Select one of the keywords
The Cursing Mommy's Book of Days    by Ian Frazier order for
Cursing Mommy's Book of Days
by Ian Frazier
Order:  USA  Can
Picador, 2013 (2012)
Hardcover, Softcover, CD, e-Book
* *   Reviewed by Rheta Van Winkle

In The Cursing Mommy's Book of Days we are introduced to a young mother who has so many overwhelming problems that she can barely cope. Her husband Larry escapes to his job as much as possible and when he's at home he has a hobby, 'being very involved with whatever he does in the basement with his boxes of capacitors,' so she can rarely get him to help her. Larry snores peacefully next to her at night while the Cursing Mommy lies awake staring at the horrible ceiling, which seems to be mocking her. While the Cursing Mommy starts every day on an optimistic note, usually by the end of that day she is full of despair.

For instance, she begins describing their eleven-year-old son Trevor by saying that he's 'a wonderful boy. His mind goes faster than his words can keep up with, one of his teachers has told me, and as a result he lashes out and sometimes exposes himself in class. We are working on this. He does not always tell the truth.' He also starts fires. The Cursing Mommy ends her description by saying 'I think I'm having a panic attack right now thinking about Trevor and how in God's name he will ever get through life. He is just a horrible, wretched child ... who should be under police supervision all the time and I absolutely do not know what we're going to do with him.' She then sweetly remarks that she knows it's wrong for a mother to feel like this, and she hopes that if Trevor should 'ever read this, please use words to express your reaction, not hitting or knives.' Early every Sunday morning she takes Trevor to a therapist who has put him on several medications that leave him sleepy but may, she hopes, prevent him from committing a horrible crime.

Their younger son Kyle, seven, faints when he's upset, which leads to many phone calls from the assistant principal, asking her to come and take her son home. She also gets frequent calls from Sabrina at the 'f***g g***d assisted living' about her father, who apparently abandoned his family when she was a child, made and lost two fortunes which he never shared with his family, and then wound up in an assisted living facility near the Cursing Mommy. She bitterly resents this responsibility, and there seems to be no love lost between father and daughter. However, Sabrina acts as though this is a normal, loving father/daughter relationship and calls her constantly with updates on her father's life and requests to drive him to doctor's appointments or come to deal with any problems that he causes.

The dystopian world of the Cursing Mommy just keeps getting worse, with freak weather storms, buildings burning down, and strange phone calls and text messages from Larry's boss/client who seems to have developed an unhealthy attraction to her that she doesn't know how to handle. She attempts to bring order into her life by beginning many days by meditating on a quotation to soothe herself, adding some calming deep yoga breathing when necessary. She fondly remembers her gramma Pat and endeavors to model her life on her example, but somehow her efforts at baking, cleaning or gardening all end up the same, with her on her back on the floor saying, 'Actually it's not so bad lying here ... In just a minute I'm going to get up.' Her last remark always says it all, though. 'Oh, what a f***g horrible day this is turning out to be.'

This book is not for anyone who is offended by bad language. I thought it was a really funny book, and the horrible things that happen to the Cursing Mommy and her friends are outrageously exaggerated, but somehow her year ends on a positive note. This is a first novel for the author, Ian Frazier, who based the book on columns that he writes for The New Yorker Magazine.

Note: Opinions expressed in reviews and articles on this site are those of the author(s) and not necessarily those of BookLoons.

Find more Contemporary books on our Shelves or in our book Reviews