Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

Love, Mom: Poignant, Goofy, Brilliant Messages from Home

Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

Love, Mom: Poignant, Goofy, Brilliant Messages from Home

Article excerpt

More than ever, publishing today is a risky business. Bringing a book into the world is a gamble, and the best way to gamble, of course, is to reduce the number of unknowns in the game.

It's a calculus that works in the favor of Doree Shafrir and Jessica Grose, co-authors of Love, Mom: Poignant, Goofy, Brilliant Messages from Home.

They're young writers from New York's blogosphere, and their first book may be the best of a new publishing trend: turning successful blogs into books. Shafrir and Grose get arguably closer than any other bloggers to making the genre-jump work.

They started roughly a year ago, after Grose sent Shafrir an e-mail from her mother. Shafrir suggested they collect them, and a blog "phenomenon," as they call it, was born. The site averages 500,000 page views a month and attracts international attention.

The book based on their blog, which came out last month, is an attractive physical package: Larger than the tiny novelty products sold next to cash registers to last-minute binge buyers, "Love, Mom" is a real book, durable but cute. And its price - $17.99 for a hardback! - is persuasively quaint.

Ultimately, though, "Love, Mom" functions as a novelty book. While the authors add some breezy introductory material to their chapters, along with distracting trivia about and advice for moms, the meat of the book is e-mails and instant message chats between mothers and their grown kids, both of whom remain anonymous.

The messages are arranged topically into chapters that sketch a familiar and somewhat cliched portrait of mothers: technologically backward, simultaneously fashion-conscious and clueless, mediators of family rivalries and makers of unmatchable bean dips, the composite Mom of Shafrir and Grose's book is one who doles out not- so-subtle hints about weddings and grandchildren and mostly off-the- mark advice about relationships and hairstyles, even as she asks for help from her kids on using Facebook, following the latest "blobs," or buying things on eBay.

The authors do a charming job of sketching "essential mom-ness," as they call it. But more fun are the mom-memes that emerge quietly from the material they've collected. …

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