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October 15th, 2006

Reviewed today:

You might want to just run out now and buy a handful of UglyDolls, because once you finish reading Jennifer Weiner’s latest, Goodnight Nobody, you will want to get your mitts on one. Or in my case, three or four, because who can pick just one? They’re so pitifully ugly. (UglyDoll Babo is a prominent character in the book.)

I started out thinking I wanted to post a full review of this book, but I hadn’t read anything about it before I cracked it open and I’m glad I didn’t. I hate spoilers, don’t you? So let’s leave it at this — It’s about a mom. And her kids. Her best friend. And her husband, who really? Needs to be paying a bit more attention to his wife and the homefront. And then we have our little friend, UglyDoll Babo, in his crocheted pink bikini and other attire. It’s a great book — you’ll love it. I’ve enjoyed all of Jennifer Weiner’s books, but this one was my favorite. (If you’re a writer, or an aspiring writer, check out the “For Writers” section on her website — it’s full of tips.)

I also just finished Anne Tyler’s latest, Digging to America. Tyler has always gotten a bad rap, as far as I’m concerned. A prof of mine once dismissed her books as “domestic novels.” As if to say, “Families, blech.” Go talk to Tolstoy, would you? Or Shakespeare. Or Tennessee Williams. And can we please get the phrase “chicklit” the hell out of the room? Don’t be dismissive, it makes you look like a jerk. (Weiner makes jokes about “all the books with the pink covers” throughout “Goodnight Nobody” and it cracked me up.)

I’ve read probably half of Tyler’s work and have been moved by all that I’ve read (especially The Accidental Tourist and Back When We Were Grownups). “Digging to America,” which is about two families — one Euro-American and one Iranian-American — who adopt baby girls from Korea, is her finest novel to date. I loved it, and my mom did, too. After she finished reading it, we held an impromptu book club, just the two of us, over the phone. My mom, who is so proud of Wacky Girl (don’t hate her because she reads ahead two grade levels. heeheehee) and Wacky Boy, who started reading this week.

My boy reads. My girl reads. My husband, when I shove a book at him, reads, too. (His real love is non-fiction and political writing. And anything about hockey, natch.) My mom taught me to read, and write, and I love her for that. My dad, who pretty much bombed at school, loved Steinbeck and got lost in books.

You think it’s easy, writing about family life? Go try it. Chicklit my foot. Happy writing, and reading.



PS — Even though I’ve just started reading Wicked: The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West, by Gregory Maguire, I’m giving it two thumbs-up. Funny, and a little scary, and the language is great.


  1. leslie says

    Hi, Wacky Mommy,
    Thanks for the ad! You are wonderful. And thanks for the reviews and the link to Jennifer Weiner’s site. She’s really good–I’ll have to spend more time on her advice.
    Also, my revised site is up. Take a look if you get a chance.

    October 16th, 2006 | #

  2. edj says

    I have enjoyed several Anne Tyler books, although there were a couple I didn’t like. I’ll have to look for these–they all sound awesome. But what and why UglyDolls?

    October 16th, 2006 | #

  3. Wacky Mommy says

    UglyDolls are snuggly goodness.

    October 16th, 2006 | #

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