Thursday, April 24, 2008

Review: The Book of Mom

Summary: Tate, a stay-at-home mom, is burned out. Can she recover her lost self and regain her passion for life before she goes completely insane? With the help of a good therapist, an insightful friend, and her unfailing sense of humor, she find balance and authenticiy in her role as a modern mom.

Funny, inspirational, and thought provoking, this novel embraces the core of motherhood today as it takes readers along on Tate's journey of self-rediscovery and healing. Every mom will recognize the challenges of tackling the larger issues of life while keeping up with the exhausting day-to-day routine and will appreciate seeing that, with help, anyone can find inward and outward balance. - book jacket

When Tricia from Ollie Media asked if I would be interested in reading a book about finding the "me" in mommy, I thought THE BOOK OF MOM sounded like a perfect fit for me. I think any stay-at-home mom has wondered where her true self went once she gave birth! I want to make it clear that I know I am incredibly blessed that I am able to stay at home with my children, and I wouldn't have it any other way (most of the time.) But I have to admit that there are days when I think it would be a lot easier to return to the corporate world and actually see immediate results. (Who am I kidding? -- I didn't always get results there either!)

Let me get this out of the way right off the bat -- the cover of this book is adorable with all the iced animal cookies. I don't know if it's because I'm a mom or that I just love iced animal cookies, but I was immediately drawn to the book. The animal cookie motif continues throughout the book as a black and white sketch at the beginning of each chapter. For some reason, the animal cookies just make me smile.

Overall, I enjoyed the message in this book that a woman can find a balance between being a mother and staying true to herself. I liked that the author incorporated a great deal of spirituality and insight into the story. I also liked how the main characters admitted that they did need some help from friends, counselors and even God to get through their difficulties. However, I did get annoyed with how much the main characters bashed their husbands. I do know some women who feel that they have terrible husbands and take none of the blame for unhappy marriages, but I don't really enjoy listening to them either. I felt that both of the women in this book had pretty good lives with husbands who provided for them so that they could be with their children. I understand the message that no marriage is perfect and both partners need to constantly work on it and appreciate each other, but it certainly took the characters a very long time to get to this point.

The author, Talyor Wilshire, is an award winning author who worked in the corporate world before becoming an author. She also became an ordained minister in 1991 and teaches seminars based on A Course of Miracles, a workbook focused on spirtuality and personal growth. In fact, concepts from A Course of Miracles were referenced throughout THE BOOK OF MOM. I have to wonder how much (if any) of this book was based on her own life or someone close to her. She certainly has some wonderful insight into the insecurities and frustrations of mothers.

I did feel better once I finished this book. The characters eventually realized how blessed their lives were, and I have to believe that they continued on this course after the book ends. It was nice to see that these characters re-discovered themselves and their faith throughout the story. I did find the overall book uplifting, and I now feel pretty good about where I am in my "path of self-discovery" as a mother and an person.

I think that THE BOOK OF MOM might make a good book club selection for certain book clubs. There is a great deal of self-help and inspirational aspects to this book, so it would be a better fit for readers who have strong religious beliefs. I was sent a page of talking points (very differrent from discussion questions or a reader guide) with the book; however, I haven't been able to find them on-line anywhere.

I recommend this book to mothers who are definitely struggling with finding themselves as well as finding contentment in their lives. I can't say that I have ever read a book like this -- it's very unique because it's both a fictional story as well as a self-help book. Once I was able to get past the ugly comments about the husbands, I found that there were actually quite a few wonderful messages in THE BOOK OF MOM.

3 comments:

sryan said...

I liked the book for the reasons you didn't. Where ever I go it seems like people are getting divorced, and for the friends of mine that do go to that place--blaming and husband bashing is a common theme. So I think what Wilshire is doing here is saving marriages, because she shows if you are one of those types, how to take responsiblity for yourself and she gives tools on how to not only save a marriage but how to love your husband unconditionally when things are not rosey. I think all LONG marriages hit that place that makes you think--is this really the guy I chose? Wilshire breaths new life into those feelings.

Julie P. said...

sryan,

I agree with you that Wilshire's ultimate message is to love your husband even when the going gets tough. All I was saying is that I have a hard time with women who complain so much rather than work on fixing things. The characters in this book eventually do work through their issues so I agree with the final resolution.

Nicole said...

I'm definitely going to check this one out. I've struggled with some of the issues you mentioned and would love to read someone's take on this.

The husband-bashing is annoying to me, too. I recently read an article in Oprah magazine that had a lot of that. I talked about it on my blog this morning.