Monday, July 30, 2012

It Sucked and then I Cried

It Sucked and then I Cried: How I Had a Baby, a Breakdown, and a Much Needed Margarita by Heather Armstrong

Heather Armstrong is the blogging phenomenon better known as dooce. She lost her job for writing about her co-workers long before blogging became the "thing to do," and has since become a self-professed "professional blogger." (They live well. How is this possible?) I have read dooce's blog on and off since I discovered it many years ago after the Blogher controversy during which another Mommy Blogger referred to her as the "mythical troll" of blogging, which was taken very offensively by her fans (go figure).

When I saw on her web page that she had written this book, I tried to get a copy with no luck. Then, I found one at the fill-a-bag for $5.00 library book sale in our neighborhood. (Perhaps that should have been a hint?)

The tone of this memoir was similar to that of her blog, which I enjoy. However, it was a bit much to continuously digest over 253 pages. Have you ever talked to someone who is always trying to build up to the laugh? That's what the narration of this book felt like. There was definitely humor. There was humor safely cocooning dark subjects, namely postpartum depression (including a brief visit to the psychiatric ward). But there was always humor.

For example, her commentary on Morning Sickness:
I come from a long line of Southern women who were sick then entire nine months of their pregnancies, my mother and sister included, and although I was the first woman in my family stubborn enough to reject the whole notion of pantyhose, I suspected that I would be forced through defective genes to suffer forty weeks of incessant gut-churning, face-contorting, Nacho Cheese Doritos-laden vomit.

Expectantly, the novel also includes several jibes at the Mormon religion, which both Heather and her husband were raised in... and left... then moved to Salt Lake City... UTAH. It borders offensive but doesn't quite reach there, much in the same way only a black comedian can get away with some jokes.

In ironic retrospect I would have to say that reading the novel was like pregnancy, or giving birth. It was a bit painful. I wanted to finish it, but I just couldn't get through it fast enough. Reflecting back on it now though I can appreciate it more than during the actual experience of reading it. Foremost because it had this directly non-fairy detail demystification of, 'You may think you know what this is  going to be like, you may have read all the important books, you may have all kinds of people giving you advice in your life, but they're all lies. Lies. All of them. Here's the real deal.'

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