Big Rumpus: A Mother's Tale from the Trenches

Big Rumpus: A Mother's Tale from the Trenches

by Ayun Halliday
     
 

Twenty years ago a woman named Erma Bombeck brought the suburban family out of the closet—dust bunnies and all. Her honest, hilarious accounts of family life, where the “grass is always greener over the septic tank,” became more than mere books; they became a philosophy. Ayun Halliday is a new generation’s urban Bombeck. Creator of the wildly

Overview

Twenty years ago a woman named Erma Bombeck brought the suburban family out of the closet—dust bunnies and all. Her honest, hilarious accounts of family life, where the “grass is always greener over the septic tank,” became more than mere books; they became a philosophy. Ayun Halliday is a new generation’s urban Bombeck. Creator of the wildly popular parenting zine The East Village Inky, Halliday’s words and line drawings describe the quirks and everyday travails of a young urban family, warts and all. Honest in her parenting foibles and fixed in her opinions on public breast-feeding and the perfect Halloween costume, Halliday’s wry observations on daily life validate the complex, absurd wondrousness that is the life of the unpaid caregiver. Reflecting on her daughter’s third thumb, declawing the cat, and debating her son’s circumcision, she writes: “My family has a highly complex relationship to amputation.” On appropriate knowledge for children: “All Inky wants to talk about is the murder of John Lennon. I think it’s my fault.” On lice: “Head lice were outed on the children’s program Arthur this year in an effort to de-stigmatize the problem. I guess I’m glad that lice have hit the mainstream, though what’s next for Arthur and his pals? Heroin addiction?” On family holidays: “Danged if it isn’t true—you really cannot recreate the Christmases of your childhood. I can’t even recreate the Christmases of my teens.” It is in the details that The Big Rumpus will delight. Halliday manages to capture a voice that so many of today’s parents hear in their own heads, in a way that is absolutely unique yet familiar. The Big Rumpus marks the debut of a major new talent who has formulated a whole new set of “operating instructions” for today’s families.

Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
Becoming a mother is a scary proposition. Now throw in strollers on subway stairs, crowded sidewalks, and approximately eight million New Yorkers. This is the life of an urban mother, and the fear of those who will soon carry that title is palpable. The Big Rumpus puts a comic slant on what it's like to be a "hipmama." Halliday, the often bumbling metro mother of two, is no stranger to documenting her life in the concrete jungle. She is the proud creator of the two-year-old quarterly zine, the East Village Inky, named after her daughter India (Inky), upon which this book expands. Her strong narrative voice evokes the power and demands of her life and the city in which she lives. Essential reading for all urban mothers. Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
From the exuberant publisher, writer, and creator of the quarterly 'zine The East Village Inky, a breezy memoir of motherhood that for all its hip attitude also affectingly recalls traditional fears, joys, and a sense of the miraculous. Halliday begins with a prologue in which she explains how she came to create the 'zine and in so doing saved her mind. She had always wanted to write, but not until daughter India (Inky) was one year old did she realize that she had the subject matter right at hand, as well as a welcome alternative to sitting at home "staring at the congealed blobs of baby food I was too fried to sponge off the walls." The 'zine gave her an excuse to wander around New York with Inky on her back, looking for material. Halliday now has another child, son Milo, and continues to publish The East Village Inky, whose success she attributes to the fact that in its pages "not a lot happens." Her memoir chronicles a life that changed forever after she gave birth and learned that the baby "would like to remind you that she is now the primary reason you were put on earth." Halliday describes the usual rites of motherhood: her children's births (one easy, one complicated by a postnatal infection), breastfeeding ("I don't mind if people see. . . . It's a life-affirming, nonviolent, free-to the-public moment that makes the world a slightly better place"), and celebrating the holidays, during which her good resolutions about homemade decorations began to waver when she realized how much time it took to craft valentines or stain Easter eggs, when five minutes in the nearby Rite-Aid would provide everything she needed. She also movingly acknowledges her infatuation with her chubby baby("I loved you beyond reason. I am drunk on your pulchritude") as well as her fears of death and loss. Motherhood recalled with engaging brio and considerable wisdom.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781580050715
Publisher:
Avalon Publishing Group
Publication date:
03/28/2002
Series:
Live Girls Series
Pages:
288
Product dimensions:
5.94(w) x 7.10(h) x 0.86(d)

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