Reviewed by Lindsay Yocum
I had higher expectations for this book based on the cover and title than I probably should have. (I don’t really read the descriptions of books, but maybe I should) When I first started reading, I actually liked it, and then the story took me through a maze of six women and one man who are all linked and “friends” through a “Mommy and Me” group. I liked that introduction because I was involved in “Mommy and Me” groups when my daughter was first born in a desperate attempt to find other “moms” I could possibly relate to. Even though these groups didn’t work out for me, I was kind of excited to read about these “friendships” that came as a result of having children the same age (and also to see where I went wrong at my attempts). Unfortunately, I felt as lukewarm about the book as I did about these groups. The author takes us through each of the parent’s lives before she brings them altogether for a weekend away at Jane’s family’s beach house that she so graciously invited them all to, despite the fight her husband put up about it.
Nicole was the first mom introduced in the book, and I liked her because I felt as though I related the most to her. She was the “paranoid” mom, and while I have always been slightly “paranoid” myself as a parent, she took it to a whole new level. That’s how the “Mommy” group weekend getaway ended up coming together. Jane had an out of this world fear that something truly awful was going to happen in New York that weekend, and wanted to get out of the city as soon as possible, thinking her family would be safer. I felt so much sympathy for Nicole. She was always on the cusp of breaking down. She had suffered through Postpartum Depression, and was great on her medication; when she stopped taking it, the paranoia began to increase. She did have other methods of coping that I was not a fan of, and I was always kind of left hoping that her husband would open his eyes and either get her help, or leave her to keep their son safe. She didn’t really seem close enough to anyone in the group to confide in them, which made me wonder why she even bothered with inviting the group to her beach house.
We meet Rip, the stay at home dad who seems to always have to constantly remind people that his son isn’t biologically his. He is a big fan of attachment parenting (which there is nothing wrong with, not my thing, but to each their own) and seems to constantly hinder his wife’s relationship with their son, Hank, rather than help them come together. I really liked Rip’s wife because I get the whole “working” mom stigma, and I think that’s why I was not a fan of Rip (and really wished that he wasn’t even in the story). He was so bitter that she worked and he was always alone, yet he was the one who chose to stay home and could go back to work at any given point in time. He even took time out of his day to gossip to his online community of mom’s and gripe about his wife. He was just really petty to me, and even though being part of the “Mommy” group as a male isn’t a bad thing, his wandering eye was. He was just an uncomfortable character, and I had a really hard time with him in this book.
Then there was the lesbian couple, Susanna and Allie. It always seemed like I was reading about typical stereotypes people have against gay couples who have children. I did like them individually, but not together. They just weren’t happy, and Allie always seemed to be so jealous of Susanna’s relationship with the kids because Susanna was the biological mother of their twins.
Hippie, crunchy “I breastfeed my 4 year old daughter” Tiffany seemed like she would be fun and she only had one “ally” in the group, so I was hoping she would bring at least something to this group of depressed, bitter moms (and the lone dad) but I really didn’t expect the way she went about it. It was kind of refreshing, but at the same time, she made my skin crawl because the way she went about it was so vile. She did seem to be the best with not only her kid, but all of the kids.
Leigh was Tiffany’s only “friend” (or “ally”) in the group, or so Tiffany thought. Maybe Leigh did too, but after a request from Tiffany, she isn’t so sure about their friendship anymore. Leigh really bothered me and I really struggled with her, because she favored one child over the other, and that was heartbreaking to envision for me.
We also met the spouses of these women (and man) and they were all seemingly normal, and for that I was happy, because as I’ve said before, I wasn’t a huge fan of this bunch of women (and man) for the most part. It did have some twists in it that I liked, but I am still not sure about the ending. It left a lot of things unanswered, and that was pretty irritating, especially since it seemed as though much of the book was just filler for the ending. The author could have incorporated that into maybe the middle of the book and went from there, unless she’s planning a sequel.
Overall, I would give this book a rating of 2. I wasn’t a fan, but I am sure there are people out there who would enjoy it. There were a lot of things that I think all mothers could in one way or another relate to, which was great. It just didn’t mesh together enough for me.
Lindsay Yocum resides in California with her 5 year old firecracker daughter, Bear, and her hilarious husband. She spends her free time traveling, baking, ruining DIY crafts she finds on Pinterest, and running, when she isn’t nose deep in a book.
Review copy was provided free of any obligation by St. Martin’s Press. No monetary or any other form of compensation was received.