Thursday, September 17, 2015

#MMBBR Showcase w/ excerpt: Maternity Leave: A Novel by Julie Halpern @julie_halpern @StMartinsPress

MATERNITY LEAVE is the story of a professional woman who thinks she’s ready for a baby but her maternity leave proves otherwise. It is largely based on Julie’s own experiences as a new mother, and has so far been called “hilarious, poignant, almost painfully accurate”* and “a keenly observed portrayal of the most challenging time of your life”**  “with a lot of well-timed profanity.”***

Maternity Leave is a hilarious, poignant, almost painfully accurate look at the first few months of motherhood. It begins with a hysterical birth scene and takes us through Annie’s transformation from a self-involved, Buffy-obsessed geek-type person into a full-fledged mom, all without losing her basic identity. It’s warm and funny and very, very real. I loved this book!”
Maddie Dawson, author of The Opposite of Maybe*

Maternity Leave is the laugh-out-loud funny novel you’ll beg all your ‘mommy’ friends to read, as well as a keenly observed portrayal of the most challenging time of your life . . . a time so complex and unpredictable that all the parenting how-to books in the world
aren’t enough to prep you for it… the first three months of your child’s life.”
Julia Fierro, author of Cutting Teeth**

“With a lot of well-timed profanity, Halpern is hilarious and brutally honest as she exposes what it’s like for a first-time mother. A hilarious and perceptive novel for women…”
Library Journal***


JULIE HALPERN is the author of five young adult novels and one picture book for young readers. MATERNITY LEAVE is her first novel for adults. Prior to her life as a full-time mom and author, Julie was a school librarian. In her imaginary spare time, she enjoys traveling, watching television for grown-ups, and eating baked goods. Julie lives in the Chicago suburbs with her husband, author and illustrator Matthew Cordell, and their two children.


48 Days Old
The in-laws have arrived. Thankfully they offered to stay in a hotel. Dawn, Zach’s mom, claimed it was to give our family space, since our nights are so tough. I’m guessing it has more to do with the gross-out factor of our house. I don’t think Mimi could handle the random patches of spit up that we never bothered to clean off the carpet (I figure we’ll get to them all at once when Sam’s done with his spit up phase. Or we’ll get new carpet).
It’s hilarious watching the battle of the grandmas. There is a constant neediness emanating from their Chico’s jackets. I can tell Zach’s mom is trying to be diplomatic, but I also see a fire in her eyes when Mimi wants a turn that burns, “It’s my grandbaby by blood.” Slightly scary. I can’t wait until we have dinner with my mom tonight. Three grandmas in one place. I hope Sam still has all of his limbs when it’s all over.

Sam slept through most of the parental dinner at Indian Palace, until I had to nurse him. I’m getting better at feeding him in public, although it didn’t help when Mimi felt the need to act as my guard dog and barked, “That’s what breasts are made for!” at anyone who dared glance my way. Since I was wearing my nursing cover and most of my torso was concealed by the table, I think it mainly made Mimi look like a raving lunatic instead of a protective mother-in-law.
The conversation between bites of palak paneer and aloo gobi went something like this:
My mom: “So I’m Grandma [finger quotes]. What would you like to be called?” [Ballsy move on my mom’s part to stake her claim on the classic Grandma, but she always thought Bubbe made her sound too old. Plus, her mom was Grandma, so she wanted to continue the tradition.]
Dawn (Zach’s mom): “I always thought I’d be called Mimi because that’s what Zachy called his grandma.”
Mimi: “But my name’s Mimi.”
Dawn: “But the baby doesn’t know that.”
Mimi: “The baby doesn’t know anything yet, and even if he doesn’t know it now he will know it someday. I thought he could call me Mimi.”
Dawn: “I understand that Mimi is your name, but it’s not your grandma name. My mom was a Mimi, and it is important to me that my grandbaby know his family connection.”
Mimi: “Are you saying I have no family connection?”
Dawn: “You know I’m not saying that, nor have I ever said that. You know what I mean. It was my mother, for God’s sake.”
[Huffy Silence.]
Mimi: “Your point is valid. I propose a compromise.”
Dawn: “I’m listening.”
Mimi: “How about you’re Mimi, and I’m Mimi Two?”
Dawn: “Like we’re both called Mimi? That will confuse the poor boy.”
Mimi: “No. Like Mimi Part 2. The number. The sequel. Kids love sequels.”
Dawn: “I suppose that could work.”
Thus, Zach’s mom became Mimi, and Mimi became Mimi 2, The Sequel. And my mom retained her reigning title of Grandma.

Copyright © 2015 by St. Martin’s Press LLC.

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