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Motherhood Made a Man Out of Me: A Novel Hardcover – June 19, 2000

4 out of 5 stars 22 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Karbo (The Diamond Lane) is at her best writing tongue-in-cheek riffs on sports and modern life and manages a successful marriage of the two in her sassy, satirical new novel. Living in the Pacific Northwest with her computer game-obsessed husband, Lyle, a photocopier-repairman, narrator Brooke finds that being the mother of six-month-old Stella has altered (i.e., obliterated) her former life as an independent movie producer; now she simply refers to herself as Brooke Stellamom. When her best friend, Mary Rose, an athletic gardener and single woman, reveals that she is pregnant by her new boyfriend, local scion (and Brooke's cousin) Ward Baron, the helpful narrator brings to the impending "blessed event" all of her hard-won maternal wisdom in the form of zinging one-liners and elbow-in-the-side chucklers. Ward, however, is soon revealed to be a less than perfect candidate for fatherhood: he is still married to his estranged wife, and his parents, gardening clients of Mary Rose, are incorrigible meddlers. The plot advances haphazardly, overshadowed by the narrator's har-har asides (disgruntled by Lyle's obsession with the Internet, Brooke assures herself that her baby Stella "would never marry someone like her father") and her enthusiasm for pro basketball. Both Brooke and Mary Rose are devoted fans of the Blazers (i.e., the free throws, the bodies), and their idolization of the players fits nicely, if improbably, into the narrative's denouement. Karbo relishes her characters' war stories of pregnancy and labor; the novel, without taking itself too seriously, proves in its cheeky details a fun (and accurate) sendup of the timeless trials of womanhood. (June)
Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Library Journal

Karbo's third novel (after The Diamond Lane and Trespassers Welcome Here) is an uproariously funny yet frank take on modern motherhood. While she carves her commentary with a razor wit, the author serves up equally sharp insights into the intense kinship among pregnant women and new mothers. Notes Karbo, "Motherhood is for women what war is for men. When they had more wars, more men knew what it was like to be a woman on the verge of being a mother, to be at an absolute point of no return." Narrator Brooke, mother of six-month-old Stella, gyrates through the joys, exhaustion, and contradictory feelings of new motherhood. What usually pass for ordinary events, such as grocery shopping and doctor visits, turn out to be anything but when they involve Brooke, Stella, or Brooke's best friend, Mary Rose, who is newly pregnant by Brooke's cousin Ward. Then there is a mother lode of funny characters: Ward's eccentric parents and brother; Brooke's hapless, indifferent husband, Lyle; and the Trail Blazer ball players. Karbo, a journalist and contributing editor to Conde Nast Sports for Women, has a topnotch ear for dialog and a sense of humor. This gem will keep readers in stitches from beginning to end and belongs in every public library.
Lisa Nussbaum, Euclid P.L., OH
Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Bloomsbury USA; 1st US ed edition (June 19, 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1582340838
  • ISBN-13: 978-1582340838
  • Product Dimensions: 6.4 x 1 x 8.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 15.2 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (22 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #5,158,963 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Karen Karbo's first novel, Trespassers Welcome Here, was a New York Times Notable Book of the Year, and a Village Voice Top Ten Book of the Year. Her other two adult novels, The Diamond Lane and Motherhood Made a Man Out of Me, were also named New York Times Notable Books.

Karbo's 2004 memoir, The Stuff of Life, about the last year she spent with her father before his death, was an NYT Notable Book, a People Magazine Critics' Choice, a Books for a Better Life Award finalist, and a winner of the Oregon Book Award for Creative Non-fiction.

Her short stories, essays, articles and reviews have appeared in Elle, Vogue, Esquire, Outside, O, More, The New Republic, The New York Times, salon.com and other magazines. She is a recipient of a National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship in Fiction, and a winner of the General Electric Younger Writer Award.

Karbo is most well known for her best-selling Kick Ass Women series, the most recent of which is How Georgia Became O'Keeffe, published in 2011. How to Hepburn, published in 2007, was hailed by the Philadelphia Inquirer as "an exuberant celebration of a great original"; #1 ebook best-seller The Gospel According to Coco Chanel appeared in 2009. Next up: Julia Child Rules, which will appear in October 2013.

In addition, Karbo penned three books in the Minerva Clark mystery series for children: Minerva Clark Gets A Clue, Minerva Clark Goes to the Dogs, and Minerva Clark Gives Up the Ghost.

Karen grew up in Los Angeles, California and lives in Portland, Oregon where she continues to kick ass.

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
If ever a statement was more true, Motherhood Made a Man Out of Me is it! I enjoyed this hilarious novel about the anxieties of pregnancy, the fears of labor and birth, and the joys and trials of being a mother. And while this book may be perfect for mothers who have "been there, done that", I believe anyone, mother or not, who enjoys a good, funny story with nice surprises at the end will love this book.
Brooke is a new mother of 6-month-old Stella when she finds out her best friend, Mary Rose, is pregnant. Mary Rose, a successful landscaper and very independent, single woman, has the typical fears that most mothers-to-be experience. And while being in love with and pregnant by Brooke's cousin, Ward Baron, doesn't seem like such a bad idea, having the bizarre, wealthy, pretentious Baron clan as in-laws and grandparents is another thing all together. Sparks fly throughout the pregnancy regarding marriage, parenthood and grandparents' rights and culminate with a delicious twist at the end.
Looking for laughs? This book will provide! Motherhood Made a Man Out of Me is a gem, loaded with priceless wisecracks and situations that will have readers rolling. You don't have to be a mother to enjoy this book. Any reader who loves to laugh will definitely be entertained. Highly recommended for a light, fun read or to lift a blue mood.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
What can I say? This book is absolutely hysterical! It centers around new-mother Brooke, and her pregnant best-friend Mary Rose, who is pregnant by Brooke's cousin. The characters surrounding these women are quirky and wonderful. While both women are enthralled by their children, they do not glamorize the pregnancy experience, in and of itself. Both the pregnancies and the trials and tribulations of early motherhood are described in a "real," no-holds-barred, but humorous manner. Combine that with the wacky relationships and characters, and you will find yourself laughing out loud. Promise!
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By A Customer on June 15, 2000
Format: Hardcover
Karen Karbo describes in exultant detail the kind of stuff about pregnancy and early parenthood that nature makes sure you forget--otherwise, like labor itself, you'd never do it again. This novel is very, very funny, but the humor is deceptive, because it's also an exacting look at the way parenthood gobbles us all up, distorts our identities. Her tone is wonderful--"rueful" doesn't begin to tell the tale. Highly recommended!
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Format: Paperback
...and there's no way to avoid it. OK, the word is CUTE! There, I said it. Well, actually it is, mostly. Set in a pretty, prosperous city, the fairly well-off characters deal with marriage, pregnancy, and childbirth. (No raw, rude, crude slice of life here.) It concerns Brooke, a tired young mother married to a man who plays a computer game called "Realm of the Elf", 24/7, and shows little interest in his family. This isn't good, of course, but Brooke admits they sort of rushed into marriage and pregnancy. Brooke's best friend, Mary Rose, is knocked up by Brooke's shirt-tail cousin, who is still technically married. This book is quite witty,often funny, and the characters seem like people I would love, yes, love to know. And there is a surprise near the ending. There is much about pregnancy ,which some people may find informative, but some people may also find the joy 'n wonder Brooke finds in her child's every gurgle a mite tedious. Be patient, this book is worth it as a pick-me-up any day! It's the type of book you could lend to an elderly aunt and she would tsk-tsk-these-young-people-nowadays, but she would also say with perfect truth that she loved it, nonetheless. I'm giving it 4 stars because there is a lot of yadayadayada about basketball which I don't understand or care much about, but that's my own personal shortcoming. Enjoy!
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Format: Hardcover
This book CRACKED me up. I haven't laughed so hard in ages. This was a real treat and I think that author Karen Karbo is a brilliant comedian and storyteller. Her ability to turn this genre of literature into something to touching and laughable is a true testament to her talent and hard work. I loved everything about this book and read it in a single sitting. I think that any female who wants, has or yearns to be a mother can identify with this book and story. It's a remarkable tale and a great book. I loved it. I can't rave about it enough. Read it...Read it now.
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By A Customer on October 7, 2000
Format: Hardcover
I have never read a book where you feel as if the author is taking thoughts directly from your heart and writing them down until I read this novel. Ms. Karbo's writing is witty and emotional, once I picked it up I had to just read it all the way through. If you want to read a great story with a terrific insight into the thoughts and fears of a new mother get this book!!
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By A Customer on October 1, 2001
Format: Paperback
I really wanted to like "Motherhood Made a Man Out Me" by Karen Karbo. I had heard good things from a friend (who has a two year old) but just couldn't get into this self-righteous and unfunny book. Karbo eagerly adopts the "all men are pigs" attitude as each of her male characters lies around watching sports, failing to take care of his child and or wife in a suitable manner, most also invariably run into trouble keeping their zippers shut. While men can obviously be giant dufuses (is there a correct plural to "dufus?") when it comes to fatherhood and/or romance not every man is an oversized five year old unwilling to do his part. I also can't recommend Karbo's whining female leads who are SO absorbed in their children's neediness they fail to recognize that there is a world outside their babies dirty diapers or fathom that not everyone thinks their child is the center of the universe. (I don't much like woman who are like this in real life either.) I kept wanting to shake Karbo's protagonist "Brooke" and say, "Listen lady, you're not doing yourself or your kid any favors by totally ignoring your own life and turning yourself into the cloak of bitter complaining martyr. Take of the hair shirt and join the real world why don't you?" Perhaps if I had some little ones underfoot I'd feel differently, but I just can't recommend this version of "Motherhood" to anyone.
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