- Shopping Bag ( 0 items )
From The CriticsIn her latest memoir, Cheever divulges the secrets of good parenting during this age of divorce and single parenthood. In the tradition of Anne Lamott's Operating Instructions, the daughter of writer John Cheever sets out to create an intimate, candid account of raising her own son and daughter that is meant, she writes, to make her readers "feel a little less alone." Unfortunately, this book feels more like a work of penitence; Cheever admits to slapping her daughter, to marrying the wrong men and to hiring the wrong nannies. We understand her guilt and bewilderment, and we see how difficult parenthood can be, but we do not see fully how she guided and nourished her children through all these trying times. Throughout the book, Cheever reminds us that her children are precious and wonderful and that parenting is an act of faith. "Still, I have no idea of how anyone does it," she admits. Ultimately, what this book tells us is that parenting is all about survival and forgetting. Because the narrative lacks the warmth and self-effacing humor that made Lamott's book so inclusive, we remain outside Cheever's experience. We do not feel less alone after reading the book, and we do not learn anything from Cheever's mistakes.