Wednesday, April 08, 2009

It Sucked and Then I Cried (by Heather Armstrong)

So of course I had to read Heather "Dooce" Armstrong's book, and I have to say, I was disappointed. I don't hate her (although it's not hard to be jealous of her $40K per month) and I enjoy her blog. But I was expecting the book to go into depth a little more into PPD, as the title would suggest.

I found it to be annoyingly glib, almost. It really takes a long time to get to the climax of the book, which would I guess be her being hospitalized for four days. In that segment, she suddenly refers back to things that were never explored, such as fits of violence. The book is like cute story cute story cute story I cried a lot cute story BAM IN THE HOSPITAL. I feel like it glosses over a lot of what it's supposed to be exploring.

I also think the all caps thing doesn't work very well in print, if at all. I don't mind it in a blog, but in a book, it feels gimmicky and lazy. The letters to Leta are interspersed in there too, in a cutesy font. It seems like another distraction from the (supposed) main story. And she ends the book by talking about her four-day stay in a mental hospital as if she spent a year in Guantanamo. It feels self-indulgent and lacking perspective. (There's this whole, "I remember when you used to visit me in the hospital sometimes, and you would bring Leta..." and I was like oh really? All four of those days?)

I am not trying to make light of what Heather went through; the problem is, I think she's making light of it. And then at the end talking about it as if she's made us understand her suffering. She hasn't. And that's why, for me, the book falls apart.


Blogger Jana said...

Holy crap. $40,000 a MONTH!? I got "dooced" from my first job, and I have two kids...can I have $40,000 a year, even?

I haven't read her book (and to be honest I don't plan to) but I am not surprised by your assessment. I think her blog writing suffers from many of the same issues which (as you said) is one thing for a blog, but quite another for a published book. I can't help but think her internet celebrity status is what's selling her books, not the quality of the writing.

Wow, that sounds bitchy! I didn't mean it that way.

2:13 PM  

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