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Read all about the adventures of the Tsao Family during the summer of 2012

Wednesday, October 19, 2005


Jennifer Weiner, author and mommy goddess

Last night I was fortunate enough to get to see Jennifer Weiner give a reading at my local Barnes & Noble. Weiner (pronounced Whiner, not Weaner) is hilarious and very likeable. She entertained the crowd of sixty or so women and one or two men with stories of her Jewish grandma and her own quest to be #1 grandchild, then she read from her new book Goodnight Nobody before answering questions from the obviously star-struck audience.

Weiner is having a great year. Besides celebrating the recent book release of Goodnight Nobody, she's also celebrating the movie release of In Her Shoes, which stars Shirley MacLaine, Toni Collette, and Cameron Diaz. Plus, because the movie shot in Ft. Lauderdale, she was able to get her grandma--her nanna--in the movie as an extra, thereby ensuring her #1 grandchild status for a couple of months. (She was bumped from her position by her cousin giving birth--that bitch.)

Weiner loves telling stories about her "crazy" family, but it's obvious her love for them runs deep. In my opinion, only love--or the promise of a large inheritance--could compel you to bring your 80-year-old nanna, your 70-year-old uncle and aunt, your gay mother, and assorted other family members with you to the Los Angeles premier of your first movie.

After sharing some of her personal life with us, she read a little bit from her new novel. According to the book jacket, Goodnight Nobody "tells the story of a young mother's move to a postcard-perfect Connecticut town and the secrets she uncovers there." I'm eager to start reading it because she hinted it contains lot of funny passages describing modern-day perfect suburban mommies. "Supermommies," as Weiner refers to them.

Weiner knows all about supermommies because she is a mom; she has a two-year-old daughter. One of the questions asked her during the Q&A concerned how she handled life as a working mother. She was frank about how she does it: she has a nanny. She did confess to having the same concerns as all working mothers, namely will her daughter remember her as always leaving to go to work. Based on the description of her workdays, she seems to have achieved a good balance. Weiner's with her daughter every day through lunch, when the nanny comes over. Then she leaves to write in a local cafe from 1 to 5, during which time her daughter naps and hangs out at home with the nanny. Hey, I'd sign up for that schedule any day!

Weiner currently is on tour promoting Goodnight Nobody. Even if you're not familiar with her books, I would recommend attending one of her readings. She's a warm and funny speaker who writes honestly and from the heart. Her self-effacing perspective on motherhood is refreshing and--in its own way--hopeful. If anybody can make slacker motherhood seem the obvious choice over obsessive parenting, Weiner can.