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