Customer Reviews for

Bad Mother: A Chronicle of Maternal Crimes, Minor Calamities, and Occasional Moments of Grace

Average Rating 3.5
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Most Helpful Favorable Review

3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

Bad Mother A Chronicle of Maternal Crimes, Minor Calamities, and Occasional Moments of Grace

This is the first time I have ever read a book by Ayelet Waldman. I was inspired by Ayelet's honesty and the huge helping of self that she squeezes into every sentence. The love that she has for her children is so raw, so honest that at times you almost feel that you ...
This is the first time I have ever read a book by Ayelet Waldman. I was inspired by Ayelet's honesty and the huge helping of self that she squeezes into every sentence. The love that she has for her children is so raw, so honest that at times you almost feel that you are invading their privacy but it is because of this honesty that you begin to understand that for everything mothers do for their children they do it because of love. Right or wrong, there are really very few bad mothers, only mothers who try in their own way to be a 'good' mother. Ms Waldman holds nothing back as she shares her family's decision in favor of an abortion and also of the diagnosis of bipolar disease that runs in her family. This book opens the door to understanding more about ourselves as mothers, I learned a lot from it and want to thank Ayelet for having the courage to write it.

posted by BevE on April 9, 2009

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Most Helpful Critical Review

1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

Brutally honest

I have no doubt Ayelet feels the way she does about Motherhood, I just don't share her points of view. I found some of her thoughts/opinions/actions offensive but the whole point of her book is for women to be tolerant of each other's decisions; as a new mother I can a...
I have no doubt Ayelet feels the way she does about Motherhood, I just don't share her points of view. I found some of her thoughts/opinions/actions offensive but the whole point of her book is for women to be tolerant of each other's decisions; as a new mother I can appreciate and respect that.

posted by 258622 on July 5, 2009

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  • Posted April 9, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    Bad Mother A Chronicle of Maternal Crimes, Minor Calamities, and Occasional Moments of Grace

    This is the first time I have ever read a book by Ayelet Waldman. I was inspired by Ayelet's honesty and the huge helping of self that she squeezes into every sentence. The love that she has for her children is so raw, so honest that at times you almost feel that you are invading their privacy but it is because of this honesty that you begin to understand that for everything mothers do for their children they do it because of love. Right or wrong, there are really very few bad mothers, only mothers who try in their own way to be a 'good' mother. Ms Waldman holds nothing back as she shares her family's decision in favor of an abortion and also of the diagnosis of bipolar disease that runs in her family. This book opens the door to understanding more about ourselves as mothers, I learned a lot from it and want to thank Ayelet for having the courage to write it.

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted May 5, 2010

    Not your typical mommy book

    I thought this was such a wonderful book. Each of the 18 chapters is basically an essay on a mothering/parenting related issue. I found Ms. Waldman's writing to be honest, funny, and thought provoking. I enjoyed her candor. I laughed reading this book, I nodded in agreement, I cried. In some cases I didn't agree with her parenting style or choices (that rocketship chapter was a tough one for me), but I strongly agreed with what I felt to be her overall message - mothering is hard, there is no right way, and we make it harder on ourselves and others with our expectations, judgments, and lack of empathy, support and plain old kindness. I appreciated Ms. Waldman sharing her life and thoughts with us.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted February 21, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    A Breath Of Fresh Air

    In Bad Mother, Ayelet Waldman talks about how all mothers are made to feel like they are performing poorly as mothers, regardless of their choices. Waldman is married to the novelist, Michael Chabon, and together they have four children. She gives the reader an intimate view of the choices she has made as a mother, and the negative feedback she has gotten for some of her choices.

    The book is written in eighteen chapters, each discussing common parenting issues. The stay-at-home mom vs. the working mom is covered, and how each is criticized for what they choose for their family. The marriage partnership and how work is divided is a chapter. Chapters I found especially relevant was one about how they elected to abort a child identified with birth defects, and one that talked about how to discuss sex and the parents' sexual history with one's children. I also liked the chapter about the mother-in-law/daughter-in-law relationship which gave me new ways to look at this common issue through a new filter. The chapter about helping children with their social relationships and not dragging your own angst into the issue was timely, and I loved the chapter about hating homework.

    This book is recommended for all readers. Those who are parents will recognize themselves, or at least the issues that most parents face, while those who have remained childless will gain a better understanding of what family life is like.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted January 6, 2010

    Loved It, Love Ayelet

    After reading this book I felt so close to Ayelet Waldman I would swear we've been friends for years. Only the most successful memoirists can seduce you into that kind of relationship while confessing their greatest sins and fears. Even though she writes of some unsavory topics, her love and good intention shines through, and, as a reader, I just forgive and look forward to the next chapter. As a mother, I found so much humor and commiseration that I actually heaved a sigh of relief at one point. I loved this book and know that I will re-visit it.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 5, 2009

    Brutally honest

    I have no doubt Ayelet feels the way she does about Motherhood, I just don't share her points of view. I found some of her thoughts/opinions/actions offensive but the whole point of her book is for women to be tolerant of each other's decisions; as a new mother I can appreciate and respect that.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted November 17, 2013

    I almost stopped reading in the beginning.  She was starting to

    I almost stopped reading in the beginning.  She was starting to lose me when describing how she was a defense attorney, determined to keep her career going, despite having a baby.  She was lucky enough to have a husband who could care for the baby all day and work at night.  She finally reeled me back in when she decided to quit and stay home, finally realizing that her mother and the feminist pursuit of career was just not realistic when having young children.  I can relate to this, having figured it out before having a baby.  I feel bad for the author to have a mother who pressured her to maintain a career while parenting.  It's not possible for women to do both (dedicate 100% to a career and children simultaneously).  The feminists sold us a bill of goods here.  Luckily, Waldman figured it out early on.  




    She talks of being bored as a stay at home mom.  I can relate to that, but when you have babies, it goes with the territory.  There's a lot of isolation and monotony that we have to accept and deal with.  




    I'm glad I stuck with the book mainly because of her chapter on her pregnancy termination for medical reasons.  I can also relate to this, personally.  This is a brave decision and a courageous thing to write about.  More women should come forward with their stories like this.  The abortion debate usually leaves these cases out, making it all about unwanted pregnancies.  This was a much wanted pregnancy where the baby had a chromosomal defect and she chose not to attempt to carry to term.  She talks of her grief, coming to terms with it and moving on for the sake of her living children.  Bravo.




    The other chapters were mainly about her family.  I can't relate to her politics, but her opinions are all over the place.  Maybe a little less of that and more about the kids.  She talks a LOT about her husband.  It's great that she has such a good marriage.  Many women aren't so lucky.  I cringed while reading about her parents, but she ended talking about her son's ADHD.  I can also relate similarly.  Overall, it was a good read from the digital library.  

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 15, 2013

    Meh

    I only read the sample and thought it was just drivel. I couldn't figure out how famous people were supposed to be typical examples of motherhood. That is not in touch with reality at all. Bad mothers are people that treat their kids bad. You know who you are. You also know that if you're a good mom, you still have bad days. Working or not working doesn't make you good or bad. Child rearing is the most challenging thing you will ever do, if you're doing it right. It's also the most rewarding. I think this woman has a lot of gall trying to psychoanalyze the mother hood via news paper clippings...

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  • Posted August 19, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    No Thank You

    I bought this book as the title immediately grabbed my attenion and I thought the book would be entertaining. As I have children, one with special needs, I thought this book would give me a good laugh and a sense of relation. I understand what the whole objective of this book was, but made no connections to it. After I started reading the third chapter and Ayelet said "skip to the next chapter if you are not this person" I did skip ahead, but then I found myself skipping through the whole book not enjoying what I was reading. All mothers can tell funny stories, but the brutal honesty about some of the material in this book was not what I wanted to read (and definitely not for the faint of heart). This is the first book ever that I have not finished. I was colossally disappointed.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 18, 2010

    Good laugh and insight for Moms

    I enjoyed reading this book during my dauther's first two years of life. It brought humor and light heartedness to the topic of being a mom and not being perfect. It was just what I needed!

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  • Posted March 11, 2010

    Goodbye to Perfect Mother Untruths

    In Bad Mother: A Chronicle of Maternal Crimes, Minor Calamities, and Occasional Moments of Grace, Ayelet Waldman rails against the cult of the perfect mother that is given new life online now in certain mommy blogs. When we try and live up to unrealistic ideal of maternal conduct, "this creature of fantasy," she argues, "It's as if the swimmer Tracy Caulkins, winner of three Olympic gold medals, setter of five world records, were to beat herself up for being slower than the Little Mermaid." Waldman shares stories of her own good days and bad and reminds us "how profound a problem a young mother's loss of self can be."

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 17, 2009

    I Also Recommend:

    Great Book!

    While I found a lot of differences between Ayelet and myself as a woman and mother, you truly have to appreciate her brutal honesty and fearlessness. Despite it all she is a loving mother and wife with a successful career. It is a good reminder that as Moms we don't have to be perfect or even try to be perfect. We come in all different shapes and sizes!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 12, 2009

    Skip this one

    As a mother I can relate to her sentiment, her book goes on and on about things that do happen in child rearing. But it tends to get tedious and I got her point after the first paragraph. I got this book after it was rated by an internet website. Bottom line don't waste your time

    0 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted August 19, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    Over rated

    I found the book completely uneventful. Most mothers I know behave the same exact way. Considering the author was said to be so risque, I expected to be moved, instead, I had trouble staying awake. Friends, colleagues, and other moms I know from playgroups all admit to acting similarly or at least have some common traits so for her to be seen as some kind of hero for writing a journal is a joke to me.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted August 11, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    Great book that made me feel very normal...with reassurance of being a good mom!

    It's a great book! 9/10 chapters could have been written about my life. From the secret stuff I think as a mom that I can't say out loud... to the great stuff that happens in which "I could just eat my kids up!... about "static" between daughter -in-laws and mother-in-laws, sex, men's roles in the home.

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    Posted June 24, 2011

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    Posted December 3, 2009

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    Posted June 22, 2010

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