What’s the quickest way to end a conversation? Attack someone on a personal level. Most folks don’t like confrontation so they will politely, albeit begrudgingly, walk away from a challenge of almost anything to avoid it.
Not me, sister!
Recently I had a very nasty Amazon review of my book, It Gets Easier and Other Lies We Tell New Mothers. While I am no stranger to criticism – my manuscript was rejected by tons of publishers and agents all over the globe until it was picked up by Amacom – I do have a problem with using my book to advance an agenda against mothering a particular way. You will see what I mean in a minute. For now, though, let me address the points of this fun, but twisted Amazon review, for the record:
I thought the Iovine “Girlfriends’ Guide to…” books were obnoxious as parenting guides, but this book is worse. (If you are going to put me in the same category as Vicki Iovine’s groundbreaking books, Girlfriend’s Guide to Pregnancy or Girlfriends Guide to Surviving the First Year of Motherhood, I am honored, thanks bunches!)
Pretty selfish There’s that word I just love when brought up in terms of a mother. The word selfish = don’t talk about it – I refuse!, badly written Ouch!, uninspired stuff. She gets you to read it by breathlessly saying she’ll divulge secrets only “girlfriends” would tell you…and then feeds you her opinion, covered in out-of-context quotes by others so it looks like fact, and claiming her and her “friends” wouldn’t lead you wrong. I don’t use the terms “girlfriends or “friends” as common terms throughout the book. I think she may have confused my book with Ms Iovine’s book as I see our critic also did a scathing Amazon review with a similar tone on The Girlfriends Guide to Pregnancy book page. Agenda? You be the judge. What’s more, providing moms with: The Five Baby Commandments, The New Mom Mantras, details of a baby schedule to help with sleep, tips for adjusting to a new life as a mother, and much, much, more based on interviews with other mothers over 16 years as is available in It Gets Easier!… Yup, you are right, helping moms is pretty uninspired stuff! She tries to interject humor, usually by sprinkling in some profanity in odd places – but it usually falls flat and comes out sounding more like a teenager trying to get a rise out of their parents. This book was lovingly and artfully edited first by my Father. There’s not one word of profanity in this book, except where I quote Jenny McCarthy – Nuh said. I think the reviewer may be thinking of another book, again. Very unprofessional.
Her hyped “schedule” is not new – it’s ripped off from a parenting “expert” whose methods has been condemned by every major parenting and pediatric group out there for being medically inaccurate and potentially dangerous. I assume here, our budding journalist is referring to Gary Ezzo’s best-selling book, Babywise. For the record, I did not read Ezzo’s oft-attacked book until after my book was published so clearly I could not have employed his method in my book. However, I find Babywise terrific. For anyone interested in learning a bit more about THIS controversy simply google “Babywise” and “Ezzo” and a whole slew of the “war” will pop up. The point being that some folks who feel strongly about breastfeeding HATE Ezzo’s book and have made it their mission to discredit the guy. Having actually read Babywise, I would point you to an interesting comparison between the directions found in Babywise and the recommendations of the AAP – interesting the findings of both are in line. Agenda? You decide. But by going on about how well it (the baby schedule) worked for her (it did) and her friends (it did) (with a token “disclaimer” to cover her butt), she makes it sound like it’s this great secret everyone’s keeping from parents in order to oppress them. You’ve got me here. I do wonder about that sometimes, I’ll be honest. She goes on at length about how you shouldn’t let anyone give you guilt about your parenting style…while making it very clear that she thinks people who parent differently than her are mindless fools. I have never even uttered the words “mindless fools.” The whole purpose of the book is NOT to judge any mom’s parenting style. I simply provide ideas that worked for me and other moms. In the end, though, every mom must do what works for her and I fight just as hard for any mom to be able to do what she thinks is right for her and her baby. I quote from the book, “Do what works for you!“
Some of her “advice” is on things she admits she knows nothing about – a chapter on the “truth” of breastfeeding, when she admits she’s never done so – or on things that I guess she assumes no one knows anything about Ok, here we go. I didn’t breastfeed so I can’t know anything abut it! I couldn’t interview hundreds of other breastfeeding moms, or interview lactation consultants on ways to make breastfeeding easier for new moms, or read any of the millions of book on breastfeeding? I suppose a man can’t be an Ob/GYN since he doesn’t have a vagina, right? Got it!. – did she need a whole chapter on how to keep the house clean (Yes) (mostly by going on about how hard it is (it is hard) and suggesting you pay for a housecleaning service (at least for the first few weeks when she comes home with her baby, yes. Why would YOU begrudge any mom that?)?
The end of the book seems like she ran out things to say (never), so she pads it with an unnecessary “glossary” of phrases she’s already defined in the main text or are terms almost everyone already knows (they are hysterical, admit it), as well as a “resources” list that’s largely her favorite websites (the websites I mention are awesome and helpful) and a list of all the books she quotes from (again awesome and helpful, especially Susan Maushart’s The Mask of Motherhood. I suggest the critic take a gander at that one. All in all, not recommended.
Wow! I feel better. Hey, thanks for listening. I’m confident I’ve proven my point. I wonder if I can cut and paste this rebuttal into the Amazon comment field… Stay tuned for my next post where I’ll decode the breastfeeding judgment mom hoist onto each other.