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What's funny in small doses (i.e., a blog) doesn't always work in a book
on February 6, 2014
Karen Alpert (a.k.a., Baby Sideburns) cobbles together more than a dozen posts and short quips (probably originally created for Facebook) from her popular blog in this highly disappointing compilation-style mommy memoir. Jill Smokler's cover endorsement calling the book "absolutely hysterical" and "everything you could want in a parenting book and more" makes me wonder whether she actually read it. Sure, some of the lines are funny and certain small segments are even well-done, but - on the whole - the crass (a bit of potty humor must be part of any mom's life, but the sheer volume of hers got very old), defeatist (having kids likely isn't what makes her body "s*ck balls," the crappy eating habits that she continually shame-brags about and her belief that no amount of exercise will help probably do), and repetitive (listing nine items on a top-10 because "I'm too lazy to write more" was funny the first time but not the third; same thing goes for constantly joking about how hard it is to spell) nature of the content grated and made finishing the book a chore. I also wonder whether her choice to organize chapters around similar blog posts - rather than mixing the material up - hurt the book's readability. Here's the bottom line: if you want a funny book about parenting (as opposed to a parenting book), go for Jim Gaffigan's "Dad Is Fat" or Jill Smokler's "Confessions of a Scary Mommy"; if you absolutely insist on reading this book, at least take it in very small doses.
That said, here are a couple of her winning lines (if only she would stick with relatable, smart observations like these rather than turning herself into a mommy shock jock):
"The first time you hear [your child say `Mama'], your heart melts a little. The second time you hear it, your eyes well up. The 918,009,576th time you hear it, you want to stab your eardrums out with an ice pick."
"As I'm standing there begging my kid to hold onto my shoulders and not my head as I help her pull on her pants, I dream of the day when she can dress herself. And then it happens. Ohhh myyyy Goddddd, it's like watching paint dry. . . . And don't even get me started on shoes. They're Velcro! They accidentally get stuck to everything so how F'ing hard can it be to close them?!"
"So why the hell when I change a poopie diaper and I scrub like [a surgeon] do my fingers still smell like poop for the rest of the day? Because if they still smell, I have to assume it's because they have poo particles on them . . . ."
"I love how the experts tell us if we're gonna let our kids watch TV we should watch it with them. WHAT?!!! Why on earth do you think I'm putting her in front of the TV in the first place, Mr. So-called Expert? To get some s*&t done."
"I don't have bags under my eyes. I have luggage sets."