I’ve always been impressed by the way my own mother raised my brother and me, and I’ve always found stories of everyday familial memories appealing. Jennifer Grant’s compilation of interesting family-life vignettes, naturally, looked intriguing. As a professional journalist, Grant writes with remarkable finesse – but never sacrifices warmth for style. It’s obvious how much Grant cares about her children, and this affection shines through on every page.
Structurally, the book is episodic; there’s no overall narrative or message being conveyed. This, ironically, works to its overall advantage: the great strength of the book is its lack of didacticism. This is not a parenting book; it is simply a collection of anecdotes and observations, held together by Grant’s crisp prose. (It’s worth mentioning that some of the stories are downright hilarious). Even as an adult guy, I can relate to many of the situations Grant describes. Particularly entertaining (for me) is the inverted perspective on various events every family experiences – “MOMumental” offers insights into the rationales behind decisions that seem incomprehensible to children at the time.
It’s not particularly long – ~250 pages – and a bit more cohesion would have been nice at times, but these are quibbles at most. In short, this book will appeal to almost any demographic. Not once does it cross the line into “preachiness” or excessive sentimentality – it’s simply a genuine, honest look at the value of family life. Recommended.
* I received this book free as part of a book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”
July 9, 2012 at 3:09 pm
We moms often set impossible standards for ourselves, and feel that we can never be “a good mom.” Or at least a good enough mom. Momumental was so encouraging to me as a mom. Jennifer Grant offers solid advice, not just on parenting but on how to be intentional about building a family culture. She writes honestly about her own mistakes, her own perfectionism, and how her own family of origin impacted her. She also tells beautiful stories about her family that made me laugh and cry. I’m recommending this book who anyone who is raising children—which is a messy but beautiful art.