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Book Review: Exploiting My Baby *Because It’s Exploiting Me

I’ve been looking for pregnancy memoirs lately – books that I can relate to and maybe even get a laugh of association from. I found Jenny McCarthy’s book but, honestly, it left me wanting. I needed more substance, more entertainment, more humor. Then I stumbled upon Teresa Strasser’s book, Exploiting My Baby (Because It’s Exploiting Me).

At first, I have to say, I was a little turned off by the title. It just rubbed me the wrong way, you know? You et that feeling sometimes and you’re like nah, I think I’ll pass. But I read some Amazon reviews and they were all pretty solid and the book was available at my local library so I figured, what the heck, it can’t be any worse than Before, right?

This decision to jump into this book anyway reaffirmed the old saying, don’t judge a book by its cover (or title), because this book has everything Jenny’s doesn’t.

PhotobucketFirst off, the book has substance. Teresa doesn’t just give quick anecdotes and then move on to the next thing. She weaves each little nuance of pregnancy throughout her stories, with themes of loss (ie, “I miss you toxins”), worry (she might worry a bit too much, but what first-timer doesn’t from time to time?), obsession (her Google search history is pretty hilarious), realism (sometimes it sucks to find out you’re having the gender opposite of what you wanted, but then you realize it’s cool), the desire for companionship (her search for pregnant ladies to befriend) and always, humor. This girl is funny, and I laughed out loud which is really my measurement of how actually funny a book is, of course. Because sometimes books are funny but they don’t actually make you LOL, you know? The real funny books, the real ones, make strangers wonder what the heck is so funny and how can they get their hands on it.

I read this entire book in one Saturday, and not because it’s short because at almost 300 pages I wouldn’t call it a brief read at all. I read it all because I could not put it down, it was so good. Maybe I’m biased because I’m coming off the heels of Belly Laughs and Before, but this book is exactly what I was looking for in the pregnancy memoir genre. I only hope to find more books just like it.

Next review: Ina May’s Guide to Childbirth.

Crappy Pictures: Cloth Diaper Hilarity

This is too funny not to share with of you:

Book Review: Belly Laughs

The other day I was watching “What Not to Wear” on TLC (have you noticed yet that I’m a fan of the show?). Stacie and Clinton were making over a woman who worked as a personal assistant to and was nominated by Jenny McCarthy and some other woman who is on “Dancing with the Stars” or something (and was obviously starved for screen time. I mean, the nominator does not do the 360 and shopping with the nominee. Why they let her tag along to all that is beyond me. Jenny’s taped segments, on the contrary, were fairly low-key and all about the nominee. Much more classy, in my opinion.)

PhotobucketCoincidentally, the day after my “What Not to Wear” viewing Mr. Handsome brought “Belly Laughs” home from the library for me. Aw, isn’t he sweet?

That night I sat down to have a read, and one read was all it took. I finished this book in about four hours, including several potty breaks and a 30-minute reading session with Kiddo1 (he just started the Harry Potter series, which I’m so excited about!). The short chapters are like individual short stories which makes you feel like you’re just flying through the 161 pages.

I think we all remember “classic” Jenny McCarthy: I’m thinking of the days she was really popular, co-hosted “Singled Out” on MTV and never held back from a fart or poop joke. Jenny totally owns up to this reputation and makes it very clear in her first chapter that this book is not for the modest as she does bring up several subjects that would probably make non-pregnant women a bit uncomfortable. But honestly, to the pregnant (especially the experienced pregnant) there wasn’t a ton of overly-graphic detail. Most of it just gave me a little “ew” expression, like the story about her proctology visit (let’s just say the doctor she visited really seemed to love his job – a lot – and she didn’t go back).

I expected a marginal amount of grossness and she did not fail to deliver. However, I was also expecting a few more laughs. I like a book that can make me laugh out loud, especially if it’s about something that I can relate to. Mr. Handsome gave me a Chelsea Handler book last Christmas and I really had to be careful where I read it because she would have me close to rolling on the floor sometimes. David Sedaris has that same effect, too. Looking back on my Jenny memories, I think that I’ve just never found her to be all that funny. Our styles of humor just don’t “mesh” well. Others have found this book to be quite LOL funny – I mean, it was an NYT bestseller. Maybe you’ll have better luck than me.

One thing that I did take from this book is a reminder that everyone’s pregnancy is different. While we all experience similar “side effects,” some women’s experience can be drastically different than others. What works for some women won’t always work for you. That’s something for me to keep in mind not only with all these pregnancy books I’m reading, but also for all the strangers who will start to comment on and give advice regarding my bump/baby now that it’s become obvious that I’m expecting.

Next Month’s Book: Changing Diapers by Kelly Wels