george's Reviews > Callie's Tally: An Accounting of Baby's First Year

Callie's Tally by Betsy Howie
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's review
Feb 25, 09

bookshelves: grown-up-books, biography-autobiography-memoir, read-in-2009, feminist-womens-issues
Read in February, 2009

Hi-larious. Seriously, this is the funniest thing I've read in a long time. Betsy Howie is closer than she'd like to be to forty and realizing that the baby issue (will I? won't I?) has be answered: she will. It's said that it costs approximately $190,000.00 to raise a child from birth to age 18 and Howie is going to find out if that's true or not. Literally. She begins Callie's Tally, a listing of every expense that can be attributed to her child...and bills her for it. Yup, Callie's not even born yet and she's already in debt. And it only gets worse from there. Howie provides detailed explanations for the charges and each is assigned a category (i.e. 1 Pampers Original - Sanitation). She debates some of the charges and provides reasoning for why she did or not bill Callie for the expense. It turns out that there are tons of billable items and Howie gets creative--weight watchers fees. The invoice from the lawyer for creating a will. The ultra-adorable clothes Howie buys for friends' children as gifts from Callie(all the while knowing that the outfit will make its way back to Callie eventually). But the book isn't just about Callie's tab; it's about the first year in the life of a new mother. It's about her exhaustion and fear. Joy and exhaustion. Guilt...and exhaustion. She talks candidly about her feelings, always with humor and wit.

I loved this book. It's funny and endearing and honest. One of my favorite lines: "I would not make a good single mom. I require unionized breaks." I fully intend to bill my future child in the same manner (and btw--that ultra adorable diaper bag that I lusted after ever since I saw it despite the fact that I am neither currently pregnant, nor planning to get knocked up any time soon and then found for 75% off? first debt). Even now I am seeing my bank statement and receipts in a new light: Food Lion--$7.09--Dr. Pepper: Sanity. The Gap--$47.98--Jeans: fat clothes for the all the weight I've gained recently. Best Buy--$31.47--Wii game: entertainment to keep mind off broken heart. Of course now that I look over these recent expenditures, I realize that I should actually be billing my ex-boyfriend since all can be attributed to him. Excuse me while I prepare his invoice...
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02/24/2009 page 203

Comments (showing 1-2 of 2) (2 new)

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message 1: by Jen (new) - added it

Jen Thanks, this was awesome. I have a couple of things tucked away just in case...for example, my mate's studying at Oxford right now and I HAD to have a cute college onesie. And then I bought myself a t-shirt that says "readers are awesome people" or something like that, and guess what? They had it in baby sizes too! So you keep that diaper bag :)

george Yeah, I'm a little embarrassed about it, but overall don't care. I'm also not embarrassed to admit I'm relieved that I am not the only one! Glad you liked the review--the book really is great.

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