In 30 vignettes, the author relates her wacky experiences raising two young daughters.
As the mother of two preternaturally spunky girls, Dineen (The Reinvention of Mimi Finnegan, 2016, etc.) has her hands full vacuuming up Legos, answering her daughters’ probing questions about adult body parts, and shuttling them between Costco’s restrooms and the food court. Not to mention the travails she endured during her pregnancies: several miscarriages and devastating postpartum depression. The author relates her struggles to keep fit and put together while juggling motherhood with a healthy dose of self-deprecating humor about how much of a shambles she is. She navigates the treacherous waters of child-rearing with hilarity: considering whether to curse around the kids, scolding them when they yell out inappropriate things about others in public, and dealing with her fears of letting her daughters roam unattended, along with other anxieties. One particular standout tale begins by chattily explaining her neurotic need for organization and transitions into talking about how immobilized she is as she waits for the results of her husband’s biopsy. The writing is light and propulsive—a quick read that conveys the sense that Dineen just scribbled down the words in between Costco runs. That immediacy is refreshing, but it can make a few stories come off as inarticulate or flip. Take an ill-advised dialogue between the author and a customer-service rep with a strong Indian accent: “Bob: Akbar, junkdoo, doodly, remote access, alacazam, Wheatknee. Me: Um, yes, that would be fine. Bob: Sidhartha doodly dingly dung, Wheatknee. Okay, Wheatknee?” Though there are moments of earnestness, the pieces are mostly written like punchy stand-up comedy bits, with laugh lines propelled mostly by scatological humor that may delight some readers and put off others. (On picking her nose: “I was having a heck of a time rooting that sucker out before I hit traffic and was two knuckles deep before I even noticed my friend’s husband drive past me.”)
A breezy collection of tell-all stories about the trials of raising children that can feel dashed off but often hits its humorous marks.