Friday, January 18, 2013

Review # 264: Ketchup is a Vegetable and Other Lies Moms Tell Themselves by Robin O'Bryant

Winner of the Shirley You Jest - Shirley LOL (1st Place) in Non-Fiction!

Description: (from Amazon)

     If you don’t have anything nice to say about motherhood, then… read this book. Robin O’Bryant offers a no holds barred look at the day to day life of being a mother to three, running a household and the everyday monotony of parenting. 
     It’s not always pretty but it’s real. Whether she's stuffing cabbage in her bra… dealing with defiant yet determined daughters… yelling at the F.B.I... or explaining the birds and the bees to her preschooler… you’re sure to find dozens of humorous and relatable situations.

     From the creator of Robin's Chicks, one of the South’s most popular blogs on motherhood, misunderstandings and musings, comes a collection of essays that will not only make you laugh and cry, but realize that you’re not alone in your journey.

     Sit back and relax, pour yourself some “mommy juice,” throw a fresh diaper on your baby and deadbolt the bedroom door to keep your kids out… because once you start reading you'll be too busy wiping away tears of laughter to wipe anybody's butt.


    When I was asked to be a sponsor for the Shirley You Jest Book Awards (SYJ), I had no idea what kind of material I would be reading. I expected comedy, but was not sure about the content. However, after receiving the winning titles I was excited - two hilarious books by two seriously funny moms - each a goldmine of truths and realizations that any woman could relate to, and laugh at!

    The SYJ 1st Place Winner was Robin O'Bryant, and her book, Ketchup is a Vegetable and Other Lies Moms Tell Themselves, was probably one of the most exhilaratingly funny books I read in all of 2012; full of unbelievably honest stories that show the "joys" of motherhood in a different light -- a horrifyingly hysterical one. At first, I was taken aback by Robin's surprisingly blunt take on parenting. I know that most mothers probably think those kinds of thoughts (no spoilers) when they are at the end of their rope, but I had never heard them expressed so candidly; probably one of the reasons I laughed so hard after reading some of them. Each story was easy-to-read, full of gut-splitting detail, and refreshingly realistic! I liked the short story length, (the whole book was only 264 pages), and I appreciated the multiple stopping points - good for moms and other busy-bodies on-the-go. Robin's southern wit may strike some readers as T.M.I or offensive, but sometimes that's what motherhood is, so why not be honest about it? I also enjoyed the random order of the stories - being able to read them in whatever sequence I wanted was definitely a plus! Highly recommended to all women, mothers or not, who aren't afraid to laugh at the darker side of motherhood. Now I know what I am getting all my mom friends for their birthdays this year!

Rating: Clean Getaway! (4.5/5)

***I received this book from the author in exchange for an honest and unbiased review.

From the Author:

     I've been an avid reader and writer my entire life. As a child it was common for me to have dark circles under my eyes from staying up into the wee hours to read. I've journaled since I could write a complete sentence and throughout my life I have been told repeatedly, “You should write a book.”

     I wanted to, I really did. I wanted to be a writer but I had no idea what to write about. I was good at expressing myself in words but I wasn't creating new worlds or going all J.K. Rowling in my free time. Reading and writing were private passions until my third child was born. Three daughters in four years, it's all a blur. Do the math, people. That's a lot of crazy.

     I was writing about my kids extensively, because that's what I do. I am compelled to write about my life. But because my husband and I lived hundreds of miles from our families, I was also sending out mass emails on a daily and weekly basis to update our families on our shenanigans. And I heard it again and again, “You should write a book.” (Please note: this doesn't always mean you should and I realized that this was my mom and she might be a little biased.) I realized I might have an audience when my family members started forwarding my emails to everyone in their contact lists and I began receiving feedback from people I didn't know. I started a blog and somehow convinced the editor of our local paper to let me write a weekly family humor column.

     I started outlining Ketchup is a Vegetable and Other Lies Moms Tell Themselves and wrote like a mad woman. I signed with Jenny Bent in July of 2009 and began the arduous process of editing and revising. Because platform is so important, I had a lot of work to do in building my blog readership and expanding my humor column. Jenny has been a great source of information, an editor, advocate, writing teacher, butt-kicking motivator for me for the last three and half years.

     We decided to take a calculated risk and self-publish Ketchup (available on Amazon and Barnes & Noble) to further expand my platform. It worked. I've sold a fair share of books and Ketchup has spent almost 11 months rated #1 by reader reviews in two categories on Amazon: Humor Essays and Parenting & Families. Due to the success of the book, we published a separate e-book only collection of my best humor columns titled A Second Helping (available on Amazon and Barnes & Noble). I'm currently working on the proposal for my third book.
     You can keep up with me online by reading my blog, Robin's Chicks, liking my Facebook Author page or following me on twitter. November 30th is Ketchup's first birthday!!!

About the Author:

      Robin O'Bryant is a humor columnist and stay-at-home-mother to three daughters born within four years. She finally figured out where babies come from and got herself under control. Her first book,"Ketchup is a Vegetable and Other Lies Moms Tell Themselves,” has been rated #1 by reader reviews on Amazon in two genres: Humor Essays and Parenting & Families since December 2011.

     O'Bryant won the South Carolina Press Association's award for Best Humor Column for 2012. She was a Circle of Mom's Top 25 Funniest Moms 2011 and 2012. Babble has listed Robin's Chicks as Top 10 Funniest Parenting Blog and is a regualar contributor to Huffington Post Parents. She uses her blog and newspaper columns to teach women helpful tips such as: how to breastfeed behind your back*, how to talk to your daughters about man parts, and how to write a proper gold fish obituary.

*Only applies to lactating women with a DD cup or larger.

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