Famous Baby

Jul
18

Every once in a while, I’m offered a newly published book to review–often I turn this opportunity down because I’m terrible about getting around to it, but this book was impossible to resist. Famous Baby is a novel by Karen Rizzo. It’s a funny mother-daughter-grandmother story about the first famous mommy blogger and her 18-year-old daughter, who hated having every moment of her childhood shared with the world, and who “kidnaps” her ailing grandmother to save her from the same fate.


While I’m not a mommy blogger, and Glory Bee might have more to complain about than my children, it still hits close to home as I do at times write about my kids. They were all in elementary school by the time I started keeping a blog, so there were no naked baby butt pictures or potty training stories, and while I mostly write about old-fashioned cooking and crafts and cute farm animals, they were old enough to know what it meant if the camera was out. I’ve always tried to hold a line on my children’s personal lives and honor their feelings. If they’ve ever told me there was something they wish I hadn’t posted, I’ve taken it down. There’s a fuzzy part of the line where our children’s stories are also our stories, and that’s where I let my kids lead in voicing their own line, and as they’ve gotten older, their lives are more and more their lives and less mine. But, that said, there have been parts of their lives that have been more public than the average child, and they get recognized in public on occasion. And so it was with some trepidation that I read this book and then also offered it to Morgan to read and review.

The book is a fictional account, of course, and as such, a little over the top–at least to me–in terms of the mother-blogger’s behavior. To me, the way she wrote about her child was exploitative, but, of course, that provides a more black and white picture for the author to use to examine what is truly a new aspect of society today, which is the blog and its effect on a family. It was difficult for me to separate myself from comparing myself to the mother in the book, but that aside, it’s a funny read. But what would Morgan think?

Morgan has appeared on my website more than my sons, partly because she’s younger and has been around more, but also because she’s an outgoing little thing and has liked the stage since she was three and performed in her first dance recital. She has always been an active participant in my blog, and a willing model, and she’s pretty funny.
IMG_2632
Morgan: “Am I a goat? What am I?”

As often happens, this was a photo Morgan asked me to take to post–she’d been over at the studio stealing an armful of candy I keep around for workshop attendees along with a box of animal crackers that are meant for the goats. Sometimes she has me rolling on the floor laughing.

Here is her take on the book:

Review by Morgan McMinn:

Famous Baby by Karen Rizzo is a book that really hits the spot. I almost didn’t want to read it because I am a Famous Baby in a way and knew that topics would come up that would hit too close to the heart. That’s the beauty of the book though, that it hits you. You identify with Abbie because our mothers have all done something to unintentionally hurt us and you spend years in secret resentment not knowing how to deal with it. Ruth is a personal reflection on ourselves because we, as singular human beings, don’t think about how our actions affect someone else. When she is forced to face what she has done to Abbie, we are forced to face what we have done to people we love. And then there’s Esther, Abbie’s grandmother and Ruth’s mother. As children, we idolize and almost worship our grandparents. Famous Baby shows us the lives of our grandparents that we never knew, a different way to look at them. And you realize, that they’re humans too.

Through three generations Karen Rizzo shows us how one affects the other, how different we seem from our mothers and grandmothers is only an illusion brought on by a lack of communication and understanding of a past we weren’t a part of.

Famous Baby is a beautiful reflection and is a recommended read for all daughters out there.

Whew. She wasn’t hard on me at all, was she?

Here’s the video book trailer:



You can find out more about the book at the publisher’s website here.

I’m also giving away one copy of the book on my blog. If you’re interested, let me know by leaving a comment (here on the blog)–tell me what you think about the way I write about my kids, or in general about the mommy blogging phenomenon, or even just how you think Glory Bee feels about it all! This giveaway is open until noon EST on Sunday, July 20, 2014, and I will update this book with the winner’s name. Winner will be chosen by random comment number via random.org. Good luck!

THIS GIVEAWAY IS CLOSED. The winner, drawn by random comment number, is #30, wormlady. Please email me at [email protected] with your full name and address!

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Posted by Suzanne McMinn on July 18, 2014  

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Comments

33 Responses | RSS feed for comments on this post

  1. 7-18
    7:49
    am

    I know posting about family can be dancing the fine line between too much and just right. If you were doing too much, I would not be reading your blog. I can go to any trash magazine that boast the last happenings with the “stars” to do that. What I read in your blog is love, laughter and true living. :yes:

  2. 7-18
    7:58
    am

    I think you always did a great job in how you blogged about your kids. Not too much information but shared the highlights of what was going on in their lives. I can see how a mom blogging about their kids all the time could upset a kid. Heck teen age kids get upset over just about anything these days. They put their personal lives out there on the internet for all the world to see but the moment a parent does it all heck breaks loose. lol.

    Morgan is funny. She reminds me of my daughter in many ways.

    Diane

  3. 7-18
    8:17
    am

    I think the fact that you’ve always let your children decide if a blog about them was over the top was a great way to balance what you do. You’ve always been pretty careful, I think, and certainly not exploitative.

    I love Morgan’s review. She is such a smart cookie!!!

  4. 7-18
    8:43
    am

    Your blog, Suzanne, is the only blog I read that has included family life. I have related to the many stories and your feelings as a mom. I think you’ve done an admirable job of sharing your life without oversharing or being exploitive.
    I loved Morgans review, it was so professional!

  5. 7-18
    9:11
    am

    I love that you included Morgan’s take on the book. She writes very well and I know you are proud of her. I would be if she were mine. I would love to read the book too.

  6. 7-18
    9:49
    am

    I’ve followed you “for years”, enjoying your posts about how difficult and wonderful your choices have been. I’d admired your choices, your life and your children. I follow about 25 blogs written by farm, frugal and healthy families and can see the differences in how their children are “covered” – from pictures to personal tidbits. You seem to have stuck to the farm path, only slightly stepping over into the lives of the “littles”, and only then when they crossed into the farm path. You could not have told the story of your decision to move to a farm, renovate, stock, make major changes in your life, without mentioning and explaining your children. As a single mother, my daughter was always foremost in my mind and life – she figured into all aspects of my life, the jobs I took, the groceries I bought, the apartments I moved to – but she did not dominate, just as your children were always there, but they did not dominate your blog. I admire what you’ve done, how you’ve done it and where your children are due to your decisions. You did good!

  7. 7-18
    9:50
    am

    You have always carefully & tastefully given us glimpses of your children and their lives. As a proud mother, I’m sure it’s hard not to give out more info at times, but I think you do a great job of drawing the line where it needs to be drawn. :moo: Glory Bee might have a different opinion, on the other hand.

  8. 7-18
    9:55
    am

    Would really love to read this book also…. Sounds interesting and everyone should be able to relate

  9. 7-18
    10:04
    am

    Always find your blog interesting and honestly would love to have this book cause when I’m not on Facebook, etc.,….I’m reading. I no longer do all the cooking and canning that I once did but enjoy reading about what everyone else is doing.

  10. 7-18
    10:04
    am

    I see where Morgan gets her writing skills. Very nice review, Morgan, and it actually makes me want to read the book too. Suzanne, I think you have done a very good job in keeping a balance between your kids’ personal lives and what you post about them. I’ve seen some blogs where the kid stories literally make me cringe and makes me feel so sorry for the kids. The fact that you listen to your kids and respect their wishes when they ask you to take down a blog post, speaks volumes for your parenting.

  11. 7-18
    10:08
    am

    I’ve always enjoyed what you’ve shared about your kids, but have never felt this blog was about your kids, or that you shared too much. It is clearly about MOM, and her adventures – and you don’t share too much about those sometime, either! (What happened to MMIO???) I share even less about my son on my blog, in part because of my husband’s greater caution.

  12. 7-18
    10:16
    am

    boulderneigh, that’s another area where I’m keeping privacy.

  13. 7-18
    10:35
    am

    Overheard was this comment by Glory Bee: “MOO!”

  14. 7-18
    11:10
    am

    I think that looking back over the years, they will like having a record of their lives. Never having been written about can’t say for sure.

  15. 7-18
    11:37
    am

    Sounds like an interesting read. Would love a copy.

  16. 7-18
    2:33
    pm

    I’d love to win a copy!

    Beth

  17. 7-18
    3:08
    pm

    I think you have done a great job keeping your blog interesting with little glimpses of your kids lives. Not too much…not too little. Would love to win the book.

  18. 7-18
    3:30
    pm

    What I like “best” about your blog is that you love your children and if something is written that disturbs them you remove it. There are so many bloggers out there that only think of themselves. Thank you for sharing your life with us. You have inspired and taught us so much!

  19. 7-18
    4:27
    pm

    I can remember when you didn’t even use the kid’s names – only their ages! You’ve done a wonderful job, and I always love reading all of your posts. I would love to win a copy of the book.

  20. 7-18
    4:50
    pm

    I don’t think you’ve posted too much about your kids, or yourself for that matter. You’re probably just as private as I would be if I had a blog. Writing your book was probably very difficult for you.

  21. 7-18
    5:00
    pm

    I would love to win a copy of this book! I Have two grown sons, who have always shied away from their moms need to share…..think if I had a daughter, she might have let me share a bit more…..loved Morgan’s review, she has her mommas gift for words!

  22. 7-18
    5:43
    pm

    I think Glory Bee enjoys all the attention! I’m surprised she hasn’t posted her own selfies :moo:

  23. 7-18
    8:41
    pm

    I feel compelled to weigh in, because I’m a single mom/blogger albeit with only a “friends list” as opposed to the following I am a part of here at Chickens On The Road. I would LOVE to read this book, and if I don’t win a copy I’ll probably buy one.

    I think blogging is a wonderful way to build a community for yourself. It can be a wonderful means of support when you’re dealing with emotional issues; it’s great to know that others are out there who have shared your experience; and it can open your eyes to the world if you let it! It’s a hard decision to include or not include your family in your blog. I’ve seen it work both ways, but my child is such a large part of my life that I never felt anything else would be appropriate – I had to talk about her. I have not yet regretted it.

  24. 7-18
    10:24
    pm

    In my opinion, the way you have blogged about your kids has been just right. Just enough to let us read a little about who they are without infringing on their privacy too much. Although, I was heartbroken to finally read why Mariah stopped showing up :(
    Now Glory Bee, that’s another story! I’m so happy she doesn’t have wifi in the barn! I mean really! You have shown her girly parts for the world to see! lol :moo:

  25. 7-18
    10:27
    pm

    I like hearing about your children but don’t think we know ALL that much about them! Glory Bee, however, we know a LOT about, but I’m not sure she minds.

  26. 7-19
    12:33
    am

    I would enjoy reading this book. I love Megan’s review. Very insightful. I think Glory Bee is proud and Happy to share her thoughts with all of us.
    MN Mobs

  27. 7-19
    9:43
    am

    Please put me in the running for the book copy. I usually don’t comment on blogs but I must say that yours is the first one I check in the morning. Love the way you write!

  28. 7-19
    10:34
    am

    I’d like to read this book- I have a blog and I ask permission to use pictures and tell stories about my grown sons and their family and friends. I don’t usually get that permission from my youngest- but my older son is pretty good about allowing me to use him. He writes too much about his sons on facebook and I am constantly cautioning him about the exposure of his kids- especially since he is a minister and it is hard enough being a PK without dad putting up all your cute and sassy sayings on fb.

  29. 7-19
    1:51
    pm

    I think you have done an excellent job giving us a small peek into your children’s lives…just enough so we knew who you were talking about, but not so much that it was a complete invasion of their privacy.

  30. 7-20
    5:58
    am

    I didn’t start blogging until my kids were adults but they appear on my friends and family only blog. One reads it and the other doesn’t. I think a comment I made actually changed a behavior that bugged the other three of us for years. A good thing which talking hadn’t fixed. Or maybe it was just a matter of time/ maturation.

    I never felt this blog overdid the kid information.

  31. 7-20
    10:40
    am

    I started a blog, because my young adult daughter told me I was doing Facebook wrong, and should be blogging instead. The world revolves around me, of course, so I don’t share a lot about other people in it, and try to never say anything overly critical about others. My daughter has never complained about what I’ve shared about her, so presumably I’ve exercised good judgement. She also has a blog, and I get mentioned, but what she’s said about me has also always been fine.

    If I win the book, I’ll read it. Thanks for the opportunity to try to win.

    And I think you do a nice job of telling us some, but not too much about your kids. But of course, I live in a small town, and just assume everyone knows everything about everyone else.

  32. 7-20
    11:23
    am

    I think your philosophy is pretty sound. I have enjoyed reading about your kids over the years. I would love a copy of this book.

  33. 7-20
    4:59
    pm

    THIS GIVEAWAY IS CLOSED. The winner, drawn by random comment number, is #30, wormlady. Please email me at [email protected] with your full name and address!

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