The Cursing Mommy's Book of Days
By Ian Frazier
(Farrar, Straus and Giroux, Hardcover, 9780374133184, 256pp.)
Publication Date: October 2, 2012
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Based on his widely read columns for The New Yorker, Ian Frazier’s uproarious first novel, The Cursing Mommy’s Book of Days, centers on a profoundly memorable character, sprung from an impressively fertile imagination. Structured as a daybook of sorts, the book follows the Cursing Mommy—beleaguered wife of Larry and mother of two boys, twelve and eight—as she tries (more or less) valiantly to offer tips on how to do various tasks around the home, only to end up on the ground, cursing, surrounded by broken glass. Her voice is somewhere between Phyllis Diller’s and Sylvia Plath’s: a hilariously desperate housewife with a taste for swearing and large glasses of red wine, who speaks to the frustrations of everyday life.
Frazier has demonstrated an astonishing ability to operate with ease in a variety of registers: from On the Rez, an investigation into the lives of modern day Oglala Sioux written with a mix of humor, compassion, and imagination, to Dating Your Mom, a sidesplitting collection of humorous essays that imagines, among other things, how and why you might begin a romance with your mother. Here, Frazier tackles another genre with his usual grace and aplomb, as well as an extra helping of his trademark wicked wit. The Cursing Mommy’s failures and weaknesses are our own—and Frazier gives them a loving, satirical spin that is uniquely his own.
Ian Frazier is the author of Great Plains, The Fish’s Eye, On the Rez, Family, and Travels in Siberia, as well as Coyote v. Acme, Dating Your Mom, and Lamentations of the Father, all published by FSG. A frequent contributor to The New Yorker, he lives in Montclair, New Jersey.
“Ian Frazier is funny and clever and a wonderful distraction . . . With the Cursing Mommy, Frazier . . . has created a comic-strip heroine for the chattering classes, a creature both endearing and diabolical, especially when disaster looms . . . But here’s the great thing about the Cursing Mommy, which perhaps accounts for her popularity—she’s a caricature, but she isn’t a joke. Thanks to Frazier’s generous and gentle spirit, she isn’t some suburban hot mess, though she is suburban and hot, and surely some kind of a mess. But she’s also eternally optimistic.” —Judith Newman, The New York Times Book Review
“Ian Frazier is not a mommy, and as his best friend I can swear that he is not a curser in any way, yet this book, The Cursing Mommy’s Book of Days, is the funniest book I have ever read on the subject of moms and the crazy bliss that makes up their life. Being and Nothingness? Read this instead, for it is even funnier than Frazier’s other book: African-American Women Writers in the Diaspora: A Reconsideration of Morrison, Walker, Dove, and Frazier.” —Jamaica Kincaid
“[The Cursing Mommy’s Book of Days] is not only very funny but may actually remind you of the occasional frustrations of your own everyday life. Sit down on the floor with a big scotch and read it.” —Joe Peschel, The Boston Globe
"Ian Frazier is not a mommy, and as his best friend I can swear that he is not a curser in any way, yet this book, The Cursing Mommy's Book of Days, is the funniest book I have ever read on the subject of moms and the crazy bliss that makes up their life. Being and Nothingness? Read this instead, for it is even funnier than Frazier's other book: African-American Women Writers in the Diaspora: A Reconsideration of Morrison, Walker, Dove, and Frazier."