Tag Archives: best books by bloggers

Author of People I Want to Punch in the Throat makes naughty list for the holidays

If the thought of the fast-arriving, anxiety-inducing holidays is making you want to throw a Xanax into your pumpkin-spice latte, author and blogger Jen Mann has your back.

spending the holidays with people i want to punch in the throat cover on carpoolcandy.com

Ballantine Books/ Random House

In her new book,  “Spending the Holidays With People I Want to Punch in the Throat: Yuletide Yahoos, Ho-Ho-Humblebraggers, and Other Seasonal Scourges,” Mann tells a stocking full of funny stories about how easily the holidays can be spoiled, regardless of good intentions and how many trees you decorate or cookies you bake.

decorating Christmas sugar cookies on carpoolcandy.com

Our holiday traditions include baking and decorating dozens of cookies, but they’re hardly perfect.

While many of the essays focus on Christmas– from Mann’s childhood through the present– she pokes fun at other holidays and our need to keep up with traditions and with the Joneses.

Her mother starts decorating for Christmas as soon as the lights go out on Halloween and has no less than 12 themed trees, 102 nativity scenes, and 150 Santa figures taking over her house.

That’s quite a precedent.

It seems everyone in Mann’s world is just one bad gift, one lost tradition, or one burned cookie away from ruining Christmas. She builds suspense in each harrowing tale of missteps, while commenting on the anxiety the holidays create, especially for moms trying to hold everything together and create the magic of the season.

Two essays — one on an overheard conversation between Overachieving Moms preparing for the holidays and another on humblebrag Christmas letters — give Mann a chance to air her grievances about all the irritating people who tout perfection.

Mann keeps it real in her own witty, self-deprecating letter, which heralds broken bones, her young son’s propensity for nudity and outrageous prices at Disney World.

By poking fun at the insanity of Martha Stewart-worshipping moms, and the cultural pressure to acquire expensive stuff, Mann provides relief — and a voice — for those who feel they can never compete.

You can read my full review in all its glory here.

Author Jen Mann of spending the holidays with people i want to punch in the throat on carpoolcandy.com

Author Jen Mann cracks me up

Mann is a great writer who perpetually portrays herself as the underdog, but is really a heroine and her blog a refuge for moms just trying to keep it together. The best part is that the book is less than 200 pages and a quick read that will make you giggle. You may even recognize some people you know.

Are you stressed yet about the holidays? Tell me in the comments.

The lovable hater behind ‘People I Want to Punch in the Throat’

I’m gonna be honest here kids. I check my blog stats obsessively and I know when you like a post… and when one’s as popular as a Baby Ruth floating in the pool.

My book review posts are not getting as much love as I’d like.

But stick with me on this one!

I need to draw your attention to a hilarious memoir I reviewed this week called People I Want to Punch in the Throat. It’s written by a fellow blogger who loves to point a figurative finger at overachieving, annoying people– particularly maddeningly doting know-it-all parents– and call them out on their crap.

People I Want to Punch in the Throat cover on carpoolcandy.com

Not only will you LOL, you may stand up and cheer when she eviscerates the mom who tries oh so subtly to completely exclude her from a toddler playgroup…or those who are certain their child is a prodigy and/or headed for the Olympics.

Here’s a taste….

Mann needs only a few sharp details to accurately sum up distinct personalities. There are the judgmental, designer-sunglasses-wearing “Dolce moms,” the self-interested garage-sale-trolling jerks who hope you won’t break a big bill she affectionately calls “$50 people” and the freaky, pill-popping moms known as “Superusers.”

She loves to pick on extreme parents, who spoil and overschedule their kids. Stories about catty, cliquey moms — similar to the evil sisterhoods in movies like “Heathers” and “Mean Girls” — zero in on complicated female relationships.

Mann deftly uses humor to underscore how intense and humbling mothering can be, which will strike a chord with parents who feel less than perfect.

“Now the Mommy Wars are all about who can out-mom their neighbor. The judging is not about who spends the most time with her kid … or who has the most important job; it’s been ratcheted up to who can breast-feed the longest and in the most unusual places,” Mann writes.

You can read the complete review here.

I’ll keep it short and sweet. Read this book. It will take you about 2 days of side-splitting giggles to get through it and I guarantee you’ll thank me.

See… that wasn’t so bad, right?

I’d love to hear what makes you click or not click on a post in the comments.  I’m listening!