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Nine Months (Soho Paperback Original) Paperback – August 21, 2012

3.4 out of 5 stars 53 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

Praise for Nine Months

"Dark, sharp, and hilarious . . . (many?) mother’s escape fantasy." 
New York Magazine

"Deliciously, dangerously rogue."
Marcy Dermansky, author of Bad Marie

"A raw, darkly funny, at times appalling page-turner . . . Mommy lit lovers will be horrified, but Bomer’s debut novel will resonate with fans of quirky, character-driven fiction in the vein of Richard Russo, John Updike, and Tiffany Baker.”
—Library Journal

“Phenomenal comedic pace.”
—The Atlantic

“This novel may make you feel uncomfortable at times, but it will also make you laugh and think about the difficult task of parenting and the choices we make.”
—Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

“This is a brave and provocative book about the insidious power of PC. That’s Parental Correctness not Political Correctness . . . [Bomer’s] wounding analysis of herself and the vicious new mummy tribes she introduces us to make this book an instant classic.”
—The Guardian

“This is the road trip novel I’ve always wanted to read . . . Sonia’s observations are priceless . . . After reading this powerful, entertaining novel, and Bomer’s excellent collection of stories, I’m convinced. Anything she writes, I want it.”
PANK

"Bomer’s feisty prose style and fluid storytelling are very, very good. They have the marks of truth: pith and passion."
The Brooklyn Rail

"Paul Bomer’s Nine Months is a daring look at motherhood, exploring the thoughts most women keep secret . . . A page-turner that will tie your stomach in knots and stir up one hell of a debate."
Susan Henderson, Up From the Blue

"Realistic, darkly funny, and thoroughly engaging . . . a needed flipside to books and mommy blogs that depict motherhood as solely a state of bliss and whimsy.”
BUST Magazine

Bomer could have titled this work What to REALLY Expect When You’re Expecting as there is more raw, honest truth in this novel than any parenting book I’ve ever read.”
—Jessica Anya Blau, author of Drinking Closer to Home 

“Paula Bomer has written a dark, honest and powerful novel in Nine Months, one that constantly surprises the reader as the layers of emotion are peeled off, one after another, revealing the depth and need of the human experience."
—The Nervous Breakdown
 
"Nine Months is the best book I have read about the secret fears and sinister underbelly of becoming a parent, a satire which should be viewed not only as a stellar novel, but as a challenge to a literary scene mired in laziness, backslapping and lousy cliches."
Tony O’Neill, author of Sick City

“Bomer takes [Mommy Culture] head-on, in blunt, brave writing . . . articulate, searing, and blastingly funny on pregnancy and childbirth . . . not for the fainthearted, they would make excellent reading in high school sex education courses.”
PopMatters

"Confronting, seditious and original."
Bookd Out

 

Praise for Bomer's collection Baby & Other Stories

"Reading Baby & Other Stories is like being attacked by a rabid dog—and feeling grateful for it. This is some of the rawest and most urgent writing I can remember encountering."

Jonathan Franzen, author of The Corrections

"Dysfunctional doesn't begin to describe the marriages in this brilliant, brutally raw debut collection."
O Magazine

"In 10 raw and angry stories, Bomer flays the idea of happy little families.... This lacerating take on marriage and motherhood is not one to share with the Mommy and Me group."
Publishers Weekly (starred review)

"If Bomer's harsh portrayal of modern parenting and marriage were water, it would be transparent, unflecked, jagged ice.... She lands firmly between Mary Gaitskill's articulate, unflinching anhedonia and Kathy Acker.... Amy Hempel with a twist of Grace Paley. Baby is punk rock for the roundly domesticated."
Bookforum

"Words like 'tough' and 'honest' don't quite do justice to the fiction of Paula Bomer. The real housewives of Bomerworld break themselves and break your heart and yet never completely lose their soulful dignity."
Sam Lipsyte, author of The Ask

About the Author

Paula Bomer is publisher of Sententia Books and the editor of Sententia: A Literary Journal as well as a contributor to the literary blog, Big Other. Her writing has appeared in The Mississippi Review, Open City, Fiction, Nerve, and Best American Erotica. Her collection, Baby & Other Stories, is published by Word Riot Press. She lives in Brooklyn with her husband and two children.
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Product Details

  • Series: Soho Paperback Original
  • Paperback: 265 pages
  • Publisher: Soho Press (August 21, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 161695146X
  • ISBN-13: 978-1616951467
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.7 x 8.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (53 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #183,164 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Steve VINE VOICE on December 26, 2012
Format: Paperback Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
Paula Bomer's intentions seem good - a provocative anti-parenting novel, but sadly, in the end, she takes close to three hundred pages to essentially rant against the cult of motherhood and rationalize her own grossly selfish choices. I empathized with her, at least for a while I did, but making a novel out of incessant complaining and exasperating behavior requires more than she musters in Nine Months. I think it would've better made an incendiary magazine piece, with all the non-essential details pared away because they add very little to the larger point. It'd be particularly powerful if it was run in Parents or McCalls or some such nurture-intensive magazine. While the story emotionally engaged me at times, it was also increasingly tiresome and totally self-defeating. At the end, any lingering sympathy for the woman was consumed by her selfishness and lack of self-recrimination.

Bomer's style is urgent if also irrational, clichéd, and often pointless, as if she wrote down every thought that entered her brain and did no editing afterward. There's simply too much excess; the endless obsessions about sex and her body parts, the corny back story, the unimaginative cardboard characters, and the utterly panic-driven road trip that stretches beyond psychological fleeing and into the realm of criminal negligence, all the while being glib about it and pushing her guilt aside so she can eat restaurant food and not be responsible. Thus, readers are left as perhaps her husband must feel; abused, unappreciated, and abandoned.

To her credit, the book reads quickly, driven by Bomer's painful, guttural, sparse, neurotic, and occasionally insightful narrative, but not nearly enough to sustain my interest for the entire book or cover for her inexcusable behavior.
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Format: Paperback Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
I have known lots of bored women who are pregnant, have been pregnant, or hope to become pregnant, and none of them sound like Sonia, the bored woman at the center of Paula Bomer's Nine Months. She has got to be the single most unlikeable character I've come across in literary fiction, aside from those characters trying to kill everyone. She's foul mouthed,self-centered, and filled with so much rage that entire portions of the book just seem to disintegrate into hate filled rants. Intersperse those rants with lots of graphic sex and masturbation and there you have this novel.

I know that it's been quite the trend lately to write books that are all about giving women permission to acknowledge that motherhood isn't quite all it's cracked up to be. I'm all for that. That's probably what I was expecting with this novel. This is just so over the top that Sonia doesn't even seem like a real person, instead she's a caricature of a dissatisfied middle aged woman feeling caught in a boring lifestyle. This is a fast read, which is a good thing, since I almost didn't make it through this. I was interested in following it through to the end, just so I could see if Sonia changed at all throughout her little road trip. Unfortunately, the ending was just as unsatisfying as the rest of the novel. I'll be the first to admit that I don't get this at all. What was the point? This self-centered women travels across the country behaving badly and revisiting her past just so she can return to her life? Most people will likely say that this book is "raw" or "edgy". I say that it's just a self-indulgent mess.
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Format: Paperback
Nine Months is a counterpoint to smiling Super Mommies and happy chatter about the miracle of childbirth. The story is disquieting but told with unvarnished honesty, in prose that is intense and immediate. It's also very funny.

Sonia isn't made for the rituals of motherhood. Hanging out with the neighborhood mommies reminds her of high school cliques. She doesn't agree that children are sacred, that mothers should sacrifice careers and passions to stay home with them. She loves her two boys, envies their unbridled aggression, but raising them does not provide the sense of contentment that other moms seem to experience. At the age of 35, she is deeply ambivalent about having a third child. She feels her accidental fetus sucking the life out of her.

As the story begins, Sonia is experiencing guilt because she is "the worst thing on earth": a mother who left her children. Even worse, although she's in denial as she haunts malls and lays around her hotel rooms, she's due to face the horror of labor for a third time. Sonia thinks she deserves the pain of giving birth; it is a punishment she has earned. After the baby is born, the story backtracks eight months. We meet Sonia's husband Dick. We follow Sonia through the hellacious first trimester and the blissful second trimester of her pregnancy before, in a moment of panic, she begins a road trip that she defines as a "find-myself mission." The drive to Indiana and Colorado and Wisconsin seems more like an excuse to escape from the reality of her life than a vehicle to understand her life, but it gives her an opportunity to revisit her past and thus allows the reader to develop some insight into her acerbic personality.
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