The 26 essays in this book deal with many aspects of being female & are arranged in rough chronological order, from dating through marriage, working, & motherhood. Different essays appealed to different readers, but one essay that many said resonated with them was one regarding a mother’s anger with her children, “Crossing a Line in the Sand.” A number of readers found it comforting to realize that, after reading this and other essays, we are not alone in not finding motherhood to be nothing but Hallmark moments. Anger and frustration with the idea of “men’s” vs. “women’s” work & how they’re inequitably viewed by society was also expressed, with a number of readers saying that housework and home care—”the second shift”—was a real bone of contention between themselves and their husbands. One reader commented that she believes that women are hardwired to be responsible at all times for everything, and another said that she found one essayist’s sense of power and pride at being a “Supermom” interesting. Several readers enjoyed the essays that explored the question of balance in relationships. Criticisms of the book included the lack of diversity of backgrounds of the essayists—most are white, upper-class, urban working-outside-the-home women/mothers—and would have liked to have seen more pieces on the shock of becoming a stay-at-home mother and giving up one’s career. Three essays that readers found to be particularly interesting were “Attila Honey I’m Home”, “A Man in the Heart,” and “Why I Do. Not.” Overall, readers gave a lot of credit to these authors for writing honestly about very difficult situations and emotions.
Reviewed By: Sherry Larson-Rhodes