If you feel like your kids are killing you, you’ve come to the right place.
Attention all potty-mouthed, cheap-wine-drinking mothers: Prepare to meet your match. Any bad thought you’ve had about your kids, Nicole Knepper has had worse. Much worse. It’s not that she doesn’t love her kids. It’s that she understands what a mind-f*?% it can be to try to civilize those wild little beasts.
Based on her hugely popular Facebook page, “Moms Who Drink and Swear", this book reveals why family dinners are like herpes, how to avoid smashing toys that are being fought over, and the joy of hearing that your son has murdered his imaginary friend. As Nicole rants and raves about caring for children (without crushing their souls), family togetherness (without too many tears), the saving grace of girlfriends (and vodka), and love and marriage (and all the baggage that goes with them), she gets to the heart of what every exasperated mom is thinking, just much funnier.
©2013 Nicole Knepper (P)2013 Penguin Audio
I am an avid listener. I listen between 75-100 hours per month on my iPhone: 60% fiction to 40% non-fiction.
Wow! I have to give it to Knepper; she certainly has a vocabulary of swear words. I grew up in a trailer park so I have known my share of artists in vulgarity – an artist she is not. Knowing how to artistically turn a phrase with them -- nope -- big fail. If you took out the #$%$$#$ and the f-bombing, you are left with humorless pedestrian stories. I had so hoped for a little Sedaris-esq mix with a female twist. She did not deliver on any level.
There were a few moments that made me smile overall, but they were too far apart. I just can’t recommend a book whose sole impact and selling point is listening to a woman swear. Punch up the stories, get me rolling with laughter, connect me to my kids memories, throw in some potty mouth and now you’d have some success. Hard pass.
I’ve seen only five star reviews of her book (probably fans) on other sites , but here, mostly negative reviews. So, what’s the truth? I listened to find out. As usual with two extremes the truth is in the middle. Knepper is a clever writer. She’s not often laugh-out-loud funny but she will keep you smiling. Only rarely does she come across as trying too hard to be cute. Parents of young or recently young children looking to commiserate over the stress of the job, especially moms, should enjoy this book.
I came to this book wary. I expected the self-satisfied prattling of an ex-cheerleader ex-sorority girl (Knepper proves you can do either/both and not lose your soul.) trashing motherhood for the sake of cheap laughs. It’s not that. I expected highly irreverent, bordering on irresponsible, takes on parenting in the name of comedy. It’s not that either. Knepper had the guts (okay, chutzpah) to narrate her own material and does a competent job. Some will complain her voice is too perky or annoying but it’s her, it’s genuine, and that grows on you. She knows exactly how her writing should sound which we know is rare for many author narrators. She mostly writes about how hard it is to be a good mom and how the job will drive anyone nuts if they’re doing it correctly. It is absolutely clear that she really cares for her kids. I can’t possibly disrespect that.
It’s not JUST about parenting. She starts with a riff on difficult menstrual cycles & clueless men or how guys talk too much about their favorite body part, (ironic given that the very *next* chapter is all about girl body parts.) cleaning toilets (for some cheap potty humor - very literally), and quitting smoking, among things.
You learn she’s a relatively mature parent who became a mom after a decade or so of career. Born in 70, she’s a generation Xer and calls herself a “technophobe” trying to sound like the airhead she’s not and was clearly an early adopter of the Internet and social media, long before Facebook. She fully embraces her generation’s slang in her writing.
I didn’t get over my suspicions about Knepper as a decent soul until the chapter she wrote on the need to learn to “effing cook”. That humanized her. She eventually admits to several flaws which ultimately make her easy to relate to as just a normal person and not just a self-consciously clever one. That she gave up a career to be a full time mom and talks of skimping and cutting corners to make it on her husband’s salary makes her all the more endearing.
Not all her bits are home runs. One essay imagining her own son’s thoughts as he manipulates a waitress using cuteness in that way children learn to do to try to get a better dessert goes on too long. A few times I wished her rants bit “rantier” and more extreme. There's nothing too shocking or outrageous here.
However, more often than not, she tells it like it is. If you worry that your child is weird. (Doesn’t every parent at some point?) you will be able to relate to the weirdness she describes in her son. The battles described between siblings are also classic.
Overall there was less swearing and less drinking than expected while still being legion. Her parody of the “lice letter” that invariably all parents of primary age children receive from school is very funny. Her talk on “effing game night” and “field day” are some of her most powerful writing which she saves for last.
She’s most human when she explains relying on comfort food and cheap wine, to help her through the stresses of parenthood. I’d compare her to Erma Bombeck but I never read any Erma Bombeck. I can say Knepper is a mother and writer with soul. If you find parenting stressful (and you aren’t normal if you don’t) this book will give you a few laughs and help you to feel less isolated. I don’t recommend this book for those who have never been parents but are absolutely certain they could do the job better than the rest of us because we know you’re living in a fantasy world which has no basis in the day-to-day reality of parenting described in this book.
Audio book lover, wife, mother to three boys. I listen whenever I'm alone and can put headphones in.
I enjoyed this book. Sometimes it did fall into a story solely about her family and events, but the author did a good job of using those events to remind us that sometimes the chaos of family is what makes our family ours. I definitely laughed out loud a couple times and found myself tearing up. I was a little offended by the use of the f word, but expected some vulgarity because of the title. Overall, satisfied with this purchase.
I really wanted to like this book and I'm not opposed to the "F" word when it's justified, however, she to drastically over uses it, making it just plain annoying. Her stories were so over exaggerated and seemed somewhat contrived and immature.
Sadly, not really for me. Maybe for newer moms who are new to parenting the stories would be a little more entertaining.
An annoying narrator paired with a uninspired stories of mothering and friendship. Try The Cursing Mommy's Book of Days instead.
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