cover image BELLY LAUGHS: The Naked Truth About Pregnancy and Childbirth

BELLY LAUGHS: The Naked Truth About Pregnancy and Childbirth

Jenny McCarthy, . . DaCapo/Lifelong Books, $18 (176pp) ISBN 978-0-7382-0949-4

McCarthy, 1994 Playmate of the Year, actress (Scream 3 ; Baywatch ; etc.) and former host of MTV's Singled Out , gave birth to her first child in 2002. Her pregnancy wasn't pretty—and she wants to tell readers all about it. At the outset, she tells them, "If you bought this book, you are already aware of my frankness when it comes to certain things—anatomy and bodily functions among them. If someone gave this book to you as a gift and you've never heard of me, apologies to you!" She goes on to recount the nitty-gritty of pregnancy in all its gory detail, covering morning sickness, hormonal rage, cravings, hemorrhoids, "engorged" breasts, gas, hot flashes, fainting spells, weight gain, acne, water retention and, finally, labor. McCarthy is undeniably crass but funny, and her candor and self-deprecation are refreshing. Each brief, chatty chapter focuses on a different—and awful—facet of pregnancy, with McCarthy relating personal anecdotes and usually winding down by reassuring women they're not alone. McCarthy's tales are, for the most part, a hoot, though they may offend more uptight readers. For example, in the beginning of McCarthy's pregnancy, she was constipated, so she visited a specialist. In the waiting room, the assistant called her name, and "everyone... looked up in surprise, and I knew what they were thinking: 'Jenny McCarthy has butt hole problems?' I was so embarrassed, until I realized that they had no right to be smirking: Those assholes were also there because of their own assholes. I felt better already." (May)

Forecast: An author tour, 20-market radio satellite tour and national advertising should generate sales. The book's cover bears a photo of McCarthy sporting her trademark euphoric grin and blonde hair blowing around her head in sexy waves—which could drive husbands to buy this for their pregnant wives.