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Amateur Hour: Motherhood in Essays and Swear Words
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Amateur Hour: Motherhood in Essays and Swear Words

3.79  ·  Rating details ·  323 Ratings  ·  71 Reviews
An emotionally honest, arresting, and funny collection of essays about motherhood and adulthood...

“Being a mother is a gift.”

Where’s my receipt?

Welcome to essayist Kimberly Harrington’s poetic and funny world of motherhood, womanhood, and humanhood, not necessarily in that order. It’s a place of loud parenting, fierce loving, too much social media, and occasional inner mon
Paperback, 320 pages
Published May 1st 2018 by Harper Perennial
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Apr 09, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  (Review from the author)
I wrote this book.
I am def gonna give it 5 stars.
What am I, an idiot?
Not looking for an actual answer.
Nenia ✨ Queen of Literary Trash, Protector of Out-of-Print Gems, Khaleesi of Bodice Rippers, Mother of Smut, the Unrepentant, Breaker of Convention ✨ Campbell

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Full disclosure, I received an advanced reader's copy of this from the Goodreads Giveaways - my first win in years! - so I'm really excited about that. Hard copy ARCs are so fun.

This ended up becoming a #StealthRead because I have the flu, and my eyes were hurting so much I couldn't look at a computer screen, so I took a nap and then I read physical copies in bed instead of ebooks (which is how you know I'm feeling truly wretched, because I
Kate Rope
Apr 04, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I love this book. I mean, I love, love, love it. I am a 45-year-old mother to two who writes books for a living while also writing other things that actually pay money and being a full-time mom. WHICH IS TO SAY I DO NOT READ BOOKS ANYMORE. At least not all the way through. Usually not more than a quarter of the way through. I'm lucky if I read one essay in a New Yorker. I can barely make it through NY mag's Approval Matrix anymore. I want to start a catalog club, because those I finish. My god, ...more
Sarahbeth Jones
Jun 26, 2018 rated it did not like it
Not a usual book I gravitate toward, and I’m not sure why I felt compelled to pick up this one, but it was just not my cup of tea. Harrington comes off as crass, self-absorbed, narcissistic, and the roll your eyes kind of feminist that complains a lot but does very little. Hard pass.
Amy Lafayette
May 21, 2018 rated it really liked it
This book was a hilarious dose of birth control.
Aug 10, 2018 rated it really liked it
I'm not a mother myself, but you don't have to be to enjoy this book. Kimberly's commentary on womanhood, motherhood, and adulthood (an especially the marriage of all three) will ring true to any woman who picks up this book. It's relatable, funny, and at times will push your emotional buttons, bringing up feelings of nostalgia for your own childhood (if you don't have kids) or your kids' childhood (if you do). Kimberly says the things we've all thought or felt but haven't said, either because w ...more
Kayle Barnes
Aug 25, 2018 rated it really liked it
Would highly recommend it to future mothers, people who know or knew mothers, or anyone interested in an in-depth perspective about the potential realities of motherhood from an outspoken, flawed woman.
Susanne Mills
Jul 29, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Absolutely hilarious, fantastic bunch of poems. I am not a poetry reader at all but this appealed to me. I have not laughed so much at a book for ages, it’s a completely honest and funny book. It details life from baby to teenagers, from family trips to marriage and death. Brilliant reading :)
Aug 12, 2018 rated it really liked it
Listen when I say there are portions of this book that I absolutely loved - I mean it. On the flip side, there are also segments/sections of this book that are forgettable. I'm still giving this book high marks because the good parts are THAT good! My favorite section of the book was the section titled "Vows" - What an emotional roller coaster! Having said that, you should be in the right mind set to read this book in order to enjoy it. The author is crass, honest and erratic in the the most won ...more
Nov 07, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Kimberly Harrington is freaking hilarious. I laughed so hard at times, I almost forgot how massively sleep deprived I am from raising a newborn. Yay, motherhood.
May 12, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favourites
Outstanding!! This book made me laugh, cry, and laugh until I cried and almost hyperventilated. When I picked it up, I expected it to be funny; I didn’t expect it to be so touching. Hands down the best perspective on motherhood that I’ve read.
Jul 20, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This cracks open motherhood and spills its guts onto 300 or so extremely readable pages. Endlessly quotable.
Jul 09, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I laughed, cried, and most importantly I feel so much less alone when trying to pretend I have things in common with other parents, feel invisible as a woman over 40, or try to balance conflicting feelings of fierce love for my kids with disillusionment about motherhood.
Jul 24, 2018 rated it liked it
wildly uneven personal essay collection. Some funny/observant [e.g., extended take on getting interrupted while working at home as a freelancer with small kids], some devastating [her miscarriage], some touching [a really kind appreciation of her husband, who otherwise I imagine might have some trouble reading parts of this book about their fragile relationship, and some other Dads in their circle who take the kids camping each summer]......

......mixed in with a good deal of bitterness and almos
Mar 18, 2018 rated it really liked it
Amateur Hour was an unexpected treat--gripping from the first chapter, heartfelt, gritty, full of surprises. It is a book about motherhood, but also marriage, generations of family, and the ups and downs of life itself. I could have done without a few of the chapters, but I plan to pass my copy along because I know it will bring others the same laughter and tears it brought to me.
Aug 18, 2018 rated it really liked it
I hadn't heard of this book before spotting it in the "new arrivals" section of our local library. My 3-year-old daughter helped me choose it from a few books that piqued my interest. I'm so glad she chose this one.

Within the first 60 pages, I had already both cried and laughed out loud. My favorite essay was "Let's Have the Wedding Later," which I immediately shared with my husband of a decade and texted to two close friends - one married longer than us and another engaged to be married next su
May 08, 2018 rated it really liked it
I really enjoyed reading this book, and actually finished reading it in a week, unliked the stack of 6 other books I've had in progress since my baby was born 6 months ago.

As a very new mom myself, I appreciated her perspective about how quickly kids grow up and it reminded me to cherish these moments because they won't be accessible to me forever. Kids stop wanting to hold mom's hand at age 12? Sad to think about already. Her insights as both a working and stay at home parent were an interestin
Emma Sedlak
Jun 20, 2018 rated it really liked it
I loved the first third of this book, but somewhere towards the middle, Harrington’s humour started to grate on me. To be fair, I’m in the midst of reading many collections of non-fiction narrative on parenting, and I’m less than four-months into the infant hazing zone, myself. When I was frustrated with the tone of Harrington’s narration, it’s because I felt like she portrayed parenthood with an irreverent perspective, which is exactly the opposite of the frame I’ve adopted in order to get me t ...more
Oct 26, 2018 rated it liked it
Kimberly Harrington worked in design, a world where appearance and packaging helps sell products, few of which you actually need, most of which are designed to play on desires and guilt and self-image which have been themselves carefully promoted and sold to you. To step away from the 'accepted' norms of neat lawns, new minivans, the PTA and the bake sales and the coffee mugs that have never ever held wine in them is subversive to some, liberating to others.

Lest you not notice the pink hand gr
Jun 08, 2018 rated it liked it
Motherhood thoughts in black and white. I liked that the author creatively finds humor everytime she talks about the challenges of a mother. I can totally relate to circumstances which supposedly lead you to cry but you need to choose not to, because of your baby. Instead, you just decide to shrug and laugh it off.

I didn't have much attachment with the book until about 75%. Until I eventually loved the part towards the end when the author spoke about her children being all her joy and the brok
Jul 05, 2018 rated it really liked it
I really enjoyed this book. The author manages to capture the essence of parenting/being a mom with humor but also true feeling. She speaks to working moms, stay at home moms and those who do both! While I did not identify or agree with all that she said, I think that any mom will find parts of the book that speak to her. With my own children just out of the nest it brought back memories of the good and bad days of being a mom. It also pulled at my heartstrings as we watch her children growing u ...more
I'm so glad the author changed the title of this book. How triggering.

I'm a pretty new mom, so I think I might have enjoyed this book more if I were further along and a little more cynical about my kids. I found it pretty entertaining, and the author has a good writing style. However, it kind of made me sad. Because #toosoon

Also, I didn't relate to some of her experiences, like around miscarriage and something else (I read this a while ago but slacked on the review so forgetting the details) - s
Alane Kataria-Rennie
I'm not at all surprised that several of Harrington's essays went viral online. She's very funny and has a great way of summarizing aspects of motherhood that we've all felt, but sometimes couldn't or felt we shouldn't put into words.

Other essays went over my head. The style was loose and I wasn't quite sure whether it was all sarcasm, tongue in cheek or actually dead serious.

I started to like the book less when Harrington wrote about her marriage and her dissatisfaction with it because of soci
Apr 10, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I had the pleasure of reading an early copy of this hilarious and moving book. I still think about it every day.

For those who don't know, parenting is hard! Really hard! It's filled with heartache, astonishment, and absurdity. Harrington's writing captures seemingly every emotion a human who's trying to keep other small humans alive can experience. I laughed, I cried, I fell to my knees and thanked the lord that I no longer have to change any diapers.

I'm grateful for Harrington's insights, wis
May 12, 2018 rated it really liked it
Some of these essays were laugh out loud funny and some were slightly grating and annoying, but there was more funny than not and I did literally laugh out loud a few times so that's good.

It was in the touching and heartfelt essays where she lost me. And it made me wonder--is there any way to even write about motherhood that isn't cliched or banal or boring? I mean, it's obviously a super meaningful experience for all of us who experience it, but can it be described?

Also, I hate reading about
Jul 15, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Sometimes you read a book and you totally are in the same exact place in life as the author, and you keep saying, "YES! I get that!"
I really enjoyed this super honest memoir about being a woman and a mother and a wife and how hard and amazing it can be.
This book literally brought me to tears at least a dozen times. When she spoke of her grandparents and how you don't appreciate them until it is too late, I lost it. Mine were just always there, waiting for you and you just assumed they would be,
Talia C Grenier
Jun 20, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Kimberly Harrington has a hilarious take on motherhood (she has an essay called "Job Description for The Dumbest Job Ever" which is a spot-on description and one called "Just What I Wanted, a Whole Twenty-Four Hours of Recognition Once a Year." 'Nuff said.) She goes beyond that to tackle how tough marriage can be especially after having kids and the pressures related to being female. She tackles even tough subjects with a lighthearted edge ("Please Don't Get Murdered at School Today"). I loved h ...more
Jul 21, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I really enjoyed this book. While reading it, I realized her writing style was familiar and I have read many of her essays in social media. This book was hilarious but it also tore at my heart. These fleeting moments as the years pass in minutes — kids growing older, the firsts turning into lasts, I’m growing older, family and friends are getting sick, I have unknown challenges to face myself — as much as it all weighs, it felt so good to hear someone else speak my thoughts. This book helped me ...more
Jul 24, 2018 rated it liked it
Another book of essays by a rich-ish white woman about her life and perspective. The funny essays I appreciated, for the most part. The essays that weren't trying to be funny, much less so. There's a lot here that's forgettable, but it's also mostly pleasant diversion. I enjoyed it more than what I would have watched on TV instead, and remember it just as well as I would remember anything from binge watching a season of Modern Family.
May 10, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This book made me laugh out loud and cry (also out loud). Harrington's honest—and, very often, hilarious—observations about parenting, life, and human connection resonated deeply. I loved the set-up of the book and the brilliantly insightful depictions of the struggles/gifts of being a human. I came away feeling inspired, grateful, and a little less alone in my anxieties, aspirations and interactions as a mom/woman/person/creative.
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Kimberly Harrington is a regular contributor to McSweeney’s Internet Tendency, the co-founder and editor of parenting humor site RAZED, and a copywriter and creative director. Her work has appeared in The New Yorker, The New York Times, and The Cut. Her first book AMATEUR HOUR: MOTHERHOOD IN ESSAYS AND SWEAR WORDS is now out from Harper Perennial. She lives in Vermont on purpose.
“We swaddled and attachment parented the shit out of those kids and yet. Apparently we should’ve been doing some attachment marriage-ing as well.” 0 likes
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