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The Book Stands on Its Own Two Feet
on May 12, 2010
Like the majority of people who initially will buy this book, I did it out of curiosity. Watching the Real Housewives is a guilty pleasure for me. At the same time, I have fairly discerning tastes in literature and hoped that this wasn't another poorly-written (or transparently ghost-written) celebrity biography.
It was a very pleasant surprise to immediately get sucked into the charm and breeziness of this well-written book. Alex's opening statement on the TV Show is misleading as she says in a somewhat stilted voice, "For some people living in New York, status is everything". There is NONE of that attitude in the book. It is completely down-to-earth, very honest, and great fun. Nothing is glossed over, no excuses are made, and what emerges is a picture of a very real, loving family.
Simon and Alex talk about what works for them, and more importantly, what doesn't. They talk about their mistakes with a refreshing straight-forwardness.
My own children are grown, and we raised our family in the woods, not the big city, but so many of the coping strategies that Alex and Simon have come up with for surviving in the urban jungle apply no matter where you are, whether it is a redwood forest or the great suburban plain. The "message" of the book is to embrace life with gusto, live without fear, express your love, admit your mistakes, and always follow your instincts.
Even though the TV show is all about trendiness, materialism and keeping up with the Jones, what emerges from the book is a portrait of a very down-to-earth family that has the courage to live life on their own terms. They have their own, unique style which is beyond fashion or style magazine formulas, and they don't seem to care how it "plays" as long as it works for them.
In a way, I think it is unfortunate that this book is associated with a TV show, especially one as controversial as the Real Housewives. If you think this book was only written to cash in on their moments of fame, think again. It is a book that stands on its own two feet and in my opinion would have been as positively received if the authors were simply John and Jane Doe.
I enjoyed the book immensely, even read it in the bathtub because I didn't want to put it down. I would highly recommend this book for anyone who ever survived having small children, or anyone who currently has them. And I think prospective parents would also find this book to be very reassuring in that it presents actual situations and concrete solutions.
Mostly, it leaves you feeling that having children is fun. Which in fact, it is.