Mother Talk Blog Tour - We Are All Fine Here
Three Kid Circus is today's stop on the Mother Talk Blog Tour for Mary Guterson's We are all fine here.
I dropped the kids off at school and curled up on the couch with a cup of coffee and my copy of We are all fine here. I planned to read it over the course of a couple of days, stealing an hour here and there from my schedule. Guess what? I couldn't put it down. I read the whole book cover to cover, almost missing school pickup.
From the opening pages, I was completely wrapped up. From the back cover:
Julia has been married to Jim for fifteen years, and admittedly, the thrill is mostly gone. It doesn't help that Jim flirts outrageously with his pretty young coworker and flosses naked in front of the TV. So it's no big surprise that she finds herself thinking about Ray.
The truth is, she hasn't stopped thinking about Ray since she first saw him shirtless, leaping for a Frisbee on the college lawn. And as their recent reunion has proved, he's as good in bed as ever. Well, technically, as good up against the bathroom sink as ever.
But now she has tricky news to share - with her hypochondriac mother, her obsessive-compulsive sister, her inscrutable therapist, her jilted neighbor, and both the men in her life. She's pregnant. And she has no inkling whether the father is Jim or Ray...
It is as much fun as it sounds. I enjoyed Guterson's dry wit and sympathetic, yet not sentimental portraits of her characters. These people are all deeply flawed, in a very recognizable, real-world way. Guterson vividly paints a portrait of her cast of characters, and as I chuckled my way through scene after scene, I recognized people from my own life in these portrayals.
What really tickled me were Julia's proclamations on motherhood. Scattered throughout the book, Julia offers pithy suggestions and observations on everything from proper parenting techniques:
...allow me to summarize: Sleeping with your baby is good. Sleeping with your baby is bad. Schedules, yes. Schedules, no. Lay them on their stomachs. Lay them on their backs. Bottle. Breast. Wean. Don't wean. Toilet train. Don't toilet train. Pick them up when they cry. Never pick up a crying baby. Public school. Home school. Montessori. Competitve sports are good. Competitive sports are bad. Fluoride. No fluoride. Vaccines. No vaccines.
to a stark summary on the joys of mothering:
Mothering is everything it's cracked up to be, which is to say, a complete and total nightmare. Anyone who tells you differently is not to be trusted.
I found myself moved to hilarity and tears as I plowed through the pages. We are all fine here is an irreverent, ultimately revealing look at the way the choices we make affect our lives.