Not bad meaning 'bad'

In terms of parenting, bad can be relative.

In 2005, when Ayelet Waldman — lawyer/author/wife of Pulitzer Prize-winning author Michael Chabon (The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay, probably the best book about comics that I'll never read, and The Mysteries of Pittsburgh, probably the best book about the mysteries of Pittsburgh that I'll never read ) — wrote in a now-infamous article for the New York Times on sex after marriage and childbirth, "I love my husband more than I love my children." It set off a firestorm (to be polite) of controversy. Condemned from the peaks of every internet mountaintop, from Salon to Gawker, it seemed that the divide between second- and third-wave feminism had finally been united by one common understanding: Ayelet Waldman was a "bad mother."

In her just-published collection of essays, fittingly titled Bad Mother, Waldman wisely and wittily addresses the "bad mom" issue head-on. Working her way through the uproar around her New York Times piece and her resulting appearance on Oprah, she writes

The Bad Mother police were swiftly on the scene. They speculated publicly, down in the toxic mud of the comments sections on blog pages, that I was crazy, evil, a menace, that my children should be taken away from me.

What Bad Mother ends up showing, though, is the exact opposite. Wisely wrapped in the guise of a self-defense piece is a discussion on what mothering means in today's society. With razor-sharp incite, Waldman cuts through decades of feminist theory, parenting magazines and societal conceptions by ever-so-subtly counterbalancing arguments with her own, oft-heartbreaking stories of child-rearing, sex, breast feeding, abortion, prenatal care, mother-in-laws and cereal.

Bad Mother's enraging at times, but also a funny, eye-opening account of what being a "good" or "bad" mother actually means, warts-and-all. It's the perfect antidote to typical greeting cards-and-chocolate Mother's Day schlock, so if you forgot to get mom something go grab this. While you're at the bookstore, also pick up Waldman's novel Love and Other Impossible Pursuits. It's fantastic — except for the end. Don't say I didn't warn you on that one.

More By This Writer


Wednesday June 16, 2010 09:00 am EDT
New novel surpasses his career-defining work in beautiful, timely nihilism | more...


Thursday August 6, 2009 09:41 pm EDT
image-1When I was at Book Expo America back in May, one of the "must-grab" pre-publication books (called ARCs, or advance reader copies) handed out like candy was a young adult novel by Justine Larbalestier called Liar, about a young girl whose world of pathological untruths slowly dissolves around the reader. It's an amazing, dark and disturbing story that leaves pretty much every question... | more...


Monday June 29, 2009 09:44 pm EDT


Get this: apparently, being a New York Times-bestselling author of only occasionally tropey chicklit (but, to be fair, sometimes really awesome fantastical lit-fic) means that you get to act like an utter jerk on the interwebs!

When Boston Globe critic Roberta Silman dared to say things about Alice Hoffman's new book, The Story Sisters, such as "this new novel lacks the spark...

| more...


Wednesday May 13, 2009 07:30 am EDT
All's fair in trailer park love and war | more...


Wednesday May 6, 2009 08:53 pm EDT


An imagined conversation between two average bookish dorks:

“So, what’d you do over the weekend?”

“Me? Not much. Went to Superman Jack Sparrow’s Ye Olde Comiques for Free Comic Book Day and got a pretty cool free exclusive Wolverine vs Karl Rove comic, listened to that awesome new Wilco-covering-Janelle Monae-covering-Sinatra 7-inch I picked up...

| more...
Search for more by Russ Marshalek

[Admin link: Not bad meaning 'bad']

Spider for Not bad meaning 'bad'