The Bright Side of Disaster
by Katherine Center
read May 2009
Jenny is pregnant, very, very pregnant. She is living with her “almost-husband” Dean. First impression, I want to smack them both. The book basically chronicles Jenny’s trials and tribulations through motherhood on her own. I guess I let that one slip…yes, ‘almost husband’ leaves her, but you’ll know that’s coming from the first few pages. He’s a loser anyways.
At times, the things Jenny went through made me laugh. The way birthing your baby never goes to plan. The shock that someone has left this tiny, precious, and very loud thing in your care. Like Jenny, I was alone the first time, and relied heavily on my mom. Sheesh…aren’t moms great. I hope my kids think I’m great when they are my age.
Being a mom I could really relate to many of Jenny’s experiences. Her first days home with the baby really made me laugh. All of the trouble she has nursing. Although I had the opposite problem…Jenny’s milk won’t come in…mine came in with such intensity on my first night I woke up drenched. I tried to change my daughter’s diaper and I’m leaking milk all over her. She’s crying, I’m crying, everything is wet, I haven’t slept. My mom comes and saves the day, or rather the night. I was sent to the shower while she took care of the baby and my bed.
Jenny’s way of dealing with some of the baby experiences actually made me say out loud, “No, no no!” for example, she gets up one night every half an hour and nurses the baby when she cries and picks her up out of her crib every time she so much as wimpers.
I think that the title is very effective for the book. There can always be a bright side to a disaster. Jenny’s disaster is being left pregnant and alone, broken by Dean abandoning her. She does get to her bright side, her baby helps her become a better person, form a closer relationship with her parents, make new friends, discover how to love again, and discover herself.
The cover, well I had the one with the rubber duck on it as above. I like how bright and colorful it is. My girls kept wanting to pick it up. But I don’t see what it has to do with the book. The other cover I have seen has a girl drinking from a cereal bowl on it, which also seems to have little to do with the book. I know authors generally have no input on the covers, so I don’t blame you Katherine Center! I just feel it’s part of the whole reading experience.
One last thing (I know this review really jumps around…sorry!), I actually cringed when I heard her name the baby “Maxie”. Her name is actually Elizabeth Maxine Harris, but her friend Meredith tells her, “You know everyone is just going to call her Maxie.” Again, I said out loud, “No they won’t! Who would call a baby that? Why????” I mean Lizzie, or Liz, or Beth maybe, but why Maxie? Even just Max would be okay.
Overall, I enjoyed this book, and I wished I could have read it more solidly. I was very busy with buying-a-house-stuff that I had to pick-up and put-down this book more than I generally like to. I like a good solid block of reading time, at least getting through one chapter at a time. There were parts that frustrated me, but I think that is part of this books charm. Also, for those of you who are sensitive to language, there is the use of the “f” word a few times in the book. It didn’t really bother me too much as it was used in dialogue to express frustration.
Themes- single mothers, sex, child birth, child rearing, babies, troubles with babies, love
Characters- Jenny Harris, Dean …, Maxie Harris, Meredith, Claudia, Gardener, Jenny’s mom and dad (The book is upstairs and I can’t remember their names!)
Setting- Modern-day Texas
Topic- Jenny Harris has been left alone to bring up her new daughter alone. She goes through many difficult yet rewarding times. This book chronicles her experiences in a fun and believable way.