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Editorial Reviews

Raising newborn twins in Bangkok wasn't easy, but it was certainly colorful, according to Leanne Shirtliffe's raucously entertaining memoir. From eating deep-fried bugs to entangling with her blunt French hairdresser, Shirtliffe describes parenting abroad with a snappy zest, which is matched by Trudie Kessler, who lends a breezy tone to Shirtliffe's witty observations, ranging from astonishment to self-deprecation. Her examination of post-partum depression interjects a needed dose of poignancy, as does her self-described "sappy" realizations on the joy of motherhood. The locale may be different, but parents will find similarly relatable and hilarious experiences in Don't Lick the Minivan.

Publisher's Summary

As a woman used to traveling and living the high life in Bangkok, Leanne Shirtliffe recognized the constant fodder for humor while pregnant with twins in Asia's sin city. But in spite of deep-fried bug cuisine and nurses who cover newborn bassinets with plastic wrap, Shirtliffe manages to keep her babies alive for a year with help from a Coca-Cola deliveryman, several waitresses, and a bra factory. Then she and her husband return home to the isolation of North American suburbia.

In Don't Lick the Minivan, Shirtliffe captures the bizarre aspects of parenting in her edgy, honest voice. She explores the hazards of everyday life with children such as:

  • The birthday party where neighborhood kids took home skin rashes from the second-hand face paint she applied
  • The time she discovered her twins carving their names into her minivan's paint with rocks
  • The funeral she officiated for "Stripper Barbie"
  • The horror of glitter
  • And much more!

A delayed encounter with postpartum depression helps Shirtliffe to realize that even if she can't teach her kids how to tie their shoelaces, she's a good enough mom. At least good enough to start saving for her twins' college - eh, therapy - fund. And possibly her own. Crisply written, Don't Lick the Minivan will have parents laughing out loud and nodding in agreement. Shirtliffe's memoir might not replace a therapist, but it is a lot cheaper.

©2013 Leanne Shirtliffe (P)2013 Audible, Inc.

Critic Reviews

"Leanne Shirtliffe writes with hilarity and poignancy as to the trials and pains (literally) of motherhood. She is our new Erma Bombeck!" (Elizabeth Boyle, New York Times best-selling author)

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I Guess You Had to Be There?

Humor is an odd thing. I know from the other reviews I read that many people found this to be hysterically funny. I was really looking forward to a light-hearted upbeat listen. The problem was that I just didn't think it was funny at all. It all sounded forced. To my ear the narration was halting and strained. I would seriously suggest you listen to the audio sample carefully before download. Can't recommend.

27 of 30 people found this review helpful

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Pedantic

I expected laugh out loud funny. Instead, all I could think was, please let it end. The material in this book is no more or less funny than anything any parent experiences.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Endearing Story

Thank you for sharing your memories. This is a sweet story sprinkled with humor. I think the reader sounds older than the age of the mother in the story. Voice is trying too hard. Story is cut though.

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funny take on parenting

very humerus point of view on parenting.

made me laugh out loud.

I liked the layout.

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  • Kristen
  • Brick, NJ, United States
  • 08-02-15

Trite.

The stories in this book have the potential to be funny -the author certainly doesn't lack for humorous material- but the way they're written just sounds like the humor is forced, which leaves the episodes themselves sounding very commonplace. Plus the narrator didn't do a good job with humorous inflection, which might have helped, but instead left the stories very dry.

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It's funny but not quite what I expected

What made the experience of listening to Don't Lick the Minivan the most enjoyable?

As a parent of twins myself, I could relate many times with the author about the trials of double to fun. Of course, as a father,I related more to Chris. There are a lot of interesting stories which cause a chuckle but a lot of it seems like a collection of blog posts. I don't want to critique parenting styles as every parent does it different since kids don't have an instruction manual that comes out after the placentas and she seems to be doing well for her kids.

What was one of the most memorable moments of Don't Lick the Minivan?

The reaction of mom and Chris to her kids engraving their names into the back of the minivan with a rock seems like something my kids would do. Thank goodness they never thought of it.

Which scene was your favorite?

The scene in Bangkok where they don't really know where the babies are after being handed off to a group of women who wanted to hold the babies. I can relate to that.

Any additional comments?

The conclusions of the author are pretty good but I really was expecting more statements you never thought you would say. My wife thought of putting together a list of saying she had said through 4 kids and I thought more of these would be in here. I guess it's expectations and shouldn't hurt the overall view of this book. I do think this is targeted more towards moms than me and that's where I think I didn't catch everything.

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Relatable

Any additional comments?

This was a fun, easy listen. I think most parents of young children will be able to find some stories in this book that they can relate to. Nothing in this audio book had me laughing out loud, but it definitely put a smile on my face.

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  • Tobi
  • Sunnyvale, CA, United States
  • 02-03-14

Hilarious!

What made the experience of listening to Don't Lick the Minivan the most enjoyable?

I listen to audible books at bedtime as I'm falling asleep. It made me laugh so much, that I had to stop listening to it a number of times, just so that I could fall asleep. I just wanted to keep listening and laughing, but it kept me awake.

Who was your favorite character and why?

N/A

What about Trudie Kessler’s performance did you like?

GREAT intonation in her voice!

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

I wanted to, but didn't have time.

1 of 4 people found this review helpful

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Poor narration

Where does Don't Lick the Minivan rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

middle, not the best, not the worst book I have listened to.

How did the narrator detract from the book?

poor recitation, flat, no emotion, choppy, with pauses where there should not be any. Poor narration distracts from the humor that the author wishes to portray

Any additional comments?

This was a poor listen, not because of the content, rather the poor naration .

1 of 4 people found this review helpful

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  • Daryl
  • Edmonton, Alberta, Canada
  • 05-28-13

An extraordinary look at universal motherhood

If you could sum up Don't Lick the Minivan in three words, what would they be?

Hilarious, funny, heartwarming

What insight do you think you’ll apply from Don't Lick the Minivan?

How to laugh at myself, my children, and life in general

Any additional comments?

This book was hilarious. I could relate to the author as a woman and as a Canadian - not as a mother (since I do not have children yet). Her details of giving birth and raising children in Thailand were both universal and unique in scope, and her hilarious descriptions of parenting coupled with her "sappy files" provided a wonderful counterbalance.
Great work!

1 of 4 people found this review helpful

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  • Clare
  • 05-20-15

Brilliant

Loved the story . Laughed the whole way through . The narrator was brilliant putting on different voices for the different characters. Definitely recommend this audiobook

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  • Heather
  • 03-02-14

Great character narrator, tedious storytelling

Would you try another book written by Leanne Shirtliffe or narrated by Trudie Kessler?

Loved The narrators voice, it was fresh, and had buckets of character. It's a big part of why I purchased the book. She just sounds so funny! But the story telling is not funny. I could tell what was supposed to be funny, but it wasn't funny. The metaphors and similes were too many and varied, and there was far too much hyperbole. Over done, all overdone.

What will your next listen be?

A David Sedaris book. I thought this book was going to be like a female David Sedaris, with witty observations and insights,

What does Trudie Kessler bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you had only read the book?

I would look out for other comedic books with this narrator. Honestly, great performance, but the story telling couldn't keep me listening.

What reaction did this book spark in you? Anger, sadness, disappointment?

Boredom, annoyance, tedium.

0 of 1 people found this review helpful

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