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Dispatches from a Not-So-Perfect Life: Or How I Learned to Love the House, the Man, the Child

3.14  ·  Rating Details ·  122 Ratings  ·  28 Reviews
When Salon.com published Faulkner Fox’s article on motherhood, “What I Learned from Losing My Mind,” the response was so overwhelming that Salon reran the piece twice. The experience made Faulkner realize that she was not alone—that the country is full of women who are anxious and conflicted about their roles as mothers and wives.

In Dispatches from a Not-So-Perfect Life, h
...more
Paperback, 272 pages
Published November 16th 2004 by Broadway Books (first published November 16th 2003)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
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Amber
Jun 07, 2010 Amber rated it it was ok
I have to admit I stopped about a third of the way through. Her domestic scorekeeping and anger at all the unfair decisions involved in motherhood hit a little too close to home. It was like me, on my most bitter day, ramped up to 10. It was a good cautionary tale for me...
Andrea
Feb 20, 2008 Andrea rated it liked it
Recommends it for: working moms; nontraditional moms
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Stephanie
Jan 30, 2010 Stephanie rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
From the inside flap "Faulkner explores the causes of her unhappiness as well as the societal and cultural forces that American mothers have to contend with. And though she loves her children and her husband passionately, is thankful for her bountiful middle-class life, and feels wracked with guilt for being unhappy, she just can’t seem to experience the sense of satisfaction that she thought would come with the package.”

I recommend this book to any mother struggling with motherhood and anger. T
...more
Ellen C
Aug 19, 2011 Ellen C rated it really liked it
This book put to words so much of what I have felt as I have moved into the world of motherhood. For the longest time I used to ask what is wrong with me? Why don't I enjoy the day to day world of a stay at home mother to young children? Why do i get antsy during mommy and me activities and want to leave? Why do i not enjoy breastfeeding pr co sleeping or doing baby genius flash cards?And then the ensuing guilt over not loving every waking moment as a mother was overwhelming. Fox struggled with ...more
Danine
Nov 11, 2009 Danine rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
This review is based on the fact that I could not make it past the first chapter. I enjoy memoirs by mothers but I enjoy them if they are witty and humorous. This book did not deliever the humor or wit that I've grown to love in mommy memoirs.

This is a cliche story of an average mother's life. Maybe that is why people are drawn to the book because they can relate to the humdrum of daily life. I don't want cliche. I want to be offered a different and fresh perspective of motherhood that I didn't
...more
Jessica
Apr 28, 2008 Jessica rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: any woman - with or without children
Dispatches from a not-so-perfect life by Faulkner Fox is her account of how her life changed when she had children. I really appreciate her honesty in how much she struggled with cutting back on work and missing it, but feeling guilty when she was working, and all the frustration of having small children. I appreciate her honesty even more because I don't think I want to have children and she doesn't glamorize it at all. In fact she was admittedly very unhappy for the first few years of her chil ...more
Deb (Readerbuzz) Nance
Faulkner Fox has it all---a home, a job
she loves, a husband she adores, and two delightful sons. Yet,
somehow, she feels a disquieting sense of unhappiness. This book is
her attempt to come to terms with her feelings about motherhood amid
a culture that promotes not only selfless devotion to one's children
but also the ambitious strivings of modern women.

Though my own baby-steeped days have now passed, I can clearly
remember my own angst during those difficult early years at home. Fox
does a good job
...more
Sarah
May 17, 2011 Sarah rated it it was ok
I found it really hard to sympathize with Fox during most of this book. Her life is pretty darn good compared with 89% of women around the world. Plus, I'm all about equal gender rights but I'm far from a feminist; I don't feel oppressed or like the world is against me because I'm a woman.

With that said, I did enjoy this book for two reasons: I related to her life in Texas (I moved here from the East Coast not long ago) and her difficulty relating to other moms. I, too, have to search long and h
...more
Beth Gordon
May 07, 2013 Beth Gordon rated it it was ok
Let's start out with the good. The author has the coolest name ever. I would love to be named Faulkner Fox.

And then there's the book. Have you ever wanted to stab an author? This was my first time in wanting to commit homicide. I know, I should have just put the book down; it would have done wonders for my blood pressure.

I couldn't stand her tone - it was whiny, it was annoying, it was overprivileged, it was completely ungracious, it was petty. I don't need to hear her two birthing stories ove
...more
Az
Jun 23, 2008 Az rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: those interested in practical feminism
an honest look at motherhood from the feminist perspective--what happens when you acknowledge all that is wrong with the patriarchal system that we live under, and then get married and have children, and want the best for them. you still want the best for yourself. and what's wrong with that?
and how does one deal with that, on a day-to-day basis? fox brings both a literary eye and a analytical style in this volume. the citations, as well as fox's own admittance as a control-freak, allow the rea
...more
Laurel
May 16, 2008 Laurel rated it liked it
Sometimes annoying, sometimes interesting book concerning feminism and family by another self-centered and privileged memoirist. I related to some of the concepts but others lost me-- the idea that Gymboree is a tool of the man... the irresistible compulsion to be judgmental of the parenting choices of others... Maybe I'm lucky but I haven't experienced a crisis of self with motherhood either; if anything, I feel a greater sense of self and pride in my individuality than before. Sure I have less ...more
Dorothy
Feb 07, 2010 Dorothy rated it liked it
If you're feeling angry about motherhood, this is the book for you; mostly I felt badly for how incredibly enraged she was over everything surrounding motherhood, much of it, I thought was her own making; however, it did get me to wonder if I wasn't having the typical societal reaction that women should be so happy and selfless that she was talking about since I, too, have often felt angry at aspects of mothering; however, I think (and hope) I have a somewhat more balanced perspective than she d ...more
AJ Conroy
Feb 18, 2012 AJ Conroy rated it really liked it
One of the better mommy memoirs. Written by a feminist struggling to keep her sense of self. No advice, just her personal observations. I found it highly relate-able and inspiring, except the part were she really only gets to feeling normal after both kids are verbal. But at least she gets to a good place, so that makes it hopeful. And, she doesn't have nannies or a rich husband like so many of the other authors I've read.
Martha
Sep 22, 2010 Martha rated it it was ok
Shelves: biography-memoir
Maybe I've read too many of these, (and this one was written a while ago, so it's probably not fair to compare it to the recent influx of these type of books) but this one seemed particularly whiny and annoying. I wanted to like it, because I really should relate. Much like Eat, Pray, Love...it just left me cold. And it's petty, but really...if your parents financed your Harvard education please stop repeatedly referring to yourself as "middle class."
Becky
Feb 23, 2016 Becky rated it really liked it
I could have written this book! Only I can't put my feelings into words- but she nailed it. A great review of the mental struggles of life choices between being a mom and being a career woman. At times I thought this book a little whiney (pregnancy, childbirth) but the rest of it, she got it right on! I am NOT ALONE!
Juli Simon Thomas
Aug 05, 2008 Juli Simon Thomas rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Juli by: Alicia
This was great and it makes me want to write all my experiences down in gruesomely honest detail. I love her writing style and I also agree with her on most every point raised. It's not the most uplifting or lighthearted book, but it is a book I wish I could discuss with many other new mothers.
Kate
The subtitle is very misleading, and I don't see any evidence of the material gathered from interviewing other mothers. However, I liked her writing and empathized with her issues with unequal distribution of homework. But, thankfully, my baby is significantly less taxing than either of hers.
Ann Diab
Apr 07, 2013 Ann Diab rated it really liked it
Fascinating glimpse of gender roles and expectations you may not have otherwise noticed even if you thought you bore some feminist tendencies. Very thought-provoking. I really appreciate being able to share in the author's journey.
R
Jun 21, 2012 R rated it liked it
Kind of a rough read, because she is having such a hard time throughout most of the book, struggling with issues that in a certain way don't have any answer -- how feminism and motherhood and co-parenting work in our culture. She's a smart woman, but was all that suffering really necessary?
Molly
Dec 09, 2007 Molly rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: new parents who are feeling worried
it is a deeply personal book and therefore reflects the idiosyncrasies of the author. there were long sections that were not so interesting, but then the sections that were relevant made me laugh and cry and want to recommend this book to everyone I knew.
Marty
May 18, 2009 Marty rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Anti- war and anti- capital punishment but rabidly pro-abortion, Ms. Fox is a bundle of angst. Parts of this book are very funny and several of her insights are rather inspired. However, the remainder is self-indulgent whining.
Erin
Apr 14, 2010 Erin added it
Fox details her experience as a feminist and mother during her sons' early childhood. Dark humor, angst and outright anxiety follow. Didn't love her POV, but I couldn't stop reading it.
Maria
Jan 27, 2008 Maria rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I alternated between wanting to slap the author and thinking she was brilliant...Somehow I don't think I'm going to be the type of mom who's fulfilled by going to Gymboree with my baby.
Erin
Jun 05, 2007 Erin rated it liked it
The author had this uncanny way of verbalizing how I had been feeling at the time. Also...the main character reminded me a lot of Courtney.
Jenny D.
Jun 01, 2007 Jenny D. rated it really liked it
To everyone who has a preconceived notion of "how it should be," and for every woman who thinks herself a failure for not having it all together all the time.
Tracy
Tracy rated it it was amazing
Feb 01, 2015
Annamarie
Annamarie rated it really liked it
Oct 17, 2016
Ruby
Ruby rated it liked it
Jun 24, 2014
Bridgid
Bridgid rated it really liked it
Mar 07, 2013
Anna
Anna rated it it was amazing
Jul 27, 2014
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