary stress. Bunmi wrote a letter to the school administration basically explaining that her daughter won’t be doing homework anymore. And the responses were fascinating — basically half supporting her decision and half thinking she should have social services come and take her children away. (ETA: I just did a quick search about this situation and it looks like she is now homeschooling her kids. Yikes.) Such is the life of a mommy blogger.
Her new novel is pretty much more of the same…new mom Ashley is overwhelmed by being a stay-at-home mom to her almost one year old baby, Aubrey. Her husband, David, has started his own business and it consumes all of his time. Ashley gave up her career to take care of Aubrey, and while she doesn’t regret that decision, she misses social interaction with other adults.
Ashley complains about not being able to make friends, about not being able to lose the baby weight, and about having a messy house. She is semi-obsessed with a mommy blogger (I pictured Jennifer Garner) who seemingly has it all — the perfect family, a gorgeous and clean house, a huge business empire, great hair and clothes, and not an ounce of fat on her. When the blogger announces a “boot camp for moms” contest on her show, Ashley imagines that winning a spot in the group will solve all of her problems and make her life equally as perfect
Now, as anyone who has ever read a Bridget Jones or Becky Bloomwood book knows, you have to read through a lot of ridiculousness to get to the point. And the same goes here. We see Ashley make a lot (IM SERIOUS. SO MANY.) of crazy mistakes and use poor judgement. But Ashley’s heart is in the right place. She loves her husband and her daughter and wants to be her best self for them. And of course, she realizes that being a mom is hard work, and that maybe she isn’t so bad at it after all.
There was very little that surprised me here in terms of plot, but I didn’t really care. I was poking around on Amazon, and saw that this book is selling out as quickly as it is being stocked. I get it. Moms want to know that they aren’t alone, because it often feels like we are. Every decision we make is criticized by someone else and we constantly worry if we are doing the right thing — breastfeeding, sleep methods, vaccination schedules, disposable diapers, cleaning products, sugar, literally everything becomes a subject for debate. I’m glad that someone like Bunmi is out there, taking our worries and concerns and using humor to make us realize that as long as our families are happy and healthy, then what we see on Pinterest and Instagram doesn’t matter.
My PTA book club is reading this for our next meeting, and I have a feeling its going to be a hit. Ashley drinks a lot of wine while obsessing about her mothering, so we’ll feel like sisters in arms as we drink a lot of wine to talk about her.
3 1/2 stars.