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Sunday Book Review: “Best Friends Forever,” Jennifer Weiner; “Bump It Up: Transform Your Pregnancy Into the Ultimate Style Statement,” by Amy Tara Koch; “My Baby Book,” by Amy Krouse Rosenthal

April 11th, 2010

Reading this week:

Jennifer Weiner is an old, old friend of mine. I’ve never met her in person, but I just feel like we’re buds cuz I’ve read all of her books since she first started out. Yes, I do have a girl crush on her! If she asked me out on a date, for example, I would say yes right away. I like her style, her novels, her characters, the plotting, the way she puts a good wrap on all of it and doesn’t overlook any details.

I bristle at the whole “chick lit” label because it’s rude to relegate women into a nice little box and not let us out. We are complex individuals, we women are, and even more so, those of us who feel compelled to write. So there.

On the acknowledgments page for her latest book, “Best Friends Forever,” she ends by dedicating it, “…and to all of my readers, who’ve come with me this far.” I’m all, You’re welcome. (Atria Books, 2009, $27, 362 pages.)

OK, on to the book. Two friends, the volatile Valerie Adler and the sweet Addie Downs. They had a huge blow-up, about a trauma that may or may not have happened, and suddenly… it’s 15 years later. Time for the high school reunion, and Valerie may (or may not) have killed one of their former schoolmates. Who may (or may not) have deserved it. I read this book in two days at the beach, it was just a good romp, right down to the frustrated police detective and a cast of minor characters who keep you turning the pages. Weiner has a little bit of a Joyce Carol Oates kinda thing going on with this one, and I liked it.

“Bump It Up,” by Amy Tara Koch (Random House/Ballantine Books, 2010, $18, 187 pages) showed up in the mail a few weeks back. Immediately all of my girlfriends assumed I was pregnant. Which, you know. They should flippin’ know is physically impossible for me at this point. (And all I can say to thank is, Thank you Jesus and modern science.) All of my girlfriends are a little distractible, I guess. Maybe that’s why they all forgot to send flowers after. Except for Zip, Zip always, always, always comes through. And MamaToo. OK, I did get cards, and food, what am I doing, four months later, bitchin’ like this? But I digress.

You know the type of pregnancy/motherhood (not parenthood, motherhood) book where you’re supposed to look around at all the other chicks in the room and say, I am just so much hotter than her! Etc.? This is that type of book. The end.

“My Baby Book,” the latest by Amy Krouse Rosenthal (Random House/Crown Publishing, 2010, $16.99) is a sweet journal for baby’s first year. I especially liked the intro note where the author says, “this book uses the ‘mom and dad’ paradigm, but we hope the many single families, two-mom families and two-dad families will enjoy this book just the same (and make the text adjustments accordingly).” Nice touch, that.

I like baby books, scrap books, journals, etc. that are pretty, handsome, whatever, but not too precious, y’know? A lot of us (not your girl Wacky Mommy, obviously, but many people) sit in front of a journal, computer screen, scrap of paper and freeze up. This is why, for example, I don’t know how my paternal grandparents met — no one wrote it down. (I do know how my ma’s parents met — she stole him from another girl. “Another gal,” as she would have put it. “My friend said, ‘Oh, he doesn’t like her, anyway, you should go out with him!’” Classic.)

This book begs to be scribbled in, taped up, written on. Sections include “my folks (pre-me),” “precious mementos (emphasis on me!),” and “my gallery of firsts.” Excellent book.

Happy reading!

– wm

1 Comment

  1. Nan says

    Oooh, BFF looks like my kinda holiday reading… If I can just ever get through the Garcia Marquez Biography before the next holidays…

    April 12th, 2010 | #

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