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The Monday Night Book Review: “Husband-Coached Childbirth,” “What Your Preschooler Needs to Know” and the “Twilight” series

November 10th, 2008

You know who is an amazing writer? Lois Duncan. And she just has never, ever, ever, gotten her proper respect, as far as this humble reviewer is concerned. More on that in a minute. First off — why am I reviewing in a hodgepodge today? Because it’s my blog, that’s why. No, because I promised books to a reader who is expecting, and before I hand them over, I must review.

I loved “What Your Preschooler Needs to Know,” even though my two are far too grown-up and surly for read-alouds, kiddie drawings and pictures. (Delta Trade Paperbacks, 2008, $15, 203 pages, edited by E.D. Hirsch, Jr., and Linda Bevilacqua.) I loved this book because the poetry is dear, the art is delightful, the stories are appropriate and the tips are helpful. But mostly I loved this book because when you have a newborn, between one to twenty people per day will stop to coo and goo and urge you, misty-eyed, to enjoy it while it lasts because, “They grow up so fast.”

You will perhaps be wearing a vomitty T-shirt when they say this, these sweet-intentioned passers-by, and most likely you will be sleep-deprived. You may have been looking forward to a grown-up lunch with your spouse that for any of a variety of reasons didn’t pan out. (Perhaps spouse was embarrassed to be seen in public with you and blamed a meeting that “suddenly” came up. Perhaps, no matter how carefully you planned and plotted, you could not manage to change into grown-up clothes and drive to the restaurant. Perhaps you missed your train. Perhaps there was a “diaper mishap” and the timing was off.) Whatever the reason, when those nice, unsuspecting adults goo and coo, your first response may be to spit at them and hiss, “Not soon enough.”

Do not do this, kind reader, because they’re right. They are so right.

Next up: “Husband-Coached Childbirth.” (Fifth edition, Bantam, 2008, $17, 360 pages, Robert A. Bradley, M.D.) You know what really helps speed labor along? Childbirth.

Also, tell your partner not to eat peanut butter sandwiches and breathe in your face, because you’ll want to knock them unconscious. I know. Also, tell them to pack toothbrushes, both for you and for themselves.

Also, tell your sister not to send out for pizza. Because if you can’t eat, no one should be able to eat. Did you know that women frequently throw up during labor? And here I thought it was just during the morning sickness part of the pregnancy.

Did you know that you can tell the nurses “NO” when they insist on doing vag exam after vag exam? (“Yeah, still not dilated!”) Tell them to bugger off and go hide in the bathroom. Take your partner in there with you, so they can occasionally scream out, “She’s fine!”

Hmm. I think that’s about all I have to see re: Bradley, natural, unnatural, childbirth in general.

Next: The Twilight series, by Stephenie Meyer. (Little, Brown and Company, 2005, $11, 498 pages.) For some reason I thought Meyer wrote the first in this series ten years ago or so. But no, it was three years ago. Then she wrote three more, in rapid succession, and now she is the Talk of the Town. My students ask for Meyer’s books this way: “Do you have those vampire books?” “Do you have those Stephenie Somebody books?” “You know those ‘Twilight’ books? Why don’t we have them?” “Those books that are set in Forks, Wash.? You know those? Do we have them?”

Me: “No, no and no.”

Then along come the teachers… “I started reading the ‘Twilight’ series, have you started it? It. Is. Amazing.”

Me: “I give.”

I ordered it from Amazon because the hold line at the county library, she was too long. Next thing you know, I’m reading it stop to finish and thinking, Zoot, you were right. (She’s a fan. Also, the post I just linked to has spoilers, so beware!) Students, you were right, and yes I’ll order a few copies. Teachers, dang, no kidding.

You know how much I hate spoilers, so I won’t tell you much more. But when I was reading the book, it felt so familiar to me. That was when I realized that Meyer hooked me the same way Lois Duncan used to hook me, and next thing you know, I’m up all night reading. (My favorite Duncan books, in order: “The Gift of Magic,” “I Know What You Did Last Summer,” “When the Bough Breaks” and “Ransom.”) Man, I love a good book, don’t you?

So. What are you reading?

Reviewed today:


  1. Vixen says

    Darnit all. I am on the list at the library, but it is taking FOREVER. Pretty soon I will be the only person on the planet who has not read the Twilight series.

    November 11th, 2008 | #

  2. wacky cousin says

    The Meyer books, they are like Cheetos. You can’t stop until they’re all gone, then when they are, you cannot beleive you did that. There is really NO nutritional value in those books. But they are a really quick read.

    Ok, last night, wc2.0 says of the boy in his potty training book, “That boy goin in da terlet.” I was shocked and amazed that grandma’s accent is genetic.

    November 11th, 2008 | #

  3. WackyMommy says

    Vixen, I was number 436 or something! Dang. It’s a national craze.

    Wacky Cousin 2.0, yer smart, boy!

    November 11th, 2008 | #

  4. edj says

    Vixen, no, I still haven’t read them. I will be the last. Don’t worry.

    WM, I’m reading “Sweetness in the Belly” and DANG! It is so good! Go get it right now. Forget this Meyers/cheetos junk food. Also read “My Name is Red” which is a book unlike any other I have ever read. Seriously. Go.
    You know, with all your spare time and all.

    November 12th, 2008 | #

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