Saturday, December 14, 2013

little earthquakes

little earthquakes
jennifer weiner
contemporary fiction/chick lit
washington square press
published 2005

Becky is a plump, sexy chef who has a wonderful husband and a baby girl, a restaurant that's received citywide acclaim - and the mother-in-law from hell.  Kelly is an event planner who's struggling to balance work and motherhood while dealing with an unemployed husband who seems content to channel-surf for eight hours a day.  Ayinde's basketball superstar husband breaks her trust at her most vulnerable moment, putting their new family even more in the public eye.  Then there's Lia, a Philadelphia native who has left her Hollywood career behind, along with her husband, and a tragic secret to start her life all over again.

When I was younger I experienced times with my fellow females that instilled in me this idea that girls are evil.  In fact, as I grew up into adolescence and adulthood I would always say 'Men do awful things to you because they're stupid.  Women do awful things to you because they're evil.'  And a lot of times, that's true.  Men are just clueless sometimes and women can be more calculating.  Over-analyzing.

When we moved to our town I was surrounded by the mommies who always remembered to bring snacks to the park and wore makeup, dressed like models and hell, they looked like models too.  Volunteered for the PTA (though we call it something else here) and all their kids pulled $170 wheeled luggage to school.  And here I was, generally forgetting to bring the diaper bag much less snack while wearing my standard baggy-except-for-the-waistline jeans and the holey, faded grey sweatshirt I stole from Erin who stole it from Kathy who stole it from Diane back when we were 22.  And make up.  Ha.  It was a miracle if my hair was brushed.

So I would see these women and remember the mean spirited girls who made life not so fun and imagine they were the same.  Luckily for me some of them are much more friendly and look beyond the 'I Probably Hate You' t-shirt and start a conversation.  Also, Emma will talk to anyone and her myriad of friends forced me to talk to mothers to arrange play dates and what not.

What I discovered was these perfect, gorgeous, together moms were some of the most genuine, caring and amazing women I would have the privilege of knowing.  They have become my closest friends, my emergency contacts and at times, my life lines.  They brought food when I was out of surgery, picked up my kid from school, cried when I found out all my cancer was gone and remind me that I'm a good mom.

I read a couple of reviews while in the midst of reading Little Earthquakes and was surprised by how many people were dubious of how a group of women could become so close in such a short time.  They said it lent to a suspension of reality for surely women do not make friends like this.  But I got it.  Nothing bonds you like motherhood.  Nothing humbles you, scares you, elates you like being a parent and unfortunately as annoying as it my sound no one else understands this except other parents.  And as you get older, friendships are different.  You don't bond over Trapper Keepers or Irish Car bombs and Washington Apples anymore.

So yeah, I got it.

Becky, Kelly, Ayinde & Lia met at the perfect moment when the opportunity for friendship was just right.  While women may be evil sometimes we are only that because we are emotional beings.  So seeing another woman in pain we want to help.  Especially, when at any time, we know we can and probably will become that woman.

Weiner's characters were not perfect.  They made mistakes.  They broke hearts, including their own sometimes.  They were there for each other when they could be even when it wasn't a good time.  They tried not to judge, but of course, that's impossible.  But when they did, they tried to catch themselves.  They helped heal each other, hold each other up and help each other move on.  Lucky.  If you could have one friend, just one, like these women find you are lucky.

I am the luckiest of all.

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