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Why Moms Are Weird Paperback – August 1, 2006

4.7 out of 5 stars 19 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Twenty-seven-year-old Benny Bernstein struggles with her weight, her insecurities and a sinkhole of family love and dysfunction in Ribon's compassionate follow-up to her debut, Why Girls Are Weird. Three years after her father's death, Benny has shed 50 pounds, built a life for herself in Los Angeles and just begun what might be her first successful relationship with hipster Mickey. But a distraught phone call from her mother, who lost her job and broke her leg in a car accident, brings Benny home to Virginia, since her younger sister, Jami, still living at home, can't be relied on. Back east, Benny discovers her mother's house has become an animal shelter, and she has three secret boyfriends and a red-hot sex life at age 53. As if that weren't overwhelming enough, Jami is dating an abusive ex-con. Benny hires a hot handyman to help clean up the house and finds herself enjoying his teases and flirtations while missing Mickey. Between her mother's eccentricities, her sister's stubbornness and her own self-doubt and confusing love life, Benny isn't sure she'll ever be able to return to L.A. Chick lit fans will identify with this kind, imperfect heroine.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Booklist

As in her debut novel, Why Girls Are Weird (2003), Ribon's central character is a bouncy and articulate twentysomething struggling to find her niche in the world. Belinda Bernstein, aka Benny, has an art history degree and works in a travel agency in Los Angeles, where she followed her actor boyfriend, who is now out of the picture. When her mother breaks her leg and loses her job, Benny returns to Virginia to help out, abandoning her current boyfriend in the process. There she finds her widowed mother juggling three suitors and Jami, Benny's younger sister, "dating another gangbanger." Benny adds to this manic mix by carrying on a flirtatious relationship with her mother's yardman, who has a master's degree yet sounds like a hillbilly. Another mystery is why Jami keeps going back to her abusive boyfriend. Although several characters remain sketchy, there are lots of humorous moments as Benny attempts to untangle these entwined relationships. Deborah Donovan
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Gallery Books (August 1, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1416503854
  • ISBN-13: 978-1416503859
  • Product Dimensions: 5.3 x 0.7 x 8.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (19 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,420,897 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
I read 'Why Girls are Weird' and thought the whole situation was really funny. I was expecting this book to be the same way. I was wrong, but not disappointed. I think this book was a bit more on the serious side and there's some heavier things going on with the main characters, Benny and her family.

Overall, I really enjoyed reading it and hope Pamela Ribon decides to write a third book soon!
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I literally could not put this book down and read it in one sitting. I've always been a fan of The Ribon Writing, and this may be her best yet. Buy this book - you won't regret it!
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Format: Paperback
This book was just so great. Pamie developed the characters so well, and has such a talent for being funny without killing the jokes. My heart was pounding during a few of the situations, and other times I was laughing and other times tearing up. It also kept me guessing until the end what Boobs was going to do with her life.

Pamie is much more talented than many of the more famous chick-lit writers out there already, and I can only imagine who she'll cast to play Boobs when this is made into a movie.
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Format: Paperback
After reading "Why Girls are Weird", I had immediately preordered this book. It was worth the wait-I loved reading about "Boobs" and the dynamics between her and her mother and sister. I read several chapters aloud to my mother who laughed heartily. Just goes to show, it's not just funny to the 30ish chicks-it's funny all the way around!
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Format: Paperback
WHY MOMS ARE WEIRD by Pamela Ribon

January 6, 2007

Amazon rating 4/5

I loved this book! Belinda "Benny" Bernstein lives in Los Angeles, far from her mother and sister who live across the country. She gets calls from her mother and they always have the craziest of conversations. Here's an example: Her mother would call and tell Benny "I have chlamydia". I was laughing out loud from the very first page, and with lines like that, it's hard not to. Benny's nickname is "boobs", and little details like that just made the story funnier.

Belinda finds out after the fact that her sister and mother were in a car accident, and now her mother can't drive until her broken leg heals. Her mother has also lost her job. So, Belinda decides to move back home to help her mother and sister out (her sister also happens to be living at home with mother).

Living at home is not easy, and when Belinda sees the house, she cannot believe her eyes. It's a wreck. Not only is the house falling apart but it's filled with so much junk there is no room to move. It's not any cleaner outside, either, as the yard is filled with animals. Belinda is resolved to fix her family's living situation by hiring someone to help out around the house, doing whatever is necessary to get the place livable. This is how Belinda meets Zack, a very good looking young man that Belinda thinks has the hots for her, and vice versa. But she's also left behind a nearly - brand new boyfriend (they have no commitments to each other, but she still feels tied to him), Mickey, who she met in a very unconventional way - at the grocery store during a conversation about the music being broadcast on the grocery store speakers).
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Format: Paperback
Why Moms Are Weird will appeal to anyone who's experienced the infuriating push/pull love/hate relationship between mother and daughter, and Pamela Ribon captures it brilliantly with her narrator Benny, aka "Boobs." She manages to relate the family's history, quirks, and complicated relationships in a way that lets the story naturally unfold. Benny's narration shows us how out of place she's felt within her family, first because of her weight, and later because of living so far away from Virginia, in Los Angeles, and just feeling removed.

In just a few crisp sentences, Ribon captures the heart of maternal criticism, and why it can sting so much:

"The words hit me in waves as I dissect layers of passive-aggressie, backhanded complimenting. I can chip away and chip away, but I'll never stop finding additional ways to be humiliated back into the fetal position." or

"Our fights quickly escalate into yelling. I don't know how she can get me so angry so quickly. When I feel slighted by my mother, when she accuses me of being wrong when I know I'm right, there isn't a decibel loud enough to make me feel relief."

By allowing Benny's mother room to have her say, Ribon allows readers to see how they differ in their memories and intentions. Even when her mother's boyfriend makes an obviously racist remark, Ribon shows how, to his mind, that is not what he intended, and the reader has plenty to mull over as each feisty, headstrong, quirky character battles it out for the supremacy of their point of view.

While we start off hearing all about why Benny hates her mother and might someday kill her, the real story here is one of love, between parents and children, sisters, and friends.
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Format: Paperback
Having read Ribon's first novel -- as well as years of "Television Without Pity" recaps -- I was expecting something in a similar vein. Although "Moms" has the same conversational flow and humorous moments, it delves into more serious (and often unresolved) conflicts with protagonist Belinda "Benny" Bernstein. Like many twenty-somethings, Benny faces tremendous self-esteem issues, largely due to her upbringing. Because of them, she has trouble finding a place for herself in the world...both with family and potential boyfriends, as well as society as a whole.

After returning home to Virginia to help her incapacitated mother, Benny begins trying to solve her problems -- as well as those of her mother and ne'er-do-well younger sister Jami. But as she quickly learns, they don't necessarily *want* her help. As frustrating as it may be, Benny attempts to face up to the fact that some situations must either resolve themselves eventually, or simply continue unraveled as long as her family members permit.

While I didn't enjoy this book as much as "Girls," Ribon's writing style overall makes any book an enjoyable read. I'll be waiting for news of a third book.
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