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Notes From The Underbelly Paperback – April 5, 2005


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 293 pages
  • Publisher: NAL Trade (April 5, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0451214161
  • ISBN-13: 978-0451214164
  • Product Dimensions: 5.3 x 0.6 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8.8 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (34 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #444,314 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

Lara Stone is a college counselor at a ritzy L.A. prep school, and her experience with kids hasn't engendered much desire to have her own. But when her friend Julie announces she is expecting, Lara's husband says he is ready to hear the pitter-patter of little feet. Shortly thereafter, Lara finds herself reluctantly pregnant and entirely unprepared for the changes her body is going through. She ponders the horror of getting even "fatter" than the time in law school when she "ballooned" up to a size eight. Then she figures out that pregnancy means shopping and engages in some serious retail therapy. Meanwhile, a deal Laura made with her boss is hanging overhead: help get the daughter of a famed Hollywood director into NYU, and she'll be allowed to work part-time during her baby's first year. The relationship that Lara develops with the director's daughter is nuanced and actually quite touching, and much of the comedy hits the mark, but many pregnant women will find themselves unable to stomach the omigod-I'm-so-fat prattle spewing from Lara and her image-conscious L.A. friends. Beth Leistensnider
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

About the Author

Risa Green grew up in a suburb of Philadelphia and graduated from both the University of Pennsylvania and The Georgetown University Law Center. She has worked as a corporate finance attorney and, more recently, as a college counselor at a private day school. She currently resides with her husband, their daughter, and their dog. This is her first novel.

Customer Reviews

I found that I related to her well.
K. Weirich
I highly recommend this fun and funny book for a light-hearted summer read.
Beach Girl
This book is one of the funniest reads ever.
Ruth Furman

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By K. Weirich on January 17, 2006
Format: Paperback
I wish there was some way to rate this above five stars because this book is definitely worthy of more. This book is about Lara Stone who decides to go along with her husband's request to have a baby and ends up pregnant. The only thing is; she really doesn't like kids since she works with them on a daily basis at a prep school. As the book goes on, she discovers that she really has a "motherly" instinct in her. This book made me laugh many different times which is really hard to do since I don't laugh while reading books. I found that I related to her well. I have an 18 month old daughter, but am really not a kid person; except of course with her, and a lot of the things she said reminded me of things I've said. It's a really fun read and I highly recommend it.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Bearette24 VINE VOICE on May 22, 2005
Format: Paperback
This book was really similar to Rebecca Eckler's "Knocked Up." Only in my opinion, that book was much better. And it was honest about being nonfiction.

"Notes From the Underbelly" is the story of a woman who is a college admissions counselor at a private school, was a corporate finance attorney before that, attended U Penn, has a dog and is pregnant. The author was a college admissions counselor, a corporate finance attorney before that, attended U Penn, has a dog and 2 children.

Like Rebecca Eckler, the protagonist in this novel chooses to have a C-section, has a hard time seeing the sex of her baby at first because the baby holds its legs together during the ultrasound, and so forth.

The difference? The heroine in this book is not really likable. She has two friends, a hyper-driven entertainment lawyer with no sense of humor and a chip on her shoulder the size of California, and a perky, materialistic stay-at-home mom. The book is divided about evenly between the protagonist's job and the protagonist complaining about her friends or being pregnant.

The book was good on a plot level - you wanted to know if the protagonist's charges at school would get into their top colleges, and how the pregnancy would go - but I found it hard to like or care about the characters. The ending of the novel just kind of fizzled out without any major character transformation or insight of any kind.

But if you like reading about selfish, shallow people who occasionally make funny jokes, you might like this book.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Readaholic on June 22, 2005
Format: Paperback
This book was great, in my opinion. I did get a little angry when Lara decided to have a C-section based purely on selfishness. Overall though, I loved a lot about this book. Her complaining seemed so realistic and at times was so funny. You can just picture someone saying all of these things to you. I was so surprised at the end to see that is wasn't the end! I can't wait until her sequel comes out. I learned to love Lara Stone and everything about her. Great quick read (read it in 1.5 days), especially for the summer!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Brette Sember on March 20, 2006
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I was a bit hesitant about buying this book after I read the reviews, but I'm glad I did. I thoroughly enjoyed it. I love how the author is honest about the other side of pregnancy - the worries, unpleasantnesses, inconveniences, and sheer humor of it all. I thought the plot was fun (though I could have done without the talking dog) and I've pre-ordered her next book. This is a very humorous and very honest look at pregnant without the rose-colored glasses and I highly recommend it.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Rebecca J on June 26, 2006
Format: Paperback
This book is a light look at pregnancy-related issues woven into a mostly fun and funny plot. Sometimes the characters' body image issues get a little silly and motivations seem a little shallow, but mostly it is a funny take on being pregnant & how it affects you, your body & your life. I read it on vacation at 7 months pregnant and had to read some parts out loud to my husband because they were so amusing and dead-on. I recommend it, but don't expect it to be great literature or touchy feely about pregnancy.
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4 of 6 people found the following review helpful By E. Lindsay on January 27, 2007
Format: Paperback
I read this book in one day during the 6th month of my own pregnancy. While I did find myself engaged enough to be a little disappointed by the cliffhanger, it was tough to relate to the main character on several levels. First of all, while I'm crying over my unpaid lab bills, she's spending $900 on maternity clothes. Her childish vanity was actually insulting at times, such as her repulsion toward the "udders" on a breastfeeding mother, who she refers to as simply "Not Like Me," although that's probably what I would call HER if we met in real life. Furthermore, her husband was truly annoying- nagging her into a pregnancy when she wasn't ready and then being largely unsympathetic and often rude to her about her condition. If I was treated like that, I might start looking for divorce lawyers.

That being said, the author is a capable storyteller and I did find the characters believable and original. Though the lifestyle was foreign to me, it was fun to read about some of the things that I have been experiencing. I was also glad that she didn't undergo some huge evolution in which she became altogether maternal and selfless, because that would not have been believable for this particular character, and the little instances that hint at her motherly side were pretty cute. I would consider reading the sequel, but I wouldn't expect to like her any better than I did after reading this book.
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More About the Author

You would think that writing a bio would be an easy thing for a writer to do, but there's not much that's harder than trying to convey a sense of who you are in three lines or less. I've always admired those writers who are able to come up with hilarious little vignettes about their pets or their strange obsession with Cheetos, and yet, hard as I try, I just can't find a way to make myself sound that off-beat and quirky. Because I suppose when it comes down to it, I'm not. At the same time, though, I hate those "official" bios that just list where I grew up and where I went to school, and where I live now, because really, what does that tell anyone about me? Nothing. So because this is my author page, and I can do whatever I want with it, I'll just tell you my story, which, if you're interested in knowing anything about me at all, will probably fulfill your curiosity and then some.

I lived my entire life before college in the same house in a suburb of Philadelphia called Ambler. I loved to read, and whenever I found a book that really spoke to me I would read it over and over and over again, and somehow, I never got tired of it. Most of Judy Blume's books fell into this category for me (particularly Are You There God, It's Me Margaret), as did Bridge to Terabithia, a book called The Girl With the Silver Eyes, and my all-time favorite book, The Westing Game. I was a good student, though better at English and writing than I was at math, and although I like to think of myself as athletic, the truth is that I am not particularly coordinated or fast, and I don't have what my husband likes to call "heart" when it comes to sports. So after dabbling in field hockey and lacrosse in middle school (more because I thought the uniforms looked cool than because I was good at either of them, which I wasn't), I became a cheerleader. It was very 1980′s. I also was president of my class for three years, which I enjoyed at the time but I now kind of regret, because twenty years later, it turns out that I am the one responsible for planning our class reunions, which is something I distinctly do not recall being told when I was seventeen.

Until I was ten, I used to spend every summer "down the shore" with my family in Atlantic City (I am dating myself here, but I still remember when the first casino in AC had it's grand opening), and after that I went to sleep away camp, which, as anyone who knows me will tell you, were the best summers of my life. When I got older, I had part-time jobs during the school year at Baskin-Robbins and at a Hallmark store, and I spent a lot of time hanging around in the parking lot of McDonald's with my friends, because there wasn't a whole lot else to do in Ambler. I couldn't wait to get out of there, and I always imaged that I would go to college somewhere far away and experience a different part of the country, but I fell in love with the University of Pennsylvania, which was just forty minutes from my house.

At Penn, I double-majored in English with a concentration on 20th century literature, and American Civilization which is sort of like American History but from a social and cultural perspective. I always enjoyed writing and much preferred research papers to tests, but I never did take a creative writing course during college, probably because I never really imagined that I would ever become a writer. During my senior year at Penn, I met a guy from Los Angeles who eventually became my husband, and after I graduated I went to law school at Georgetown University in Washington, D.C.

I moved to Los Angeles and got married and practiced law for two years at a big firm, and I hated every second of it. Somehow, I just knew that if I didn't quit then, I would wake up one day and be forty years old and still hating my job, and I'd be really sorry that I'd wasted all those years being miserable. So I quit, and, much to the chagrin of my parents - who really enjoyed bragging to their friends about how I was a big-time lawyer in LA - I got a job as a college counselor at a private high school in the city. During my five years there, I really got to know teenagers in a way that I couldn't when I was in high school. Because I was a neutral observer and not part of one clique or another, I got to know all kinds of different kids, and because I was a confidant and they trusted me, I got to know them really well.

My daughter was born in 2002, and it was while I was on maternity leave that I started writing what eventually became my first novel, Notes From the Underbelly. I didn't intend for it to be a novel. I was just bored being at home all day and I had some pretty funny stories about being pregnant and having a newborn, and I wanted to write them all down for posterity. When I was finished, I gave it to a friend of mine to read, and she (who is someone who knows about these kinds of things) insisted that I had to try to publish it. So she gave it to someone who knew someone who worked in the lit department at a talent agency, and that guy gave it to some lit agents he knew in New York, and the next thing I knew, I had an agent and I was working as a counselor during the day, taking care of a newborn baby at night, and then staying up until two am to work on turning my essays about pregnancy into a novel. The book sold in 2004, while I was pregnant with my son, and then I quit my job as a college counselor to write full time. I wrote a sequel to Notes called Tales from the Crib, and then I wrote another adult book called The Carpenter Girls, which sold in Europe. It was after that I decided to try my hand at a YA novel.

I love writing YA, I think, for the same reason that I loved being a college counselor; teenagers are fun, being around them and writing about them makes me feel young, and there is really no other experience like high school, where you're thrown into this place every day with some people you love and some people you can't stand, where anything can happen and you never know what to expect on a daily basis, and all the while you're growing up and becoming an adult and figuring out who you are and where you fit in. If that isn't a gold mine of material for a writer, then I just don't know what is.

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