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The Slippery Year
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The Slippery Year

3.16 of 5 stars 3.16  ·  rating details  ·  576 ratings  ·  148 reviews
“We are all so curious. Hungry for the truth. If only we could ask the questions we really want to ask of each other and get the real answers. Like how many times a month do you have sex? What prescription drugs are you on? Are you happy? Really happy? Happy enough?”

For anybody who has ever wondered privately Is this all there is, Melanie Gideon’s poignant, hilarious, exub
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Hardcover, 224 pages
Published August 4th 2009 by Knopf (first published January 1st 2009)
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Jake Rideout
I'm not real big on memoirs. My reading tastes tend more toward escapism, which you may have already noted. This memoir, however, I could not put down. Melanie Gideon did not get lost on a mountain climbing expedition (she DID fall off her bike though) or get breast cancer (she scratched her cornea) or leave her marriage and move to Europe (she camped in the driveway, almost). This book is about being a mom and a wife and yourself all at the same time, and keeping your sense of humor, and laughi ...more
Caroline
I liked this book and would give it 2.5 stars. Very quick read, funny, clever, sharp writing (which I like). However, it is NOT what it billed itself to be. It's not one womans quest for anything. It was simply a series of essays from a year of her life. There were a few instances where I thought she might be "going somewhere" with common mid-life issues and then it would end and she wouldn't address it again. So, it could have been so much more but with a funny viewpoint but it didn't happen. A ...more
Caroline M.
I read this all in one sitting, devouring the chapters like chips, because of writing like this:
"There's this strange phenomenon. An hour after you've put your children to sleep, the ways in which you have wronged them sprawl out on your chest, all two hundred and fifty pounds of them, and suck the breath right out of you. It works the same way with gratitude. An hour after your family has left the house, you love them with a piercing intensity that was nowhere to be found when you were scraping
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Janet
I expected a bit more depth from this book based on reviews I read and the general description, but it turned out to be a rather vapid account of one middle class woman's struggle with, among other things, her husband's purchase of a van as part of his mid-life crisis. Disappointing.
Heidi
When I read the introduction to this book, I was pretty intrigued. It sounded really relate-able, and I'm always interested in stories about marriage and motherhood. However, the book didn't really deliver, although there are some nuggets of profound truth scattered throughout.
Jean Godwin Carroll
An enjoyable reflection written by a 44-year old mother & wife trying to determine what is important in life, and what it means to be happy with the life you find yourself in. It’s her uplifting and funny story of how she deals with her husband’s midlife crisis when he buys an atrocious-looking camper RV that he insists on parking in the driveway of their affluent suburb, or tries to recapture her passionate feelings for this otherwise-practical husband who insists on wearing a safety helmet ...more
Amy
I really enjoyed this! It's a "mom memoir"...more like a journal of the year her only son is 9. The family is close, but she's seeing the beginning of him becoming more independent. She's wondering if this is all there is to life, and is she truly happy. Her style is funny and easy to read. I feel like I could be her friend, though I did think she was a bit whiny about things and didn't see how lucky she truly was. I think by the end she realized that. Worth a read! I've read quite a few "mom me ...more
Melody
There are times when one reads a memoir written by someone who is entirely other, and one is able to inhabit that person, understand their motivations, and walk away with a certain understanding. This was not one of those times for me. I didn't get Gideon, I was impatient with her foibles, I was annoyed with her attitudes, and I ended up being glad that my only encounter with her was through the pages of this book.

I'm not saying I think she's a bad person, or even a bad writer. I think she's a g
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Elizabeth Newell
This is another one of those books, a bit like _Helping me help myself_, Hyperchondriac and _Up for Renewal_, where there are some very funny parts, but the author also portrays themselves as so dysfunctional you just want to smack them. Why is it that I keep finding these books, often written by local women no less, that tell the story of educated people who can't manage to clean their toilet more than once a year, or, in the case of this book, make their 9 year old bathe regularly? Maybe they ...more
Lauren
So I really found the author incredibly tiresome in the beginning, but she increasingly grew on me. I adored the son and husband, but the wife. . . meh. A bit too jokey, a bit too consciously annoying. Nevertheless, it was a well crafted read. And the best kind of book: the kind you devour in one day, a couple subway rides. I can't say I strongly recommend it, but for anyone who needs to take themselves a little less seriously and read something more substantial than a self-help magazine article ...more
Terri
I connected with Melanie Gideon right off; she's a transplanted New Englander living in California. She gets the joke of Chez Panisse and Alice Waters serving very wholesome... and boringly tasteless food; I mean you could get that in a New England Boiled Dinner for a heck of a lot less! And she's funny. Melanie Gideon makes me laugh out loud, because she nails life.

Her husband is all about terrific food, gourmet food, good food and Melanie Gideon just doesn't care that much about food. She pref
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Beth
I am a big fan of the memoir-of-a-normal-person genre. This one was sweet and enjoyable and a good use of a couple of hours of your time, but it didn't deliver what was promised. The reviews led you to believe that Gideon woke up from her sheltered, maybe-too-comfortable life and started taking risks again. This did not happen, but she did write some funny and endearing essays on being a 40-something California mom.
Katherine
Gave up on this one, after too many more-of-the-same chapters. The author has an appealing writing style and I feel as if I'd like her personally, but the book is a grab bag of her experiences with theoretically are organized around some sort of being-present theme, but really are just shoved together in amusing but insubstantial essays.
Sally
Great memoir about a 40-something woman's ordinary life - made me LOL several times on my recent DC trip! Her description of divorced (p. 137) is so right on target, I wish I'd written it myself.
Ciara
another middle class malcontented mommy memoir. not really breaking any new ground or offering any fresh insights. not really memorable in any way once the book has been finished. the author has a nice dry wit, & there were some funny bits in here, but it seemed almost like accidental humor. i guess that beats a naturally unfunny person trying too hard to make me laugh, but...i really have no feelings about this book. the subtitle makes me think she was maybe going for something more philoso ...more
Andi
Én balga gondoltam ebben a nagy hőségben nem kell komoly tartalommal bíró könyvet olvasni, csak lazát. A borítóját elnézve valami beszólogatós, humoros kötetet vártam, a hátoldalon azt írja az Elle, hogy az otthon melege árad a könyvből…a The Daily Beast szerint végre egy könyv, amiből megértik a férfiak, hogy mire vágyik egy nő…a New York Post szerint pedig olyan dolgokról ír, amikkel sokan tudnak azonosulni… Hát kedves Elle magazin ha ilyen otthonom lenne, ahol egy nő 44 évesen nem tud főzni, ...more
Laura
"There have been times in my life when I envied Bodhi. The day we brought Ben home from the hospital, for instance, and he cried for six hours without stopping until I screamed, 'What the fuck have we done!' at my husband. Bodhi heaved a big I-told-you-having-this-baby-was-a-bad-idea sigh and went upstairs and stayed upstairs until Ben turned two.

Things I do not envy about Bodhi: he has had to eat the same thing day in and day out for thirteen years; he has never had dinner at Dona Tomas; he has
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Emily
An interesting memoir of a normal American woman who is struggling with the realities of "happily ever after". This definitely would strike a bigger chord with women in the 35-50 age range with at least one child, but I definitely found a number of anecdotes funny and relatable.

Where I think Gideon loses some credibility is in her seeming need to assert herself as upper middle class over and over and over again--it reads a little insecure. I think she has a lot of universal truths that many wom
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Laura
I loved this book and feel like the author and I are leading parallel lives. There are a few geographical adjustments because she is in CA and I am the Midwest, but she could be writing about my life! She has a tough time as a lacrosse mom; my own initiation as a hockey mom was also a little rocky.
She doesn't actually enjoy her dinner at the exclusive restaurant with organically grown, simply prepared food. I don't participate in the locally grown co-op that friends encourage us to join. My 6
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Erin
Despite my wish for a short afterward in which she could deliver some kind of conclusion, I enjoyed this meandering trip through Gideon's life. The subtitle really hit the mark: this wasn't a story, or a quest, or a tell-all. It was a meditation. It was thoughts about thoughts, wonderings about life, and many were recognizable despite my differences from Gideon. I usually find it fascinating to find echoes from my own brain wandering around in someone else's life, and this was no exception.
Rachel
Nov 27, 2014 Rachel added it
After reading the blurbs, I thought this book would be different: one woman's quest to find herself in the dull, quotidian mess of her life. But it turned out to be less pointed, less about a quest and more about a few moments in a normal person's life that turned out to make me laugh, quite often. Cute, a little silly, and quick. Definitely a fun little read.
Wendy Paige
The Slippery Year was laugh-out-loud funny but also too profane for me. F word seemed gratuitous. Or maybe I'm just an old fogey.
I had to keep checking that this was nonfiction rather than fiction.
The month by month construction starting in September and ending in August seemed to follow a school year rather than a calendar year. I did not see the purpose.
While I enjoyed many of the parts where the author reflects on the insecurities of wives and mothers, I'm having trouble deciding on a rating
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Ngaire
So good. Sometimes I felt like Melanie and I could be twins (or two of a set of triplets since she's already a twin) and other times her thinking was just so different it was bizarre. But she made me laugh and cry - definitely good.

That whole section about the woman at Whole Foods who takes forever to get through the checkout line because she has to tell all and sundry about her kids' food allergies and what she's going to cook with the organic arugula she's buying made me die laughing. Because
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Brenda
I have very little in common with Melanie Gideon other than the fact we both live in the Bay Area yet I ate up her book, which outwardly appears to be a memoir about nothing written by a stay at home mom, in a few hours. What we do have in common in that sometimes it feels like the world is slipping by us and a strong need to find insight in everyday life. And I don't think that is an uncommon feeling among women, judging from the success of Elizabeth Gilbert's "Eat, Pray, Love" -which personall ...more
Sarah
As I've mentioned before, I fancy myself a connoisseur of the Year Memoir. This woman is not. She is neurotic and unlikeable (neurotic I can happily live with -- and do, hahaha! -- but the combination is lethal), and as far as I can tell this book is an account of a calendar year of her being neurotic and unlikeable, as well as grouchy to her husband and helicoptery to her son. I mean, I get that the Arc of Personal Growth is a bit contrived in many of these books, but a little personal growth w ...more
Clarabel
C'est une lecture sans prétention, fluide, légère, un peu superficielle aussi, on y aborde des sujets aussi délicats que la perte du chien ou le blues d'un mariage quelque peu fané par le temps, mais cela traite aussi de thèmes aussi artificiels que l'achat d'un matelas, des ronflements du mari, des cheveux qui frisent, d'une séance chez le coiffeur qui s'éternise...
Au final, heureusement, l'auteur rappelle que si tout n'est pas parfait ni conforme à ses rêves de jeune fille, sa vie d'aujourd'h
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Elixxir
I was about to start another review with complaints about how it started so strong but couldn't keep its momentum. But at some point you have to stop and ask yourself if you keep having the same reaction is the problem the books or is it you? I identified so strongly with her existential angst and feeling of sleepwalking through life. However maybe endless pages droning on and on about her mattress saga isn't a problem, it's The Point. There's not going to be a magic answer tucked away in any of ...more
Lisa
parts of this book are laugh out loud funny and i cried when i read the chapter about the family dog dying. set in the oakland hills with relatable "mom" neuroses that are sometimes so familiar you feel like she swiped your journal, melanie gideon gives us her story of being in her own "middle place" -- her 9 year old son growing up, her relationship with her husband changing, and her relationship with herself evolving. still, the book is lacking in strucutre. many great ideas here would benefit ...more
J.j.
I love the normalness of this book, the everyday. You have to overlook the fact that she's obviously rich and has the benefit of living in California where the sun shines 300 days a year, minimum. Once you do, you have passages like this:

'It seems to me that we're all allotted a number of perfect minutes, years if we're lucky, when everything is as it should be. When sleep comes without sleeping pills. When love is a birthright. when our houses are intact, safe from fire, mice and heartbreak. Th
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Nancy
I happened to read this book at the same time I read "Bird by Bird" and noticed that Melanie Gideon must have read Anne Lamott, or taken her class on writing! She certainly "exposed the unexposed" and "dived beneath the surface" in her memoir. She really put it all out there -- her insecurities, overprotectiveness of her son, mediocre marriage. She definitely has some hang ups that I don't share, but she, thank goodness, can laugh at herself and made me laugh along. The scene in which she descri ...more
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Melanie Gideon is the author of the memoir The Slippery Year: A Meditation on Happily Ever After, an NPR and San Francisco Chronicle Best Book of 2009, and a New York Times bestseller, as well as three young adult novels. Her latest novel, Wife 22, will be translated into 26 languages and is currently in development with Working Title Films. She has written for the New York Times, the San Francisc ...more
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“Why do you always think the sky is falling? Maybe the sky is calling, not falling.” 6 likes
“There comes a time in every mother’s life when it becomes very clear that your child is a much better person than you are, but you’re not allowed to say this because then where would you go from there—admitting such a thing to a nine-year-old?” 0 likes
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