Humor and gentle pathos punctuate the latest collection of dispatches from The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel columnist and author of The Deep End of the Ocean as she takes on everything from gun laws to garage sales. Reprint. 35,000 first printing.
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Mitchard reads selections from her collection of newspaper columns written, she says, for those of us who are not Martha Stewart and were not the popular cheerleader who was good at calculus--that is--for the rest of us. She addresses a variety of topics, including raising children, coping with the death of her husband from cancer and the attitudes of friends and family when she decided to adopt her fifth child after his death. (Most thought her insane.) She reads in a clear Mid-western accent with an easy grace, letting her emotions enhance each piece. Seemingly unselfconscious about sharing her weaknesses as well as her strengths, and her failures as well as her successes, she moves, amuses and sometimes startles the listener. At the end, one wishes for a full-length audio and more of Mitchard's observations. M.A.M. (c)AudioFile, Portland, MaineFrom Kirkus Reviews:
A beguiling collection of sometimes insightful, often amusing columns from a mother of five who is also a widow, a bestselling author, and not Erma Bombeck. There is no question that the late Bombeck is missed for her heartfelt and pungent commentaries. But the void that she has left does not have to be filled by an Erma manqu‚. Mitchard, author of the novel that Oprah turned into a bestseller, The Deep End of the Ocean (1996), is of another generation and another lifestyle, the now-single mother, one of whose children was adopted after her husband died. Her syndicated newspaper column is in some ways the shallow end of her ocean, although it deals with concerns that she will undoubtedly address in greater depth in future novels. The author proclaims that she and her audience are all those women who are not Martha Stewart, not the girlfriend who was both calculus prodigy and cheerleader, but ``the rest of us.'' The column, she says, has been her anchor, the quasi-diary in which she begins to confront the questions of, for instance, death and adoption, both for herself and her children. But she also reflects on--and occasionally skewers-- such concerns as women's magazines that herald make-work crafts (elves from detergent bottles) versus men's magazines that deal with really useful stuff (building shelves, repairing light fixtures), being expelled from the car pool, and meeting the mother of the baby you are about to adopt. Some of her reflections are funny, some aim for the jugular, some are genuinely moving, like those on life as a widow. Cherry-picked from newspaper columns, this collection is necessarily formulaic in style and uneven in content. Read it, nevertheless: It's written by a woman who dredges for what matters. (Author tour) -- Copyright ©1997, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved.
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