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War photographer and author Kogan (Shutterbabe) has survived the dangers of covering the Afghan war, but in this collection of essays she turns her attention toward a different kind of struggle-raising three children in the trenches of Manhattan. Her opening essay, "The Bleeping Bleep Next Door," arguably the funniest in the book, details the birth of her third baby and the experience of sharing a hospital room with a 16-year-old unwed mother who blasts the TV and is visited by a gaggle of noisy teen friends toting McDonald's bags and "soda" that smells of booze. In other essays the author delves into life as mother of a child star (her aspiring actor son nabs a part in the new Star Trek film), the ups and downs of children's friendships, the rules and bylaws of marriage and the hassles of juggling the needs of a toddler and a teen. Kogan also explores the judgmental reactions of other parents who raise their eyebrows when she picks up her daughter at school on a Vespa. While most of Kogan's essays are witty and smart, a few (about old college roommates, and former boyfriends, etc.) seem both gratuitous and out of place. Still, readers will find plenty to ponder and laugh about as they follow this self-described "laissez-faire" parent on the challenging assignment of raising three kids. (Aug.)Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.