Saturday, August 13, 2016

How to Party With an Infant

How to Party With an Infant by Kaui Hart Hemmings
Simon & Schuster: 8/9/16
eBook review copy; 240 pages
ISBN-13: 9781501100796

How to Party With an Infant by Kaui Hart Hemmings is a highly recommended humorous, yet moving account of being a parent and a person.

Mele Bart is a single mom living in San Fransisco. After a few failed attempts at meeting other moms, she's managed to find a mother's support group where she fits in with the members. Her group joined the official San Francisco Mommy Club. Now SFMC is having a cookbook competition and Mele is filling out the entry form. Actually, the whole book is Mele filling out the form and telling corresponding stories about those in her support group while finding the perfect recipe based on the story shared. Mele is also trying to deal with her daughter Ellie's father, Bobby, and his upcoming wedding. He wants Ellie to be a flower girl.

Mele and her friends are dealing with their feelings of inadequacy and failure, so their stories reflect this fact. In between the story telling, Mele is very candid about her life and experiences, including those she's had with other SFMC groups and her ex. Interspersed in the entry form stories are excerpts from an online message board. Seriously, the mommy wars rage as people express their firm beliefs about one thing or another, while one member is wonderfully funny and satirical.

This is a great selection for anyone who can relate to Mele's search for like-minded moms:
"She smiles to herself, remembering those early days, when she was one of those friendless parents - the ones that smile too eagerly at other moms and apologize if their babies sneeze. The ones who use lame pickup lines like "I like your burp cloth" or "How do you like your Britax Roundabout?" Mele would hit up all the hot spots - Gymboree, Day One, Music Together, playgrounds, parks, and museums - hoping to meet someone. She’d see other mothers in groups, laughing on polka-dot throw mats and think: Where do I find them? And how do I act once I do?"

I found How to Party With an Infant a wonderfully entertaining light read, which I need every now and then. It is very well written and the stories are funny, poignant, touching, and hopeful. If you have ever struggled to find or fit in with a mommy group, you will understand Mele's situation. Or if you've ever experienced a part of the mommy wars, you'll find yourself laughing and commiserating with Mele. The fact that she found a group of such diverse individuals with stories that are sometimes raw and heartbreaking to share is heartening. Mele is very honest in what she writes for the cookbook entry, both in her feelings and observations and her friend's stories.

Disclosure: My advanced reading copy was courtesy of the publisher for review purposes.

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