Diary of a Mad Mom-to-Be
Laura Wolf debuted in the burgeoning chick-lit field last year with Diary of a Mad Bride. The heroine of that book, Amy Thomas Stewart, returns in Mad Mom-to-Be, again clutching a definitive guidebook in one hand and an endless to-do list in the other, her often-befuddled husband, relatives and friends trailing behind.
Recovered from the wedding and newly employed after a long job search, Amy has had an epiphany. It’s time for the pitter-patter of little feet. She embarks on the job of getting pregnant in a precision campaign that is, of course, doomed to chaos. But that’s just the prologue to ten months of amusing mayhem, beginning with Amy’s distressing discovery that 40 weeks of gestation works out to well over the traditional nine months.
I’ve never been pregnant but I imagine women who have smiling in recognition at Amy’s encounters with previously unsuspected pregnancy side effects like the tendency of total strangers to touch her abdomen, and “Dog Nose”, her sudden ability to discern the odor of broccoli from 20 feet away. The book is at its strongest and funniest in chronicling Amy’s reaction to each new challenge on the road to motherhood (“Delicate condition? Who is he kidding? No one who farts as much as I do could possibly be described as delicate.”)
The diary format of the writing means that Amy mostly describes what’s going on with Amy; the rest of the cast, including her husband, are rather vague and one-dimensional. Sometimes this works, when the supporting character has an essentially one-dimensional role to play, like Eddie, the office-mate who is weirdly obsessed with Amy’s pregnancy. But it also meant that I had a hard time getting interested in non-pregnancy side plots involving friends and family held over from the first book. I often found myself skimming those sections to get back to the main action. On the plus side, the episodic style of the book made this fairly painless.
Relating to Amy’s world view is sometimes difficult. As in many chick-lit books, the hyper-urban milieu, emphasis on expensive shopping, and overall self-centeredness of the heroine could become grating. But the overall tone is light enough that it was difficult to get too seriously annoyed.
Diary of a Mad Mom-to-Be is a fast, fluffy read that will have you smiling and sometimes laughing out loud. I read this book before its predecessor, Diary of a Mad Bride. Although I understood some of the subplots and references better after going back and reading the first book, it’s not necessary to have read the first book to enjoy its sequel. And if you have a pregnant friend with a good sense of humor, this book could make a great gift. Its breeziness and short chapters will go perfectly with number 10 on the pregnancy side effect list: CRC (Can’t Remember Crap).