Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Stretch Marks

Yesterday we all went to see The Princess and the Frog, courtesy of Mia. She won six tickets from a contest at the library, so all five of us, plus the two Tylers went (we paid for Jesse's godson Tyler). The movie was fantastic, Disney is definitely back up to the quality of The Lion King and Little Mermaid. Doogie didn't think that the songs were that catchy, but Jesse and I were both impressed with how the composer, Randy Newman, captured the many different musical styles of New Orleans: jazz, blues, zydeco (my favorite), and gospel. The message of the movie was excellent: what you want isn't necessarily what you need. We will be picking this one up as soon as it comes out on DVD.

Mia is going to see Alvin and the Chipmunks: the Squeakel today with my little brother Jake, because it's his birthday. She's been so excited about seeing it, yesterday she spent part of her Christmas money on buying Britney, the Chipette, from Build-a-Bear! I fully expect her to come home singing all of the songs and quoting lines that made her laugh.

I'm stuck in bed today. I don't know what I did yesterday, but during the movie, my neck hurt so badly that I couldn't turn my head to the right at all and to the left just a little. Jesse bought me a heat wrap that I wore on it overnight, but I still woke up several times in excruciating pain. This morning I can't move my neck at all, which made driving Molly to work interesting (try trusting a six-year-old to tell you if the intersection is clear so you can drive through! Luckily, Mia is very safety minded, so if she could see a vehicle anywhere, she wouldn't let me turn).

Stretch Marks by Kimberly Stuart is a humorous look at the way pregnancy changes and stretches a woman. Mia is very happy with her life, for the most part. While her job as a social worker doesn't always fulfill her need to change the world, she pays close attention to her carbon-footprint, eats organic, does yoga, and has a live-in boyfriend, Lars. Everything changes when her unexplained nausea and fatigue turns out to be a pregnancy and Lars leaves in the night. While Mia tries to make a new life for herself and the baby-to-be, her mother, Babs shows up to help. Babs is Mia's antithesis with her frosted hair, artificially enhanced features, and love for meat, leather, and plastics. Mia will be stretched to her limit making peace with Babs, her new body, and just maybe the cute guy at the grocery store. Several reviews are slamming Stuart for keeping the faith bubbling below the surface without the overt mentions that most Christian fiction has in spades, but I think that this makes Stretch Marks far more marketable to the secular reader. Stuart portrays Babs' faith and church realistically and gently sands down Mia's agnostic edges without ever alienating the reader. The novel is funny and moving and full of spot-on mother/daughter angst. Mia is a delightful character who will shatter readers' preconceived notions of tofu-eating/free trade buying/climate change activist.

Thank you to the author for providing me with a copy of this book for review!

Today's picture is my favorite from Christmas. My little girl is just radiant!