Audie Award Nominee, Humor, 2013
Based on his widely read columns for The New Yorker, Ian Frazier’s uproarious first novel, The Cursing Mommy’s Book of Days, centers on a profoundly memorable character, sprung from an impressively fertile imagination. Structured as a daybook of sorts, with the Cursing Mommy - beleaguered wife of Larry and mother of two boys, twelve and nine - trying (more or less) valiantly to offer tips on how to do various tasks around the home, only to end up on the ground, cursing, surrounded by broken glass.
Her voice is somewhere between Phyllis Diller’s and Sylvia Plath’s: a hilariously desperate housewife with a taste for swearing and large glasses of red wine, who speaks to the frustrations of everyday life. From On the Rez, an investigation into the lives of modern-day Oglala Sioux written with an impressive mix of humor, compassion, and imagination, to Dating Your Mom, a side-splitting collection of humorous essays that imagines, among other things, how you might begin a romance with your mother, Frazier has demonstrated an astonishing ability to operate with ease in a variety of registers. Here he tackles yet another genre with his usual grace and aplomb, and an extra helping of his trademark wicked wit. The Cursing Mommy’s failures and weaknesses are our own - and Frazier, at the height of his powers as a writer and observer, gives them a loving, satirical spin that is uniquely his own.
©2012 Ian Frazier (P)2012 Macmillan Audio
This is the funniest book I have listened to since the halcyon days of S.J. Perelman.
Initially I was listening to the book as I walked around the neighborhood but stopped as I feared the spectacle of a middle-aged woman alternately laughing and crying (to herself, apparently) might attract unfavorable attention, i.e., the men in little white coats.
Not only was the book funny, it was cathartic as well. Cursing Mommy's long rants against everybody, especially the Bush Administration, left me feeling curiously relieved, lighter almost. I think most people can relate to the simple little task that turns into a complicated nightmare even if we don't end up on the floor amid broken glass cursing Dick Cheney.
Cursing Mommy will never win an award for Mother of the Year but her dysfunctional family putters along in its own way and the tale has its own kind of morality. For example Cursing Mommy never succumbs to the temptation to investigate the particular shade of grass represented by the client/boss's unflagging pursuit of her (he's rich too). Given that her husband's love is devoted to his capacitor hobby and her eldest son bids fair to become another Ted Bundy (if setting fires in childhood is indeed a early warning sign of serial killerdom), her steadfastness is admirable altho it may be due to her fondness for alcoholic products.
The narrator's tone is exactly suited to Cursing Mommy's life. I love the way she can go from soft, Yoga-inspired cliches of peace & harmony to full-out Defcon 3 cussing. Perfect.
The wrong narrator could really sink this one - Cynthia Nixon makes her lovable and not whiny or scary. Like any comedic piece, especially one originally written in installments, it should be listened to as it was meant: one episode at a time. Otherwise it gets pretty wearing and predictable. Taken in small doses, the inevitable format is part of the fun.
Have read these Ian Frazier pieces for years in the New Yorker and always found them laugh out loud funny, but it may be that this narrative style is really best in print (at least for me). Not sure it's anything do to with C. Nixon (also love her), just might be that the CM is better heard with one's eyes and not ears!
I wouldn't buy another Ian Frazier book unless at a bargain price. Cynthia Nixon did a great job.
The situations were unique, but the book was to me a series of side-stories that didn't really come together satisfactorily. This reads like a rough draft instead of a thoughtfully rewritten whole.
The mommy-very sympathetic on a lot of occasions but thoroughly self-absorbed.
I bought this book after hearing Mr. Frazier read an excerpt from the book on Jimmy Fallon-that bit was hilarious. But the hate references against the Bush and Reagan administrations were soon overdone and tired. None of the characters were fully believable or relateable.
Cynthia Nixon's performance is terrific. She is very funny. CM gets herself into a lot of ridiculous situations with packing tape, wire hangers, etc., and oddly, it is easy to relate.I also liked all of the references to the Bush administration, global warming, school privatization and health insurance. Just out there enough to be funny. It did take me a little while to get into the book, though. I didn't get it at first. Once I figured out the point of view, I kept going.
I would definitely recommend Cursing Mommy, because it is funny!
Mommy herself. Cynthia Nixon gives her just the right edge.
Yes, but I think it would be tough to translate to the screen, as so much of it is interior monologue.
I found myself quoting lines from the book throughout the day. Like, when I was on hold with the @#$% health insurance company. Oh, and maybe this is self evident, but if you are offended by cursing, you won't like this book.
Ian Frazier: no
Cynthia Nixon: absolutely
Her voice, her expression, her enthusiasm, she lived the part.
You could listen to one day at a time while you were in the bathroom.
I think that it would be funny as a column that you read in a newspaper once a week, but by the second week, it becomes tedious and predictable. (I would like to say that my review was not about "Cursing" I was not offended by the language, I love profanity if it is used correctly.)
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