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A Journal of My Son's First Year

by Anne Lamott

Pub Date: May 1st, 1993
ISBN: 0-679-42091-6
Publisher: Pantheon

Novelist Lamott (All New People, 1989, etc.) nimbly plunders stores of self-mockery in her role as a new mother and single parent. Born August 29, 1989, baby Sam is "like moonlight," and wastes no time in stealing his mother's heart with his beauty and his thin, "Christlike" feet. He and Lamott have thoroughly bonded by the time he turns into a colicky, crying, angry evening storm. Here, in regular journal entries, the author follows Sam's progress, fears for her milk supply, hates her thighs--which slap together with postpartum sag--and worries that she may be headed for collapse. She decides, in short, to give him back--to wherever he came from. He may be a baby, but he's scum. Still, Sam remains an endearing and veritable presence in these pages, but he's continuously upstaged by Lamott's wry efforts to get a grip on her ever-wavering self-esteem and her unwillingness to engage in any truth-varnishing when it comes to the ever-so-bumpy road of mothering. Through it all, Lamott's surrounded by a crazy quilt of loving folk who make the latter-day nuclear family seem quaint. Even so, the author occasionally laments that pivotal problem of single parenthood: that if she always knows where the baby is, it's because she's usually the only one around to hold him. Throughout, Lamott provides a sense of ordinary domesticity, interrupted and then rendered extraordinary by moments of peripatetic musings. One need not be a new parent to appreciate Lamott's glib and gritty good humor in the face of annihilating weariness. She'll nourish fans with her entries, and give birth to new ones as well.