TBR: One Big Happy Family
With Mother's Day approaching, I realized that I never posted a book review for One Big Happy Family. Yes, it's another anthology of essays about families, this one with the twist that all of the families are nontraditional in some way — the subtitle is "18 Writers Talk About Polyamory, Open Adoption, Mixed Marriage, Househusbandry, Single Motherhood, and Other Realities of Truly Modern Love." I'll admit that when they emailed me to ask if I wanted a review copy, my first thought was "Househusbandry makes the cut? I'm not hopelessly uncool and traditional?"
Anthologies are always somewhat of a mixed bag, and this one — with the members chosen for their breaking the norrm in some way — is probably more of one than most. Some of the voices were ones I've read before — Dan Savage reports on his son's mommy, and how he copes with her erratic communications, Dawn Friedman writes about Penny, Madison, and open adoption, Amy and Marc Vachon make their usual pitch for Equally Shared Parenting. Some were new to me. Overall, I enjoyed most of the essays, although a lot of them were a shade too didactic for my taste.
That said, the one essay that I truly disliked is the one by Neil Pollack, which is the one that I think is supposed to be about "househusbandry." For one thing, Pollack explicitly says he's not a househusband and his wife isn't a housewife — they both work from home, and neither of them seems to do much housework. And they both come across as incredibly passive aggressive and annoying. If Marc and Amy make sharing things down the middle seem impossibly perfect and easy, Pollack makes it seem like chewing broken glass would be far preferable. I think the last time I read an essay by Pollack that was causing a shitstorm on the blogosphere, the conclusion was that it was supposed to be satire. I truly hope this essay was satire, although it wasn't funny. Because if it's just true, it's sad.