Review by KT Sullivan
Annie Schwartz-Jensen is in labor with her first child and her husband, Zach, is no help. At thirty-six, she’s a middle school teacher planning to be home with her son, Sam, for six months. The story follows every day of her maternity leave. Sam won’t eat and her cat, Doogan, is unimpressed with the newest member of the family. Annie is frustrated, hungry, and exhausted. “How do people with babies manage to keep themselves alive?” she asks everyone. Sam is demanding and won’t nurse or sleep for any length of time. On day 43, Annie writes, “He hates me,” without further explanation. People give her advice and commiserate. Her friends and colleagues have been through this drill before, except her sister Nora, who’s unable to have children. Zach goes back to work and Annie’s mom goes on vacation, she’s alone with Sam and at her wit’s end. So many decisions and activities to plan, Annie is overwhelmed. Welcome to what no one tells you about having a baby, it’s overwhelming. So much so Annie doesn’t notice Doogan is ill and feels guilty about it. Juggling and multitasking define motherhood and has a lot to learn and to let go. Six months is barely enough time for Annie to get a handle on her life.
My favorite part is when they have to write thank you notes for Sam’s gifts. Annie will do her people’s gifts and Zach will do the rest for his people. Zach wants a definition of her distinction of people. “Your people are the ones who sent Sam a BB gun,” she explains. So much of this story rings true for a new mom. Entertaining read.
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About the Author:
A native to the Chicago suburbs, I was a school librarian for more than ten years (old much?) until I quit to be a stay-at-home-mom-slash-author. I live with my sweetheart husband, illustrator Matthew Cordell, and our two kids, Romy and Dean. In my spare time I like to imagine I have spare time.
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