on January 10, 2007
First, I think it's worth stating the (nearly) obvious: that every woman's pregnancy is a bit different. That said, this book is just out of date and--while apparently funny to some--tiresome in its "I can tell you what the medical community won't" schtick. Most problematic, I think, is the long diatribe against exercise, especially the way Iovine couches the whole discussion in terms of appearance and the American woman's need to look good and her inability to let go and do what nature is telling her to do. She says "Exercise will not help you in labor or delivery in any way." (98) This is simply untrue based on MANY studies (two are: Med Sci Sports Exerc. 1995, May;27(5):634-40; Am J Obstet Gynecol. 1990 Dec;163(6 Pt 1):1799-805). It's just irresponsible for Iovine to suggest that "you might engander the pregnancy" and then to further manipulate the reader emotionally with "even if you don't endanger the pregnancy, if something goes wrong, you will forever wonder if you're exercising caused it." (100)
This section alone is reason to avoid the book. Ms. Iovine is speaking authoritatively based on little more than anecdote and what amounts to folk-wisdom. In writing for mothers-to-be, one would hope for a modicum of science would enter the dialogue. To ignore it is to do the readership a disservice.
on May 29, 2003
I have never written an Amazon review before, but I was so annoyed by this book that I just had to write one. The book was recommended to me by several people, so maybe I'm in the minority. I'm an avid reader with a good sense of humor, but I failed to see what's so funny or insightful about the "Girlfriends' Guide." I found it to be poorly written, sloppily edited and more irritating than amusing. Vicki Iovine bears no resemblance to my girlfriends. Her viewpoint strikes me as very west-coast-white-upper-middle-class, and much in her book seems dated (leggings with stirrups are her number one fashion tip!). "Girlfriends' Guide" reads like a slightly lewd "Cathy" comic strip without the pictures. She reinforces all sorts of stereotypes of women in general (vain, self-centered) and pregnant women in particular (irrational, grotesquely bloated) that I don't find to be true, much less funny. While I do think there's a market out there for a light-hearted, non-scientific "tell it like it is" book about pregnancy, this isn't the one for me. If you consider yourself smart and literary, you might be disappointed too. I suggest you read a chapter or two in a bookstore before you buy. That's what I should have done.
on July 21, 2009
First of all this book is really out dated. I found her obsession with weight and self loathing to be strange and somewhat sad but never comical. I am still in my first trimester so maybe I can't quite commiserate yet but I have no sadness about gaining weight even if I never do fit back in to my size 2 jeans, because I want a baby I am happy about this! I find her thoughts on exercise to be scary and very 80's "don't bother working out, you will get fat anyway." I work out because I like to, it will make labor easier and it is good for my health.
There was a chapter of this book where I did laugh hysterically but I don't think it was meant to be comical and that was her fashion advice section, velvet cat suits and stirrup pants LOL!
She is very mean spirited in a way I just can not relate to, hating everyone who has an easy pregnancy or gains little weight, definitely a personality trait to hide not publish. There is a lot of man bashing in this book. Also to her an epidural is a requirement for labor but I see it as more of a backup plan.
on February 19, 2006
I really hated this book. Because I did spend money on it, I did read it all the way through, although very grudgingly. I have a FANTASTIC sense of humor and hardly anything offends me, but this woman managed to do it. Her whiny, self-important, condescending attitude actually made me hurl the book at a wall...and that wasn't just pregnancy hormones. It was THAT bad.
Ms. Iovine, a former Playboy playmate, would like you to believe that she is on YOUR side - she and her bevy of what I'm convinced are imaginary girlfriends. However, she goes on about what an evil thing pregnancy is and that it will rob you of your body and good looks...FOREVER. She clearly states numerous times that after having a baby you will be fat, overweight, unattractive, and have saggy breasts. This was one of the first books I bought after finding out I was pregnant and didn't know what to expect. I literally cried after reading it thinking my life was over. I was surprised Ms. Iovine doesn't have a Smith & Wesson ad in the back of her book. The "you might as well die" tone just unsettled me.
She is obviously unhappy with herself and her life and is looking to bring others down with her. She's like the girl who claims to be your "friend" but gives you backhanded comments every chance she gets (eg. "Oh, wow...those pants really make your butt not look as huge as it really is!"). In reality, I think SHE was probably too lazy to exercise after pregnancy and expects you to throw in the towel, too, and be just as miserable as she is.
For anyone else depressed after reading this, I had my baby and lost all the weight and now have six-pack abs and my breasts don't sag even after six months of breastfeeding. My husband DOES still find me attractive and my life didn't end. Thank you for nothing, Vicki Iovine and your fellow whiny, former size 4 girlfriends.
If you want the "I've been there" assurance from a non-catty girlfriend who is looking out for YOU with laugh-out-loud humor, buy 'Belly Laughs' by Jenny McCarthy or 'Pregnancy Sucks' by Joanne Kimes. Where I wouldn't have a cup of decaf and discuss my burgeoning belly with Ms. Iovine, I'd glady do so with McCarthy and Kimes.
on January 7, 2004
I'm fully aware that as a expectant dad, I'm not in the "girlfriends" club this book is aimed at; however, I've read all the "What to expect..." type books that my wife has bought or have been given to us, and this was the worst of the lot and the only one I actually found offensive. I thought it might give some insight into what my wife is going through, but instead it told me that I'm an insensitive clod who doesn't really care what she's going through. And that men are just lying when they compliment their wives' changing bodies (not true!) among other absurd stereotypes. This book is a great way to plant the seeds of doubt in a pregngant women's mind and create division between expectant parents. If that's what you want, go for it.
on December 13, 1999
I thought this book was great! How refreshing to hear that it's ok if you eat refined sugar a few times while you're pregnant! What a plus to know you're not the only one who feels fat and unattractive because you're bloated, etc!
A couple of things I disagree with other reviewers about:
1) Some reviewers felt that Vicki hated being pregnant. I didn't get that feeling at all. I just felt she was being realistic that pregnancy is sometimes very hard on your body. It probably won't be the nine months of your life when you feel the healthiest and most relaxed.
2) She never said not to exercise! Folks, if you actually read the whole book (unlike some people who read one or two paragraphs), you'll realize that she does recommend walking and things like water aerobics. What she doesn't recommend (and which she felt may have endangered two of her own pregnancies) is strenuous weight lifting. Based on what I've read, many ob's agree with that.
I feel that alot of the reviewers may be basing negative comments on a couple of paragraphs read in a bookstore (some even say as much), which isn't quite fair.
Overall, I thought it was a great book, and while I may not agree with her on every little point, Vicki has certainly provided me with alot of laughs and alot of starting points for discussions with my obstetrician, my husband, etc.
on November 17, 2002
If you are overweight, or even sensitive about your weight, don't read this book! Iovine can't resist saying "fat" without adding "and ugly" and she states in the beginning that overweight couch potatoes are not welcome in her circle of "girlfriends." Towards the end of the book, she discusses the pregnant waddle, and reasons that all fat people waddle a bit anyway. She sympathizes with her husband for not being attracted to her. After all, you wouldn't want to sleep with someone as fat as you, right? And she confides that her maternity wardrobe ran all the way up to a (gasp) size ten! The horror!
Although this book was very entertaining and had some good information, I got tired of being slapped every couple of pages. The author simply can't resist seperating her temporarily round self from those of us who struggle with our weight all the time. Does she not realize that the average American woman is a size 14? I really felt like I was reading this book as an outsider, so I waited until a skinny friend got pregnant and gave it to her.
And by the way, Ms. Iovine, I am a size 16 and my husband can't keep his hands off me. It would take a lot more than pregnancy and dark roots to push him away. If your husband is that picky about your looks, I feel sorry for you.
on July 23, 2004
I borred this book from a friend, and I am glad that I did. The humor in this book is often lacking, I have read funnier pregnancy books. The material is quite outdated, such as her recommendations for maternity wear - I can not relate to her outfits, or to her ideas to wear a vest over a big shirt, borrowing my husbands clothing, or to long flowy dresses. Much of the material which was supposed to be funny, I found quite negative (exercise portion, the sex). This book published in 1995 should stay in 1995. Updates to the material are definately in order.
on January 31, 2006
I, like most other reviewers, found the Girlfriends' Guide to be easy reading with a good sense of humor. It also has LOTS of good information.
However, I tend to hang out on the alternative side of things and this book just didn't work for me. Yes, the pregnancy information is just as useful to me as to any other pregnant woman, but information is not why you read this book! The Guide is most useful for its friendly tone, the feeling that you're sitting around a kitchen table getting advice from your Girlfriends. And these are not MY Girlfriends.
Some of the items that stuck in my head: (I'm paraphrasing!)
-All Girlfriends have husbands, so it isn't necessary to acknowledge that pregnant women actually have a wide variety of partner & family setups.
-We know home birth is an option, but who actually does that? You'd have to be crazy. And water birth is so ridiculous we can't even discuss it. The Girlfriends have utmost faith in the mainstream medical establishment.
-Don't bother doing any serious exercise because you'll be overcome with guilt if anything goes wrong with the baby.
-Apparently all the Girlfriends start out around size 4. There are lots of references to difficult feelings around body image, but many of them were quickly rendered irrelevant to me when I realized she was bemoaning her now-size-8 body!
While it may be fantastic for the majority of women, if you're not in the majority, save your money.
BONUS: If you're looking for something with the same tone but a more indie view of the motherhood experience, I can recommend the following:
- Breeder, edited by Ariel Gore
- The Big Rumpus, by Ayun Halliday
on August 31, 1999
I'm amazed at the lack of humor the people who rated this low have. I was relieved to read this book, that told me that not everything was as pastel and beautiful like in a tampon commercial. I think this book was valuable in not expecting women to live up to a ridiculous television peaches and cream standard, and not to expect your husbands to handle it like some understanding guy on a pregnancy test commercial. Vicki's attitude did not strike me as cynical, it struck me as realistic! Sorry to bust your bubble all you "beautiful pregnancy" girls, but throwing up in the morning, having sciatic nerve pressure, and worrying about the amnio (that I eventually refused) was NOT beautiful. Vicki made me feel OK to feel this way. I really got the idea that she loved pregnancy, but would have appreciated someone tell her what was really gonna happen. Plus, I read the "what to expect" books as well. You use both and glean your own perspective from both. Vicki's was the only perspective on the market that socked it to you real, instead of those new-age-music, "oh what a gentle wonderful time" -- and she could laugh at the same time. Same attitude I want to raise my kids with!