Book of the Month Review: How to Party with an Infant


I was supposed to have finished How to Party With an Infant by April, however I've fallen a bit behind on my schedule. The delay in this review however, worked out for the best as the theme of the book is timely for Mother's Day.  This was one of the rare times I chose a book upon the title alone. It came up on an Amazon search, and I thought judging by the title this would be a humerus read about parenting which would help pass the time  during my maternity leave.  The protagonist of this novel,  Mele is surprised with an unexpected pregnancy, but even more so when the baby's father announces he is engaged to someone else. As a newly single mom residing in San Francisco, she struggles to find her place among the affluent helicopter moms who wear Hermes and hire preschool consultants,  but eventually finds a band of misfit parents in the San Francisco Mom's Club that she clicks with that have no problem drinking wine from plastic cups at the park during play dates. The every day struggles of parenthood are cleverly told through stories from her parent group members which Mele uses as inspiration for recipes in a cookbook competition hosted by the San Francisco Mom's club. The is a light read, but candidly illuminates the many challenges of parenting, from teenage rebellion and toddler tantrums, to co-parenting with someone who broke your heart to explaining heavy issues of death and racism to your children.  I appreciated these comical but poignant stories, which often hit the nail on the head on the many paradoxical emotions that come with being a parent. I also could relate to Mele's search to fit in and find a place in the parenting community. For myself finding a group of parents to fit in with hasn't been exactly easy. More on that in this post. As much as I enjoyed the earnestness and humor of this novel, at the end the plot took a real nosedive, in my opinion. Mele ends up starting a romantic relationship with one of the fathers from her parent group. This dad, Henry, is a wealthy retiree and has three kids, two teenagers and a two year old with his current wife (yes still married when they start their relationship). Although Henry's wife is having an affair, he is still very much married and not even near divorce at the time they spark their relationship. I was disappointed with this plot line because it shifted the focus off of Mele's journey into motherhood and becoming a stronger person, and more to her being rescued by a wealthy man. Furthermore, the stories from her parent group were entertaining enough on their own without having to add this cheesy love interest in the mix. The ending was a let down for me, but I would still recommend this as a quick enjoyable read, especially for any new moms.
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