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Planting Dandelions: Field Notes From a Semi-Domesticated Life Hardcover – April 28, 2011

3.8 out of 5 stars 23 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

"[This is a] hilarious, searing essay collection. . . . [Pittman's] tales of modern motherhood are fearless and addictive."
-People (four stars)

"In this wry, warts-and-all memoir, Good Housekeeping contributing writer Kyran Pittman offers up snapshots from her life, and she is nothing if not very, very human. ...[Her] confessional tone is balanced with her clear affection for family life in all its messiness. Now a mommy of three, Pittman is just as passionate when writing about life in suburbia as when musing on postpartum sex...Being a mom isn't always (or even usually) glamorous, but Pittman recognizes the beauty of family life in this interesting, funny and fresh entry in the mommy memoir genre."
-Bookpage

"Crisp, witty dispatches from the domestic front by a former wild child. . . . The author writes with an acerbic intellect, blending self-deprecation with reflective back-patting into cohesive life stories that are relatable and, thankfully, usually funny."
-Kirkus

"Kyran Pittman is a fresh new voice in non-fiction-honest, intimate, and thoroughly smart. Her self-perception and integrity make us cheer her on as she goes through her domestic trials-and at the same time feel confident that she will emerge from them unscathed. I highly recommend this book."
-Amy Sohn, author of Prospect Park West

"Kyran Pittman is a warm, honest, very funny writer. I loved her book."
-Julie Klam, author of You Had Me at Woof

"Kyran Pittman's searingly honest confessionals, and her expert wit, should serve as a model and inspiration for all the former 'bad girls' who've crossed over into motherhood."
-Neal Pollack, author of Alternadad --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

About the Author

Kyran Pittman is a contributing writer for Good Housekeeping. She lives in Arkansas with her husband and three children.
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Riverhead Books; First Edition edition (April 28, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1594488002
  • ISBN-13: 978-1594488009
  • Product Dimensions: 8.4 x 5.8 x 0.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 13.6 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (23 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,202,016 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Charles G. Campbell on April 29, 2011
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This is a wonderful book. There are two main reasons. Well, maybe three. First of all, it is by a gifted writer, who can make her readers laugh out loud and cry immediately afterwards. Second, this is a courageous memoir about a woman who just wasn't "cut out" to be a mother, but then discovered just how thrilling being a Mother can be. Third, Kyran Pittman has the courage to admit things about herself that all of us can relate to, but few of us would share. This is an honest book about a real person, who came to marriage and motherhood full of flaws, incongruities, and fear. And she triumphed. If this book doesn't become a best seller,I will lose a lot of bets.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I have to start this book review with a big disclosure: I am friends with Kyran Pittman, the author of Planting Dandelions. She and I have much in common, including long distance love affairs, immigration issues and a house full of testosterone. Since her book is a story about her and her family, and because before reading it I already knew that I loved her and her family, my review is, by default, biased.

That disclaimer out of the way,Planting Dandelions is one of the worst memoirs I've ever read. Just kidding! It's actually one of the best. And I really wouldn't say that if it weren't true.

The title of Kyran's book refers to her long time love of the tiny-yet-hardy plant that many consider to be a weed, but that she considers a flower. The dandelion has become a bit of a metaphor for her life, a reminder that one doesn't have to be like everyone else on the block, that beauty really is in the eye of the beholder, and that wishing is a worthwhile activity.

In her memoir, Kyran mainly covers the years of her life spent falling in and out love, finally finding "the one," and raising a family with him. Anyone who's ever chucked it all to run away and be with a boy or been a mother unsure of herself and her role within the family and society can definitely relate to her story. I've heard her writing compared to Erma Bombeck's, but Kyran is a funnier, raunchier, and dare I say more honest voice.

If you're looking for a hilarious take on what the "real" modern family is like, an honest glimpse into the confusing, contradictory cesspool of emotions that mothers and wives must wade through, or a treatise on the negotiations and contracts necessary to run a marriage, you will absolutely love Planting Dandelions.

There.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This book just dragged on and on. It didn't make me laugh, or cry, or hold me in suspense, or teach me anything. It is just a narrative of the author's personal life which I did not find very remarkable.
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Format: Hardcover
The biggest problem with this book is the fact that the author is very unrelatable.
The book opens with the author giving a little back ground on how she and her husband began their relationship while she was still married and living in Canada with her first husband. After she divorces him, she spent time being a wild child in Mexico, before coming to the United States to finally settle down with her second husband in a bohemian ceremony conducted by a Wiccan minister. She writes about her regret at the way she treated these men, but the vibe I got was more like "the poor bastards couldn't help themselves".
I pushed past this to see what great stories of motherhood lay ahead. The author shared some funny stories, but mostly our parenting styles are completely different. In the beginning, she feels she is super mom and admits her (former) dislike of any mom who disagrees with her . She later recants these opinions after she has more kids and tells stories of her short-comings.
She talks about her designer shopping spree in NY, and discusses making the "investment in yourself", but the story was (again) unrelatable to me.
The book revisits the topic of cheating in a would-have-been, could-have-been affair.
Then she talks about the 9-11 terrorist attacks, and how up until that point she considered herself a Canadian, But after 9-11 she really felt a sense of brotherhood with her fellow Americans.
There were some good stories, but over-all at the end of the book I never felt I could say "wow, I'm so glad I read this" and all because the author was someone I could never respect.
But there is something to be said about 'laying it all out' and giving the reader a candid look into your life.
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Format: Kindle Edition
This book is difficult to love and difficult to hate. It's well-written, and often funny or insightful (or both) and as a single woman I have to like the honesty of a married woman who admits she chased her husbands and was a bit of a sexual hot mess in her twenties. Most married women seem to become born-again virgins after leaving the altar, being coy about how they met, how they got engaged, etc. True, there is a bit of unsubtle crowing that her men chased her pretty hard too - the current one particularly seems to have torched his entire pre-Kyran life to be with her. But you brag about what you can in this life, I suppose. So I like her honesty, but I admit, I found her pursuit of a married man, her cheating, and some other smaller things, very unlikeable.

Otherwise - there is a consistent style, which you'd expect from a book made up of columns from a single publication. The style is very relatable and very readable. The humor is often fantastic, even on somewhat tired topics like Southern Men or Mom Competitions.
The shopping episode in particular was poorly explained.
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