A comical glimpse at the perils of motherhood in L.A.
Lara Stone, the lovable misanthrope, makes a return appearance in Green’s second novel (Notes from the Underbelly, 2005, followed Lara through pregnancy). Motherhood simply isn’t the joyous experience Lara expected. She desperately misses her prestigious job as a prep-school guidance counselor and doesn’t feel an intuitive bond with her daughter, Parker. After struggling alone at home for the first few weeks, Lara enlists help. She seeks advice from her seasoned mommy-friend, hires a full-time nanny and joins the hottest mom’s-support group in L.A. Still, Lara lags behind when it comes to mastering the art of parenting. Lara’s quick to share the blame of her failings with her kooky nanny and her distracted husband. Things get crazier for Lara when her estranged father shows up wanting to reunite the family after a decade-long absence. Lara frantically tries to adhere to the flood of advice coming her way, but she just can’t seem to sort out this motherhood business. Her lack of maternal skills becomes the stuff of legend during a trip to the grocery store. Parker has an explosive poop, and, of course, Lara has failed to properly stock her diaper bag. This diarrhea scene is a marvelous example of the funny and the horrible happening to a hapless heroine. The other L.A. moms (dubbed “Mommunists”) find her insouciance toward child-rearing astounding. She doesn’t have the right stroller or the correct toys and—gasp!—she wants to go back to work. The Mommunists have made it their mission to sacrifice their individual dreams in order to prepare their children for the very best preschools. To a Mommunist, the thought of going back to the office is heretical. Green adroitly makes the reader cheer Lara as she learns to trust her instincts and blaze her own path.
Green’s biting wit shines through Lara’s tangles with working-mom guilt and the horrors of the baby blues.