Each of the brief (4-5 page) vignettes in author (and mom) Lisa Kogan's new book feels like going down a slide -- it gathers acceleration as it progresses and you feel a little shiver of exhilaration before getting in line to experience the fun again.
I marked parts of the text that I could relate to. Does this give you an idea of the kinship I felt with Kogan?
Just tonight, when I sat down to write this review (which is due in 22 minutes), I could relate to Lisa's chapter about dinner parties, entitled "It's My Party -- and I'll Make Witty, Albeit Possibly Inappropriate and/or Offensive Remarks -- If I Want To." Lisa believes that she is dinner-party-hostessing impaired and apparently her friends agree with her. They invent things like elective surgery conflicts and other excuses to avoid Lisa's dinner parties. It comes down to her perfectionism and how difficulty it is to relinquish control and allow the guests to relax. Her significant other/father of her child Johannes's solution is to pick up the phone, while she is clad in scruffy yoga pants, and invite the neighbors over in 15 minutes. Although the apartment isn't "company ready" and the refrigerator's only contribution to anything remotely dinner party-ish is some marginally fresh condiments, order-in Thai food saves the day and Lisa, Johannes and the guests enjoy a lovely evening of camaraderie. I have about that long to get my thoughts down on paper about Lisa's book and I'm going to do my best to give you a "taste."
Another story of Lisa's that could have been plucked out of my life was Chapter 3, "Messing With My Head." Lisa tells the story of her "very, very, very bad haircut" in this chapter, when she connects her "crummy haircut" from a quick visit to a "no appointment necessary clip joint" to a "seventeen-month-long lousy streak." For me, it was sort of the opposite situation. In November 2009 when Tenley wanted a haircut from favorite stylist at Green Peridot, a local salon, the price had gone up exponentially because a) at 13, she no longer qualified for the "children's price," and b) her stylist had moved up the rungs at the "teaching salon" and could now charge more (meaning around $55 total). Deciding we couldn't both get pricey haircuts, and deferring to the theory that self esteem issues are more critical to a 13 year old than a 44 year old, I went to the opposite end of the Aveda spectrum and got a "student" cut for $12 at the local Aveda "teaching salon." The cut itself actually wasn't as horrible as Lisa's "fatal haircut" apparently was, but the oddest things requiring a focus on my appearance happened that month, such as my first opportunity to have a role (other than "extra") in an FSU Film. Haircuts are rarely just about hair, are they?
Lisa does a succinct job of summing up what it is that all of us forty-something moms seek in between all of the fatal haircuts, bad dinner parties, and monkey maulings (see Chapter 14). We seek (or at least Lisa and I do) those "perfect moments," when "life is inexorably sweet ---- and generally over before you can capture them on the teeny camera in your ridiculously tricked-out cell phone."
Do you need a laugh in an otherwise hectic, stressful day? Do you need to know you're not alone? Need a man to hold your hair while you throw up? (Well, you may be alone on that one as Lisa seems to have one of the last few alive and even he is in Switzerland eight months out of the year.) But for the laugh part and the "all in this together part," give Lisa's book a try ...... the humor will "be with you shortly."
On Wednesday, April 29, from 9-11 p.m. Melissa Lierman and Julie Morgenstern will be hosting a Twitter party to introduce the book and Lisa! Lisa will be answering questions about her life, her column with O magazine, and the book! Click here to RSVP!