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Carolyn Vines (Voorschoten, The Netherlands)

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The Secret Life of a Slummy Mummy
The Secret Life of a Slummy Mummy
by Fiona Neill
Edition: Paperback
Price: 6.03

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Slummy Mummy, Indeed: A Review, 30 Sep 2010
The Secret Life of a Slummy Mummy was definitely not my cup of tea. Before reaching page 100, I'd already started skipping over chunks of narration because I'd lost interest in the main character. Lucy Sweeney gave up her career to stay at home with her three young boys. The diary-like book invites the reader into Lucy's everyday life of chaos that her reaction to her decision has created. Lucy's quirks, meant to be endearing, were annoying, especially her utter lack of organization and inability to tell her kids "no".

Parts of Lucy's situation resonated with me, a work-from-home mother of two young daughters, like the unforgiving piles of laundry, but if the message of this book was to point out the pitfalls of stay-at-home motherhood, it failed because there was no character development. At the end I had no doubt that Lucy would continue down the same road of disorganization and parental chaos at least until her youngest left the house.

I don't usually read a lot of Mommy Lit, but when I do, I'd like to spend my limited free time reading about mothers who've found, or are at least looking for, a way to balance their identity as mothers. We mothers don't have to work, but we should never sacrifice our passions, interests or individual agency for our children no matter how adorable they are.

Carolyn Vines, author of Black and Abroad: Traveling Beyond the Limitations of Identity
Black and Abroad: Traveling Beyond the Limitations of Identity

High on Arrival
High on Arrival
by Mackenzie Phillips
Edition: Hardcover
Price: 15.63

8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars She's Taking It One Day at a Time, 30 Sep 2010
This review is from: High on Arrival (Hardcover)
Mackenzie Phillips's character Julie was my favorite on "One Day at a Time", so when I found out Ms. Phillips had written a memoir, I couldn't wait to get my hands on it. It turned out to be a heart-wrenching account of a little girl who was given no boundaries and raised to believe that she was not accountable for her behavior. That a child is taught by a parent how to roll joints and then later how to shoot up heroin is mind blowing. And then to discover that this same parent molested her was too much. While reading High on Arrival I longed to reach out and hug that child to let her know that not all adults/parents were so self-absorbed and untrustworthy. I couldn't hug her, but I was doing the next best thing: listening to her story.

High on Arrival reads more like a diary than an memoir, relating episode after episode of getting high, having sex and being molested. Halfway through the book I'd gotten tired of reading about drugs and liaisons with other celebrity kids. I wish Ms. Phillips had offered more self-reflection and insights into how her previous experiences have shaped her self-awareness, but then again, a diary is there to offer a safe space for the outpour of emotions. Ms. Phillips has enormous courage to lay bare her deepest, darkest secrets and certainly has been strong to withstand the backlash from her family that this book has caused. I applaud you, Ms. Phillips, and wish you all the success I can for your continued healing.

It's definitely worth reading to have an idea of what it can be like for child stars growing up in Hollywood. It certainly helps me to find compassion for the young startlets who are now in trouble: Lindsay Lohen, Brittney Spears, etc.

Carolyn Vines, author of memoir Black and Abroad: Traveling Beyond the Limitations of Identity
Black and Abroad: Traveling Beyond the Limitations of Identity

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