It Sucked and Then I Cried
by Heather B. Armstrong
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
It Sucked and Then I Cried / 978-1-416-95914-4
I haven't really followed Heather Armstrong's blog, although I've read just enough of her to know I find her truly hilarious, so I picked up this book in an off moment figuring I'd read it "later". Somewhat ironically, I mindlessly turned to this book when I was in a depressed funk over my complicated journey trying to conceive, and I'm amazed to say that this book was the ONE thing that would lift my spirits back to a happy place.
For me, at least, this book is *hilarious*. I didn't just laugh - I snorted, wheezed, and chortled my way through the first half of this book. I howled so hard that tears streamed down my face and my throat hurt from laughing so hard. Hearing Heather detail all the ups and downs of her pregnancy didn't - of course - lessen my own intense desire to conceive, but rather made me laugh at all the "fun" I have to look forward to. There's something very wonderful about Armstrong's writing - she reminds me somewhat of a modernized Erma Bombeck, with her ability to combine sarcasm and gallows humor with a strong streak of self-parody, and yet - underneath it all - you can still see how fiercely and passionately she loves her family. "It Sucked and Then I Cried" covers all the hilariously fun things that you don't learn in the pregnancy magazines, from the contortions you'll go through just to empty your bladder, to the sleepless nights from being crushed by the gravity of your own body, and it is a testament to Heather's writing skills that all this is rendered completely, totally, breathtakingly funny.
Later in the second half, Armstrong details her own "breakdown", culminating in a hospitalization for her postpartum depression, and I am so humbled at her matter-of-fact tone and her willingness to share these personal experiences. The tone throughout is still very funny, but the laughs lessen slightly as the tears take over. It's impossible to not feel sympathy for this vulnerable woman wracked with chemical depression, and for her patient and wonderful husband who helps her through this time. And it's impossible to not feel grateful for her sharing these experiences, because when and if it hits in your life, you're grateful to know that there's not alone, there is hope, and life can get better.
I loved this book from start to finish, and I really think this is the best book I've read all year. I'm baffled by the poor reviews, but apparently there's some overlap between this book and the author's blog? (This confuses me, really, because when I like an online humorist I WANT to get a "book version" of their blog - I didn't buy all those "Best of Dave Barry" books for nothing, after all.) My recommendation would be to download a sample of the first chapter, and see how it goes - if you're crying with laughter from the sample, you'll want more, I promise.
~ Ana Mardoll
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