14 October 2013

The Funeral Dress

The Funeral Dress by Susan Gregg Gilmore 

***No one has ever entrusted impoverished Emmalee with anything important, but she takes it upon herself to sew her mentor's resting garment in The Funeral Dress, by Susan Gregg Gilmore.  Join From Left to Write on Oct 15th as we discuss The Funeral Dress.  As a member, I received a copy of this book for review purposes.***

This book really struck a chord with me.  It's a sad story in many ways, and it's a story of strength and resilience and hope in other ways.  But what really struck me is that Emmalee was a motherless mother.  

How do you learn how to be a mother, when you don't have one yourself?  Her mother died when she was a young girl, and her father didn't give her much to go on. Emmalee had to fight for every single thing she had, and she didn't have much.  The women that surrounded her at her job became her surrogate mothers, although they may not have realized it at the time.  Her own family did not support her or offer her any kind of shelter from the storm and she was essentially alone.  Her parting gift to Leona, the one woman who really cared about her and tried to help her in a time of need, was all that she could give, and it was everything.  It was a perfect gesture in keeping with the relationship she had built with Leona.

Leona had taught Emmalee how to sew, but she taught her so much more along the way.  Leona mothered Emmalee

In some ways, I can relate to Emmalee's situation.  No, I didn't grow up destitute in a mountainside holler, and I wasn't a young unwed mother, but I lost my mother when I was a child, and I had to learn to be a mother without having one of my own.  I was lucky enough, like Emmalee, to have a few people around me who were willing to step into the void and help me learn.  Those women are thankfully still with us and not in need of a funeral dress.  I don't know how to sew, but reading this book and thinking about my childhood made me wonder.  If I had the chance, how would I repay that debt to them?  How could I show my gratitude for how they shaped my life, and by extension, how they affected my children's lives?  

I don't know if I ever can.

Reasons Mommy Drinks

Reasons Mommy Drinks Book 

(Includes 100 Cocktail Recipes to Enjoy in Your Zero Free Time), by Lyranda Martin Evans and Fiona Stevenson

As a contributing member of From Left to Write, I received a copy of this book for review purposes. 

Since I received it in the mail, I did not have the opportunity to find it while perusing the shelves of my local bookstore, but I have to start with the Lego ice cubes in the drink.  I LOVE THIS image!  LOVE it.   I am the mom of three boys, all of whom have a seriously committed relationship with Legos; I think it's absolutely perfect that they're accessories to alcohol in the cover photo. 

I was thoroughly amused by this book.  No, that's not exactly right...it was more like interrupt- Captain-America-while-he's-watching-football, "OMG you have to read this, it's hysterical" funny. In the spirit of full disclosure, my kids are (and therefore I am) a little bit older than what I imagine the target audience is for this book.  But pregnancy, childbirth and my children's infancies are not that far removed from the dusty recesses of my memory, that I couldn't relate to nearly every page of this book.  

It's a recipe book of sorts, served with a generous helping of self-deprecating wit and snark and camaraderie for moms: newly pregnant, about to give birth, just gave birth and moms in the trenches.  It's for all of us.  Each drink has a theme and a pacifier rating system, as in, how badly do you need this drink?  Some drinks are 1- binky drinks, where yeah, you might could use it.  Or you might just as well enjoy handing baby over to daddy and zoning out in front of What Not to Wear for awhile.  Then you have your 5-binky drinks, which are CRITICAL.  You need it NOW. STAT.  Someone could get hurt.  

The drinks sound pretty good, and I am going to try out a few of them.  I don't object at all to alcohol and I understand the need for it.  It's just that don't mix a lot of drinks for myself.  I kind of cut right to the chase; I pretty much just open the bottle and go. But what I loved, and read out loud to my husband and my mommy friends and laughed till I cried about, were the topics and stories that went with the drinks.  Here's an example: The drink is a Mudslide.  Most of us have at least heard of a Mudslide, even if we haven't actually partaken. 

Chocolate syrup
1/2 ounce vodka
1/2 ounce coffee liqueur
1/2 ounce Irish cream
Splash of milk

Drizzle chocolate syrup around the inside rim of a glass, and then fill the glass with ice. Pour in the vodka, coffee liqueur, Irish cream and milk, and stir.  

How badly you need this drink:
5 binkies

The story that goes along with the desperate need for a Mudslide is called Explosive Poo.  That's pretty self-explanatory, but the paragraph that describes it in hysterical, horrific detail will really bring the point home.  You're going to have to read it for yourself to truly appreciate it.  I will give you this much though:  "There is no waiting for Daddy to get home, though, as The Situation must be dealt with lest you get a diaper rash.  But oh, the horror that unfolds with the diaper."  

Really, who among us can't relate to that?  

If your kids are past this age, pick it up and reminisce.  And then pass it on to your pregnant girlfriend, or neighbor, or daughter in law.  But if you are in the thick of pregnancy or the baby years, this is book is written just for you.  Do yourself a favor and get it.  You can read it two pages at a time and that will be enough. 

Check out the authors' website here and order the book here!

Happy reading!  And drinking.