Even with a looming deadline to finish editing oral histories from incarcerated women in her next title, Voice of Witness: Women in Prison (to be published by McSweeney’s this fall), author Ayelet Waldman manages to read up to five books a month. Where does the writer of Red Hook Road, Bad Mother, and Love and Other Impossible Pursuits find the time? “I have no hobbies,” she says. “I read, hang out with my family, or watch Bethenny Ever After.” The Bravo reality TV show is Waldman’s guilty pleasure—and a counterpoint to her required reading list full of dark comedies, family dramas, and touching memoirs. “I like a book that balances humor and darkness, that allows humor to be brought to tragedy,” she says. “That’s kind of my thing.” It also makes for great summer reading if you’re staying put at home and hiding out in the fog.
Carol Brady and June Cleaver made motherhood look like a snap. An easy as homemade pie, wholly satisfying and utterly instinctual snap. But the adult survivors of TV-land's faux maternal perfection have made a cottage industry of kvetching, griping, sharing and obsessing. Mommy-blogging and mommy lit and maternal bitching are all the rage and the latest incarnation of “I'm an ambivalent parent here me roar” is the live storytelling series called Afterbirth and its tonight, one night only at Cobb's Comedy Club.
These, we’re told, are stories you won't read in a Parenting Magazine.
“Feeling passive-aggressive?” writes Berkeley author Ayelet Waldman in a recent email blast. She reminds us that Mothers Day is coming up and suggests that we send a message to our favorite bad mother. Her new book (she suggests) is just the ticket. Bad Mother: A Chronicle of Maternal Crimes, Minor Calamities and Occasional Moments of Grace is coming out on May 5 and Waldman will be reading from it at the KPFA Benefit on May 4.