Genre: Adult Fiction, Motherhood
Reading Challenges: 24 for 100+ in 2009
I really wasn't expecting very much from this novel. I began my read with an expectation that this would be a book much like the cupcake pictured on the cover; light and fluffy, and easily forgettable. Instead, I was pleased to discover a great read which made me reflect on my own thoughts and feelings of life as a stay-at-home mother to young children.
The heroine is Lanie, the mother of three energetic (to say the least) little boys, the youngest of whom is only eight months old. At the beginning of the book, Lanie explains that she has recently relocated because of a great career opportunity for Peter, her husband. Lanie has left behind her childhood home in Houston, her family, and her friends. A chance remark by a stranger at a park also convinces Lanie that somewhere along the way she has also left behind the girl she used to be, back when she and Peter first fell in love. Lanie becomes determined to reclaim her old self, but she finds this quest more difficult than she would have imagined as she tries to continue to meet her responsibilities as a wife and a mother.
I found this book to be refreshing because Lanie's life as a wife and mother, while not depicted as glamorous in any way (at one point, in an emergency, she helps her oldest boy poop into a Ziploc bag at a park), was not written as though it was one of constant drudgery. There were plenty of moments that had me smiling as Lanie's little boys tried to "help" her, and her husband Peter was portrayed as a loving, supportive, and faithful husband. I do feel that the author did a great job of capturing the exhaustion, frustration, joy, and adventure of parenthood. I also enjoyed reading about Lanie and Peter, and their relationship.
I am so glad I gave this book a chance. Ultimately, it reminded me that although I'm not necessarily the girl I used to be, it doesn't follow that this new person is any less valuable. It also reminded me to live in the moment, and be grateful for the present; stinky diapers, runny noses, and all.