So, every once in a while, I read other genres than historical fiction … really, stop laughing, I do, too! I’ll read mysteries (the cosy kind rather than the hard-boiled), fantasy, science fiction, short stories … and now and again just a plain old modern-or-modernish novel. Nice to stretch the boundaries of ones’ mental world, so to speak, just to keep from getting stale – and Lori Verni-Fogarsi’s novel Momnesia is one of those stretches, although my own experience of total mom-ness couldn’t have been more different.
See, for much of the heavy-lifting ‘Mom’ period of my life, I was active-duty military and living overseas; a situation which left very little time to forget who I had been pre-mom. And being a single parent also meant a considerable diminution in the amount of resentment in my life. So – a whole nother aspect of motherhood is revealed here; at turns comic and then some. (By the way, I rather liked the conceit of her dueling interior voices, although some readers do not. Dialog is funny, monologue not so much.) Lori Verni-Fogarsi’s novel is told in the first person, which naturally diminishes the viewpoint to that of the heroine; a hard-working and driven perfectionist, with a thriving business, children that she feels obliged to be super-Mom for, and a desperately unsatisfactory marriage with a passive-aggressive potted plant of a husband. Fortunately, she is also an amusing and observant character, although perhaps a little un-self-aware. But that is for the purposes of the plot, which is not so much recovering herself as she used to be, but coming to understand and deal with her own crushing resentment and suppressed anger. She has had to hold up both ends of a marriage herself; work at her own business, keep the perfect household, supervise her two daughters and oversee their play-dates, walk the dog, prepare the meals (PEANUT butter sandwiches are definitely not up to standard for her family) and keep some kind of social life going. It is no wonder that she is beginning to crack under the strain of it all; not least because her family has become accustomed to having her do it all. So – the ending is a little pat, and I think perhaps the eventual divorce went a little bit more smoothly and less upsetting for all concerned than these things usually do, but in the case of Momnesia, it’s not the end of the journey so much, as it is the getting there. Funy, rueful and above all – amusing. Check it out, if you can.