Lucy Sweeney is meant to be charmingly harried, disarmingly normal, deliberately unglamorous: a woman, we are supposed to think, just like us.
And yet there is in this celebration of the ordinary, messy, overweight mom a kind of smugness, a vanity about the most banal aspects of motherhood, that is slightly off-putting. All the “flaws” that make Lucy so endearing â€” She finds laundry overwhelming! She comes to school drop-off in her pajamas! â€” are meant to read as virtues. The ostensible self-deprecation of the novel is in fact a form of self-congratulation.
Lucy’s life is not that hard, Roiphe writes, “and it is certainly not that interesting.”
Perhaps the raison d’etre of mommy lit is to boost the egos of laundry-capable mothers.