In this wry, warts-and-all memoir, Good Housekeeping contributing writer Kyran Pittman offers up snapshots from her life, and she is nothing if not very, very human. We're barely into the first chapter of Planting Dandelions when she reveals that she cheated on her first husband. Later in the book, she writes about very nearly cheating on her second husband, and she is equally candid on plenty of other topics, including nearly losing their house to foreclosure.
Yet this confessional tone is balanced with her clear affection for family life in all its messiness. Now a mommy of three, Pittman is just as passionate when writing about life in suburbia as when musing on postpartum sex.
"The slope of my nutritive backslide can be plotted by each of my kids' first birthday cakes," she writes. "When the oldest turned one, I made him a whole wheat carrot cake with pineapple-sweetened cream cheese on top. Two years later, it was a homemade chocolate layer cake, frosted with buttercream, for my middle child. Three years after that, I ran by the warehouse club and picked up a slab of corn syrup and hydrogenated vegetable oil, spray-painted blue, for the baby."
Being a mom isn't always (or even usually) glamorous, but Pittman recognizes the beauty of family life in this interesting, funny and fresh entry in the mommy memoir genre.
Crisp, witty dispatches from the domestic front by a former wild child.
Good Housekeeping contributing writer Pittman offers 18 chronologically assembled essays detailing the genesis of her life as a devoted wife and mother in the wake of a crushing divorce and numerous dalliances. From the opening chapter, the author establishes a refreshingly candid writing style, unapologetically describing her earlier years as an unbridled woman, seemingly incapable of fidelity. While unemployed and estranged from her first husband, the author began a serious relationship with Patrick, who she met on the Internet, yet cheated with a man from a poetry slam. Patrick forgave her, but insisted she remain devoted to building a monogamous life together. Pittman writes passionately about refocusing her efforts on finding employment and finally marrying Patrick, though freely admitting she "never really belonged inside the white picket fence." Subsequent pieces amusingly fall into place, weaving together scenes from the author's entertaining and informative journey through happily married, stay-at-home motherhood. Major trepidation about the birthing process begat terminal shortcomings in domesticity, organization and life management, which, Pittman declares, could be the result of her childhood or the fact that "homemaking is not my forte." Serious rough patches in their marriage and finances are leavened with the author's comic comprehension of sex after childbirth and the compulsion to wear Spanx.
The author writes with an acerbic intellect, blending self-deprecation with reflective back-patting into cohesive life stories that are relatable and, thankfully, usually funny.