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by Brett Paesel
Highbridge Audio, 2006
Review by Christian Perring, Ph.D. on Nov 21st 2006

Mommies Who Drink

Brett Paesel has acted in several TV shows, including Six Feet Under, Curb Your Enthusiasm, The Gilmore Girls, and The Real Live Brady Bunch, and she is married to actor Pat Towne, who is also a TV actor.  Yet she has in recent years spent more time writing and mothering.  While she loves her children, she does not completely endorse all the cultural ideals that go along with being a mother.  She does not identify with many other mothers, and is bemused by the expectations that others have of her.  It's not that she wants to be Courtney Love, but she does want to have some time off from being a mother.  She feels guilty if she has a couple of glasses of wine and half a cigarette, and she wonders if she is abnormal for wanting childbirth to be as painless as possible.  Her book Mommies Who Drink is a collection of reflections and stories from her life as a mother.  You might think of it as Sex in the City for young mothers, set in LA.

Paesel's stories are amusing, and occasionally really funny.  She is at her best when she is being flippant and belligerent.  Occasionally she balances her doubts with earnest avowals of the joys of motherhood, which do not carry so much conviction.  It is a little shocking when she says she wistfully says she would like to combine motherhood with occasionally taking cocaine, and it is that sort of thing that makes the book distinctive.  Her regularly Friday meetings with her friends at a bar give the book a nice pace, and we get a strong sense of the warmth of those relationships.  We hear far less about her husband and virtually nothing about the rest of her family.  Most of the stories are similar in tone, and they tend to merge into each other.  This is not a book that demands careful attention, and this may make it especially attractive to busy new mothers who hardly have time to finish a whole chapter.  Paesel performs the reading of the unabridged audiobook, and her acting skills help greatly.  It is a good book to listen to while cooking or driving. 


Link: http://www.mommieswhodrink.net/


© 2006 Christian Perring. All rights reserved.

Christian Perring, Ph.D., is Academic Chair of the Arts & Humanities Division and Chair of the Philosophy Department at Dowling College, Long Island. He is also editor of Metapsychology Online Reviews.  His main research is on philosophical issues in medicine, psychiatry and psychology.