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I give this book review (commenting on the book “Bad Mother”) in the Star Tribune a 1 out of 4 stars.

The review begins:

What acts of abuse or neglect inspired Ayelet Waldman to title her memoir “Bad Mother”? Did she lock the kids in the basement? Leave them alone while she went out bar-hopping? Fly into rages over the use of wire hangers?

Not exactly. Most of what Waldman calls “maternal crimes” are more like minor imperfections. She quit her job to care for her four children but felt bored at home. She serves organic foods, but one son eats a lot of chocolate. TV is forbidden on weekdays, but the kids watch “The Simpsons” on weekends.

Hardly reason to call Child Protection. . .

Agreed. So the book reviewer posits to the reader that these types of things are why she titled the book “Bad Mother”. And it’s not until the second to last paragraph that it mentions another detail.

Other events were understandably wrenching, such as the decision to terminate a pregnancy after a genetic test showed a chance the child might be born developmentally challenged.

Is this willful painting over or merely irresponsible ignorance on the part of the review writer?

Does she seriously not know that there are many who would call this deed heinous? Or does she just want to consider them to be negligible?

I’m also not fond of the last sentence:

Books like this are a reminder that if you care enough to wonder at all, you’re probably doing OK.

Hmmm, so there is no abusive parent that wonders. Is that what you’re saying?

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August 2009