Monday, November 4, 2013

The Cursing Mommy's Book of Days by Ian Frazier

Ian Frazier has been a columnist for the New Yorker magazine among other jobs. He is well traveled and is has a particular interest in Russia, namely Siberia, as well as Native Americans of the west. The Cursing Mommy's Book of Days is based on his New Yorker column. If it were not for him speaking at the Monday nights Pittsburgh Arts & Lectures, this reader would not have, most likely,  chosen the book to read. 

Though nameless, the Cursing Mommy, chronicles a hellacious year in her life and the life of her family: a pretty much worthless husband, who is more interested is collecting his capacitors; son Kyle who breaks out in hives when he is stressed out by going to school; son Trevor who is a bad seed with the habit of starting fires among other "prankish" behaviour; and her father, resident in a nursing home who just refuses to die. Impacting her life from outside the family are her husband's lecherous boss, her best friend who runs away with a poet leaving a husband and children behind, Trevor's therapist, her book club, and the school that seems to have been overtaken by a cult. 

Frazier captures the day-to-day frustrations of a wife and mother, albeit one who is also struggling with pill and alcohol addiction. As the Cursing Mommy recounts the events of her days, the reader can laugh and at the same time empathize with her. At some point every woman has had her thoughts. She offers Martha Stewart style hints for cooking and cleaning that pretty much end in disaster - a common thread throughout the book as is her frustration at those events that causes a proliferation of the F... word on the pages. If it is not cursing, then it is invoking the horrendous actions of the Bush/Cheney administration that is really to be blamed for all dire incidents. 

There were times when I was really enjoying Cursing Mommy, but then the amount of profanity really turned me off. I was annoyed that I had to read through all the F-bombs to get to the diary. When we heard Mr. Frazier lecture, he was even reticent about referring to the book because of all the expletives. His talk on Siberia, however, was most interesting and offered some quite hilarious commentary.

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