Amateur Hour: Motherhood in Essays and Swear Words

Kimberly Harrington. Harper Perennial, $15.99 trade paper (320p) ISBN 978-0-06-283874-2
This funny, angry, and moving essay collection from Harrington, a copywriter and regular contributor to McSweeney’s Internet Tendency, considers life for women dealing with motherhood, work, marriage, self-image, expectations, ambition, fatigue, and everything else. “Our culture has set the bar so high that it’s hidden in a place where we’ll never find it,” she writes. Per the subtitle, the writing is often profane, but just as often poignant, as in Harrington’s opening salvo, addressed to her children and titled, “I Don’t Want to Be Dying to Tell You These Things,” which states “you will be disappointed to learn that parents, and adults in general, do not have all the answers.” Full of “righteous anger” about how quickly new mothers are expected to leap back into full-time work, nostalgia for the “nowhere-but-here” days spent with toddlers, and grief for lost loved ones, Harrington is at her best in the most personal pieces, including discussions of working from home (“The Super Bowl of Interruptions”) and of trying to parent without overpraising children (“Your Participation Trophies Are Bullshit”). The collection also has short throwaways (“Your Cute Wedding Hashtags 20 Years Later”) and clever humor pieces, such as an essay presenting motherhood as a job description. All of the topics covered are familiar, but Harrington’s approach to them is singular, and readers—particularly those who have been in the motherhood trenches—will smile, laugh, and maybe even shed a tear.(May)
Reviewed on: 03/05/2018
Release date: 05/01/2018
Ebook - 320 pages - 978-0-06-283875-9
Downloadable Audio - 978-0-06-285075-1
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