I was going to do a reading roundup today but my in-laws are arriving in a few hours and you know what that means: less blogging, more cleaning. So I decided to focus on just one book today. It’s a fun book. A short book. My very favorite kind of book: parenting humor! And it’s got pictures, even. Yep, I’m an adult who likes reading stuff with pictures. There, I said it. What? Like you don’t go straight for the cartoons when you pick up the New Yorker?
I chose this book the way I choose much of my reading material – by wandering the aisles of the library or bookstore and picking covers that appeal to me. That’s right, I choose books by their covers. And I only read the New Yorker for the cartoons. Moving on…
So the book is called “Parenting: Illustrated with Crappy Pictures,” by Amber Dusick, a mother of two in L.A. Apparently it’s one of those blog-to-book success stories, so yay for Amber! But before I get into more details, let me say this. It may come as a surprise to some of you that despite my frequent
rants posts on the, um, more “challenging” moments of parenting, I actually LIKE being a parent. Love it, actually. So I always try (and sometimes fail) to infuse my rants with a kernel of hope and humor, because that’s really how I see life.
So I don’t like to read parenting books that are overly whiny, complain-y, and curse-y. They depress me. Did you know there’s an actual genre called “derelict mom books”? Yep, that’s a thing now. And while many might put Dusick in this category (in fact, she’s quoted in that article), I would disagree. I found her book concise, clever, sweet, and really, really funny. Unlike some books in this genre, I did not come away from it thinking she hates her kids and should have stuck to raising house plants.
Basically, the book is a series of anecdotes about her life with 2 small boys, on such topics as (not) sleeping, eating, traveling, and poop. They are all illustrated with simple stick drawings that make South Park look like high art. But there’s something so appealing and charming about her stick figures that it makes the stories even funnier. Check out her blog for a taste. There IS some cursing here and there, but it’s not gratuitous. It’s in context. [See the “Language (Is Cool)” chapter.]
My favorite parts were when she tries to explain homelessness to her son and it goes awry. (You get to pee outside? Awesome!!) And when the pizza delivery guy shows up at her house while the kids are taking a bath. (The word “penis” is shouted loudly, and often, while she’s attempting to pay.) And the part about mom illness vs. dad illness is perfect.
If that’s not enough of an endorsement, my 7yo — who is a budding illustrator and writer himself — swiped the book when I was done and read it cover to cover in one evening, giggling hysterically. Yep, badly drawn poop jokes are hilarious. You know you agree.