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Mommies Who Drink: Sex, Drugs, and Other Distant Memories of an Ordinary Momby Brett Paesel
Synopses & Reviews
For young single women, every night is Ladies' Night. For Brett Paesel and her friends, Friday happy hour is all they get — if they can wrangle the babysitting. Like most mommies, they support each other through pregnancies, sleep deprivation, and the need to talk about it all. Instead of meeting at the playground, they convene at the local watering hole while sipping Black and Tans and flirting with the cute bartender.
Now with a poignant voice and a fresh style that makes this memoir read like the best women's fiction, Paesel navigates mommyhood in all its forms — the ecstatic, the terrifying, the tedious, the hilarious, the transcendental, and the sticky.
So grab a comfy seat; it's time for the performance art that is the daily existence of a twenty-first-century mama, where life bounces back and forth between the heartfelt desire to be a loving wife and mother and the burning need to reclaim your former self by letting your hair down every once in a while.
Paesel's laugh-out-loud perspective will appeal to all women who are braving the new world of motherhood, where the secret question on their minds at playgroup is "When is it too early in the day to start drinking?"
"Paesel would love to spend 'an evening doing half a gram of coke in the back of a limo with her girlfriends' and still craves 'a stranger to fuck me blind in a parking lot after loading me up on margaritas and Thai stick' — only she's got a husband, a baby and a toddler waiting for her at home. Paesel couldn't care less if other mothers have careers (she herself is an actress who's appeared on Six Feet Under and Mr. Show) or stay home with the kids. She's got bigger problems — like, what's happened to all the parties? This collection of short sketches opens with a trip to an L.A. prenatal yoga class, where 'gorgeous actresses' with 'little round bellies' brag about how much birthing pain they plan to endure. With enough drugs, Paesel actually enjoys childbirth — but full-time parenting is another story. Luckily, she's got a foursome of girlfriends who spend Friday afternoons at the local bar together, doing a reality check on all the mothering guilt trips they've had to endure all week. This is Seinfeld but raunchy and L.A. with a full cast of potty-mouthed moms. No wonder it's already optioned by HBO." Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
"Like many new mothers, the actor Brett Paesel longs for her carefree past, and, in her case, there is much to miss — oh, how much there is to miss. 'What I really wanted,' she writes by way of introduction, 'was a stranger to (expletive) me blind in a parking lot after loading me up on margaritas and Thai stick.' (That's high-quality marijuana, FYI, not an Asian appetizer.) With that, she's off,... Washington Post Book Review (read the entire Washington Post review) chatting about all sorts of adventures not suitable to print in a family newspaper, but, as luck and perhaps a good agent would have it, more than suitable to be turned into an HBO series. Indeed, her book reads less like a 'momoir' than a TV script, complete with the obligatory quartet of friends who meet weekly for happy hour. Their gab-fests are inevitably cut short by pesky childcare duties, but except for a few cameos by Paesel's boys and one good chapter about her younger son's tear-duct problems, the kids seem almost beside the point. One gets the impression that a demanding job would have equally impinged upon plans for a cocaine binge. The publisher describes the book as nonfiction, but even so, it carries a James Frey-era disclaimer: 'Some of the places and incidents described in this work are the product of the author's imagination.' That's on the copyright page. Fine, although the reader might wish that Paesel had a better imagination. The stress of making the snack for a preschool party, the absurdity of kindergarten admissions, the banal mothers at the play-group, the onslaught of parenting magazines with inane tips on making lollipops from Jell-O — is there a hen-lit reader alive unfamiliar with these subjects? But maybe Paesel's target audience is not mothers but frat boys. With its relentless references to drugs, booze and sex and with the author's admiration for one friend who can 'do a beer bong standing on her hands while balancing a plate of fries with her feet,' and another who can move an egg from one chair to another 'with just her ass,' parts of this book would be a hit with the 'Real World' crowd. Still, some bits reach 'Seinfeld'-ian heights. Anyone whose spouse has said, 'We should (insert chore here) ... ' when he/she means, 'You should ... ' will appreciate her riff on her husband's use of 'we' ('We really have to keep his hands clean') when their son's eye becomes infected. And any mom who's feared that her child will inadvertently reveal poor maternal behavior will enjoy Paesel's visit to the doctor, where her older boy entertains himself in the waiting room's toy kitchen by pretending to microwave items traditionally cooked on a stove top, as he's obviously seen her do: 'If he starts shaking martinis, I'm going to have to reschedule.' Paesel's willingness to mock herself even allows her to milk a laugh from a postpartum visit to a therapist. 'I'm so unhappy,' she cries. 'I hate myself. I hate my life. I feel like it's never going to change.' After a while, the therapist makes a suggestion. 'Maybe we should think about antidepressants.' 'What?' Paesel thinks. 'It's not that bad.' And guess what? She eventually finds that motherhood is not that bad. In fact, she likes it, which is lucky, since Hollywood demands a happy ending. Even so, it's safe to say that if there's Jell-O around, this mommy wants not a lollipop but a vodka-infused 'shooter.' Beth Teitell is the author of 'From Here to Maternity: The Education of a Rookie Mom' and a columnist with the Boston Herald." Reviewed by Beth Teitell, Washington Post Book World (Copyright 2006 Washington Post Book World Service/Washington Post Writers Group)
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"I love Paesel's laugh-out-loud writing and skewed perspective that always resonates with deep, complex, hilarious truth. She thinks like no other." Jill Soloway, writer and co-executive producer of Six Feet Under and author of Tiny Ladies in Shiny Pants
"Brett Paesel made me laugh so hard I nearly wet my pants. Why oh why was she not in my mommies group?" Ayelet Waldman, author of Love and Other Impossible Pursuits
"Funny and silly and true. I mean, I'm not a mother, and to be honest I don't drink, but I can tell you that this book is better than a giant bong hit. And I'm not even high right now." Sarah Silverman
"Just when you worry there are no taboos left to explode, Brett Paesel redefines new motherhood with a book so painfully honest and funny, there should be a two-drink minimum…an R-rated book for women reluctant to enter a G-rated world." Cindy Chupack, author of The Between Boyfriends Book and a writer/executive producer of HBO's Sex and the City
"Paesel's musings are not as shocking as they sound, since her actual debauchery consists of Friday evening drinks with fellow moms, an occasional cigarette and a hit off of somebody's homegrown marijuana." Los Angeles Times
In this collection of true stories drawn from the author's own experiences with motherhood, MOMMIES WHO DRINK explores the common bond that either unites women in friendship or polarizes them in wildly opposing camps. Every Friday, Brett Paesel and a group of her closest friends meet at a local bar. As an actress in Hollywood, Paesel lives a life that is at once unusual--she once appeared naked in an episode of HBO's Six Feet Under--yet, like any parent, deeply ordinary. Here, in a voice that's as incisive and poignant as the very best women's fiction, she addresses the issues she and her friends face as they brave the new world of motherhood--where the secret question on their minds at the playground is "What time of the day is too early to start drinking?"
For young single women, every night is Ladies' Night. For Brett Paesel and her friends, Friday happy hour is all they get--if they can wrangle a babysitter. Like most mommies, they support each other through pregnancies, sleep deprivation, and the need to talk about it all. Instead of meeting at the playground, they convene at the local watering hole while sipping Black and Tans and flirting with the cute bartender. With a poignant voice and a fresh style that makes this memoir read like the best women's fiction, Paesel navigates mommyhood in all its forms--the ecstatic, the terrifying, the tedious, the hilarious, the transcendental, and the sticky. Paesel's laugh-out-loud perspective will appeal to all women who are braving the new world of motherhood, where the secret question on their minds at playgroup is When is it too early in the day to start drinking?
About the Author
Brett Paesal is currently writing a half-hour comedy for Touchstone and Fox, called Home Base. She is also writing two other books, one a novel and the other a collection of autobiographical stories called Nobody Rides for Free.
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