Hell Is Other Parents: And Other Tales of Maternal Combustion

Hell Is Other Parents: And Other Tales of Maternal Combustion

by Deborah Copaken Kogan
     
 

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I read No Exit in my early twenties, and I remember thinking hell might very well be other people, okay, sure, but under what far-fetched conditions would anyone ever actually be trapped forever in the company of strangers with no sleep or means of escape?

Then I became a parent.

From Deborah Copaken Kogan, the acclaimed

Overview

I read No Exit in my early twenties, and I remember thinking hell might very well be other people, okay, sure, but under what far-fetched conditions would anyone ever actually be trapped forever in the company of strangers with no sleep or means of escape?

Then I became a parent.

From Deborah Copaken Kogan, the acclaimed author of the national bestseller Shutterbabe, comes this edgy, insightful, and sidesplitting memoir about surviving in the trenches of modern parenting.

Kogan writes situation comedy in the style of David Sedaris and Spalding Gray with a dash of Erma-Bombeck-on-a-Vespa: wry, acutely observed, and often hilarious true tales, in which the narrator is as culpable as any character. In these eleven linked pieces, Kogan and her husband are almost always broke while working full-time and raising three children in New York City, one of the most expensive and competitive cities in the world.

In one episode, exhausted from a particularly difficult childbirth, Kogan finds herself sharing a hospital room with a foul-mouthed teen mother and her partying posse. In another, Kogan manages to crawl her way to her own emergency appendectomy, which inconveniently strikes the same week her infant's babysitter is away on vacation, her adolescents are off from school, her New York Times editor needs his edit, and the whole family catches the flu. And in the book's capper essay, she drives twelve hours, solo, with a screaming toddler in a rent-a-car in a futile effort to catch a glimpse of her eldest child in his summer camp play.

Yes, Shutterbabe is all grown up and slightly worse for the wear, but her clear-eyed vision while under fire has remained intact: You've never read funnier war stories.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly

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.)

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From the Publisher
For anyone who's ever been a parent, had a parent, or wanted to choke a parent, Deborah Copaken Kogan's book is for you. With obscenely funny and frighteningly dead-on insights, this book is so close to my heart I want to put it in a locket and wear it around my neck. I plan to buy Hell Is Other Parents by the carton and hand it out at the playground.—Julie Klam, author of Please Excuse My Daughter

Brave, funny, and charged with equal measures of regret and joy, Kogan's parenting misadventures spring from the page. Though her battles with smothering or totally deranged moms take place in nanny-ridden Manhattan (a world she and her husband can't afford), her stories will resonate with anyone who ever changed a diaper or comforted a weeping child.—Tad Friend, author of Lost in Mongolia: Travels in Hollywood and Other Foreign Lands and Cheerful Money: Me, My Family

This is the stuff of life. Okay, maybe not the stuff of your life, but luckily for us, though maybe not always for Deborah Copaken Kogan, it is the stuff of her life, and she has made it delightful stuff to read about.—Patty Marx, who is not a parent so don't blame her; author of Him Her Him Again The End of Him

Deborah Copaken Kogan goes where no mom has gone before in these hilarious and affecting tales of motherhood and marriage, Manhattan style.—Darren Star, writer and producer of Sex and the City

Deborah Copaken Kogan writes with verve, warmth, and passion about the complexities of parenting, her love for her children, and all the comedies and melodramas that the complexities and the love together make us perform.—Adam Gopnik, author of Paris To The Moon and Through the Children's Gate: A Home in New York

Julie Klam
For anyone who's ever been a parent, had a parent, or wanted to choke a parent, Deborah Copaken Kogan's book is for you. With obscenely funny and frighteningly dead-on insights, this book is so close to my heart I want to put it in a locket and wear it around my neck. I plan to buy Hell Is Other Parents by the carton and hand it out at the playground.
Tad Friend
Brave, funny, and charged with equal measures of regret and joy, Kogan's parenting misadventures spring from the page. Though her battles with smothering or totally deranged moms take place in nanny-ridden Manhattan (a world she and her husband can't afford), her stories will resonate with anyone who ever changed a diaper or comforted a weeping child.
Patty Marx
This is the stuff of life. Okay, maybe not the stuff of your life, but luckily for us, though maybe not always for Deborah Copaken Kogan, it is the stuff of her life, and she has made it delightful stuff to read about.
Darren Star
Deborah Copaken Kogan goes where no mom has gone before in these hilarious and affecting tales of motherhood and marriage, Manhattan style.
Adam Gopnik
Deborah Copaken Kogan writes with verve, warmth, and passion about the complexities of parenting, her love for her children, and all the comedies and melodramas that the complexities and the love together make us perform.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781401394547
Publisher:
Hachette Books
Publication date:
08/18/2009
Sold by:
Hachette Digital, Inc.
Format:
NOOK Book
Pages:
100
File size:
225 KB
Age Range:
18 Years

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What People are saying about this

Julie Klam
"For anyone who's ever been a parent, had a parent, or wanted to choke a parent, Deborah Copaken Kogan's book is for you. With obscenely funny and frighteningly dead-on insights, this book is so close to my heart I want to put it in a locket and wear it around my neck. I plan to buy Hell Is Other Parents by the carton and hand it out at the playground."--(Julie Klam, author of Please Excuse My Daughter)
Patty Marx
"This is the stuff of life. Okay, maybe not the stuff of your life, but luckily for us, though maybe not always for Deborah Copaken Kogan, it is the stuff of her life, and she has made it delightful stuff to read about."--(Patty Marx, who is not a parent so don't blame her; author of Him Her Him Again The End of Him)
Stephen J. Dubner
"The next time you see a modern American mom walking down the street and think you know what's going on in her life, Hell Is Other Parents will remind you that you don't know the half of it. Like Larry David, Deborah Kogan isn't obsessed with putting her best foot forward. Rather, she unloads what's truly on her mind. She's not afraid to show her anxieties, her vanities, her deepest desires. The results aren't always pretty, but it's a thrilling, hilarious, nerve-wracking ride--a mother's high-wire balancing act--that I wouldn't have dared miss."--(Stephen J. Dubner, author of Freakonomics)
Adam Gopnik
"Deborah Copaken Kogan writes with verve, warmth, and passion about the complexities of parenting, her love for her children, and all the comedies and melodramas that the complexities and the love together make us perform."--(Adam Gopnik, author of Paris to the Moon and Through the Children's Gate: A Home in New York)
Tad Friend
"Brave, funny, and charged with equal measures of regret and joy, Kogan's parenting misadventures spring from the page. Though her battles with smothering or totally deranged moms take place in nanny-ridden Manhattan (a world she and her husband can't afford), her stories will resonate with anyone who ever changed a diaper or comforted a weeping child." (Tad Friend, author of Lost in Mongolia: Travels in Hollywood and Other Foreign Lands and Cheerful Money: Me, My Family, and the Last Days of Wasp Splendor)

Meet the Author

Deborah Copaken Kogan worked as a photojournalist from 1988 to 1992, and her photographs appeared in Time, Newsweek, The New York Times, L'Express, Liberation and Geo, among many other international newspapers and magazines. She spent the next six years in TV journalism, including a time as a producer for Dateline NBC. Her writings have appeared in The New Yorker, the New York Times and elsewhere. She lives in New York City with her husband, Paul Kogan, and their three children.

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