Last month I was sent a digital copy of a new book from syndicated humor writer Tracy Beckerman. Since I’d previously bought and read Tracy’s first book, Rebel Without a Minivan, I was really looking forward to Lost in Suburbia.
Rebel Without a Minivan is a compilation of Tracy’s columns, while Lost in Suburbia is billed as a “Momior” and has the feel of an autobiography in the style of a hot, Jewish Erma Bombeck.
It’s not too far a stretch to compare Tracy Beckerman to Erma Bombeck. I first heard of Tracy at the 2012 Erma Bombeck Writers’ Workshop in Dayton, Ohio. Tracy’s session on better humor writing was the buzz of the whole conference. She was like the prom queen of Dayton that weekend, except not pregnant.
I appreciated the narrative arc following the author from her fabulous job at a television station in New York City through her children’s births and the family’s migration to…the suburbs of New Jersey.
As someone born and raised in the South, New York and New Jersey don’t seem that different to me. Apparently, that’s like thinking there’s no difference in SEC football teams (Go Vols!), or sweet tea and tea in a glass you can add a sugar packet to yourself.
Once in New Jersey, Tracy has to leave behind cool hair and a chic wardrobe of all black for the land of minivans, mawl hair, and—worst of all—Mom Jeans.
You know what Mom Jeans are. They are high in the waist and roomie in the seat. They may have pleats and they most likely taper to the ankle. In the 80s we just called them “jeans”.
Can Tracy survive play groups with the mom who fakes her kids peanut allergy? Will she find a bathing suit that doesn’t make her want to commit hara-kiri in the dressing room at the mall? Can she ever be cool again?
I read Lost In Suburbia at night after my husband went to sleep, and almost woke him up several times with my chortling. There were also some snorts and a muffled guffaw.
In person, I laugh easily and heartily. I’m the lady you want at your presentation or home party because I’m engaged and expressive. When I read, it’s another story. I am very hard to amuse with the written word. If I say you made me laugh, that’s one of my highest compliments. (Saying “LOL” doesn’t count!) This book made me laugh.
My favorite story was the tale of Tracy’s son’s bris. There was some confusion as to the completeness of the procedure because the Mohel, Tracy’s own brother, was sleepy from flying in on the red eye. That is not a euphemism.
I also liked Tracy’s story of how her mother kept a secret stash of forbidden junk food. I totally identified with that as the child of a mother who made us eat yogurt before it came with fruit or flavor, and whole wheat bread made from sticks and twigs. 70s whole foods were hardcore. All I wanted were Pringles and Oreos like the other kids had! Tracy feels my pain.
So, I enjoyed the parts of Lost in Suburbia that were familiar to me, and the parts that were like having a peek inside a stranger’s funny and dysfunctional house. Tracy is the real-deal funny and this book is bookshelf-worthy.
I consider Tracy to be a friend, but I wouldn’t give this book my highest recommendation if I didn’t think you would love it as much as I do.
Tracy Beckerman is on a tour to support her new book and may be in a library or hair salon near you soon. I’ll see her next at the Mom 2.0 Summit in California in a month, where I hope she’ll sign a book for me.
Would you like a copy of Lost in Suburbia? Just leave me a comment telling me what you’ve done to get your cool back after having kids. If you don’t have kids, tell me what it’s like to go to the bathroom without an audience. That must be nice, huh?
Julia (jmmom) says
I’m currently re-examining my style. 🙂 I look younger than I am, and now that my sons are in college I’m trying to figure out how not to wear the mom jeans/sweatshirt but also not look like I’m trying too hard.
Oh, and I’m really enjoying going to the bathroom undisturbed!
(And I’d love a copy of the book!)
Still working on getting that ‘cool’ back and at the same time realizing that my definition of ‘cool’ is much different easing in to my 40s than it was easing in to my 30s.
Some of it has been worked out as I single handedly and highly caffeinatedly (a real word??? Ummm…doubt it.) rip out blue countertops and walls that I find redundant. Then it’s found as I beg and plead with my hubby to fix those pesky problems that arise when I do that. Oops.
Some of it involved getting my nose pierced.
A lot of it is finding the ability and strength to embrace what I have instead of what I expected life to look like. God has given and taken away. I’m working on accepting.
I’m totally cool with that. Most days.
Caryn/The Mid Life Guru says
Loved meeting Tracy at our BlissDom dinner. Her book sounds like a lot of fun. No more mommy jeans for me. I’ve ditched them all for skinny jeans!!!
I have been know to wear sleeveless tank tops with a short skirt on weekends. Plus, I no longer hide the Oreo cookies in Tampax boxes.
I’d love a copy of Lost in Suburbia.
Lady of Perpetual Chaos says
I haven’t gotten my cool back so I really need to read this book. Or perhaps I never had the cool to begin with and there just is no helping me now.
Carpool Goddess says
Loved your review! I have to read this! I got my cool back by growing my hair long again after years of looking matronly.
Oh my gosh, I am on the growing-the-hair-out plan, too! It’s an age freak-out thing for me! Ironically, this week I had to make the decision to switch from dying my hair every four weeks to every three. I am one step closer to being a weekly visitor at the hair salon.
tracey anthony says
I tried getting my cool back by returning to stand up comedy. Unfortunately, I didn’t have a sitter, and evidently you’re not allowed to leave your baby in the car while you do your “set” (even if you leave a bottle of milk and some cheerios). Started to get my cool back, and then my daughter turned 13. Now I am even less cool than before.