NOTES FROM THE UNDERBELLY by Risa Green

NOTES FROM THE UNDERBELLY

Email this review

KIRKUS REVIEW

Debut fiction that’s a cut above the usual chick-lit fare, with a bright, edgy narrator and an up-to-date feel for the LA scene.

Lara Stone is a counselor at Bel Air Prep whose job depends on getting the often bratty children of the rich and famous into the colleges of their choice. She’s pressured by her boss to work with the punk daughter of a famous film director to raise her SAT scores and get her into a good college. The parents, big donors to the school, threaten to pull out if their daughter, Tick, doesn’t shape up. While trying to befriend this sullen teenager, Lara adjusts to the enviable fact that her own best friend, Julie, is pregnant and that her law-school classmate Stacey is dating a divorced man with a two-year-old. Soon enough, Lara herself is facing motherhood. She gives a blow-by-blow description of the discomforts and ego knocks of pregnancy, from gaining weight and “Starting to Show,” to needing maternity clothes and having her first hemorrhoid. She joins Yourbaby.com for weekly updates, tries to convince her ob/gyn to give her a C-section because she’s afraid of labor pain, and argues with her husband over the baby’s name. Meanwhile, Lara’s boss says she’ll let her work half-time for a year if she gets Tick into NYU. (Lara also sees Julie on a reality-TV show that films her before, during, and after childbirth.) By the end, when Lara no longer fits into the driver’s seat of her Mercedes convertible, she’s developed a fondness for Tick and is ready to give birth to a daughter of her own. Too bad Green didn’t ditch Lara’s talking dog Zoey and the silly puns—“Sticks and Stones May Break My Bones but Baby Names Will Kill Me”—used as chapter titles throughout.

Still, a breezy, easy-reading account of expectant motherhood in the land of celebrity piques and perks.

Pub Date: April 5th, 2005
ISBN: 0-451-21416-1
Page count: 272pp
Publisher: NAL/Berkley
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1st, 2005