Confessions of a Domestic Failure (★★☆☆☆)

Confessions of a Domestic Failure

Bunmi Laditan   *   MIRA   *   May 2, 2017   *   336 Pages

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Ashley Keller was an up-and-coming marketing exec before she unexpectedly got pregnant right after her wedding to her husband, David. Now she’s at home, trying to figure out how to take care of her baby, her house, her marriage, and herself at the same time. Like most parents, she’s struggling. In an attempt to become a more balanced and “put together” mom, Ashely joins the Motherhood Better boot camp, run by uber-popular and successful mother extraordinaire, Emily Walker. (Think Martha Stewart meets Gwyneth Paltrow.) Inevitably, Ashley’s experiences during boot camp do not go smoothly, and the end result is that all the moms in the group, Ashley and Emily included, are forced get real about who they are, what they are capable of, and how they will choose to interact with each other going forward.

*    *   *   *   *

Oh, what a tired, tired concept for a book. I am so over these cliche mom characters:  In one corner you have the basket case new mom who is wholly incapable of taking care of even minor household tasks in any way! In the other corner you’ve got a super mom with five kids who makes homemade everything, has amazing sex with her husband every night, and still has time for a full-time job as a wildly successful blogger! In the battle of moms, who will win?!!!!

Please. Been there, done that. Like, a million times over.

The main problem with this story concept is that it essentially requires the characters to be one-dimensional. Most women aren’t complete disasters, and most aren’t Mary Poppins perfect either. Reality is somewhere in between. Which means that in order to keep this extreme and adversarial story alive, author Bunmi Laditan has to build it around self-absorbed, unrealistic, and irritating characters who basically just sit around and create drama for themselves.

The only time the characters demonstrate even a twinge of depth is at the very, very end of the book when all the women suddenly discover that, wow, maybe our assumptions and judgments of each other were wrong. I guess we ALL have strengths and shortcomings as moms. Who would have thought?! LADY POWER!!

I wasn’t familiar with Laditan before reading this book, but, ironically, she is a very popular “mom blogger” with a healthy online following. I went and read parts of her blog after I finished this book, and I actually do think she is an entertaining and engaging writer. Unfortunately, I think this may be yet another situation where a blogger–whose writing style is perfect in bite-sized, easily-digestible blog posts–can’t translate that humor and likability to a longer format like a novel. So many of the reviews for this book are gushing, but, yikes, Confessions of a Domestic Failure is just not for me.

Advanced Reader Copy provided through Amazon Vine.

4 thoughts

  1. What made you pick up this book if you dislike the concept so much? I dislike the concept, too.

    Side note: I’ve seen every single episode of Sex and the City and both movies, and while I love that Charlotte has two little girls, I hate that she’s incapable of raising them on her own–no job, mind you!–and needs a nanny. If she did anything else in addition, I would feel less judgy. People really do raise our children mom communities, and maybe that’s what American women are missing, but come on Charlotte. Why did you wear your one-of-a-kind designer skirt while making cupcakes?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I don’t mind a book about women being jealous of other women or feeling intimidated by other women. I think those are pretty natural feelings honestly. What bothered me is that the author only gave us extreme characters. They weren’t realistic at all, so it was impossible for them to have any depth, which made it impossible for me to empathize with anyone. The book was trying so hard to be funny and “down” with the struggling mom, but it just wasn’t.

      I do have to admit that I loved sex and the city (even though there are some, ahem, ridiculous and not quite realistic moments in that show, too…). 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

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