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 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.

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: 249 KB
Age Range: 18 Years

About 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.

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)

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Hell Is Other Parents: And Other Tales of Maternal Combustion 4.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 4 reviews.
Susan61SB More than 1 year ago
This book is an excellent choice for anyone with young children, older children, grandchildren, or for anyone who just wants to laugh at or with anyone who has children. It would be of particular interest to all urban parents but, again, I think anyone who reads it would appreciate the author's wit, compassion and insightfulness. "Hell Is Other Parents" is an excellent choice for anyone who wants a quick and witty read.
AngieK on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
If all the other mothers in her Manhattan milieu are Alpha moms, Deborah Copaken Kogan is a Beta mom. Mom 2.0. Mom on the bleeding edge, making up the rules as she goes along, and making me jealous once again since reading her brilliant novel last year that we're not best friends. Containing brutal honesty about the highs and lows of motherhood mixed with lighter moments, it's also got its earthy moments, and I was glad to see tales of Kogan's personal history (work hurdles, former lovers) woven in with her parenting stories. An alpha mom might write a book for the self-help section, but Kogan's book shows all the other smart, strong and still sane moms out there that they have a voice, too.
Girl_Detective on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Kogan is witty and her observations are sharp. She writes clearly and sympathetically of the challenges of parenting and being a working mom. She doesn¿t hide her insecurities about things like her parenting decisions, the less than thorough decision making that went into conceiving her third child, and her constant worries about money as a mother of three living in NYC who makes her living as a freelance writer. But she doesn¿t seem to have much insight about these, either. Few will argue with the real-life examples Kogan offers of mean other parents, and I bet many could respond with stories in kind; I know I could. But this book shines when it¿s relating the events of a interesting woman (Kogan was a photographer and war correspondent in years past) as she tackles motherhood and challenges like a son who really wants to act and daughter who really wants a dog, both against their parents¿ wishes.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago