I Read the Parenting: Illustrated with Crappy Pictures Book & Think Amber is Watching Me

It’s Sunday morning as I write this. I am currently in my office while the kids are distracted down in the family room with a bag of candy from a birthday party yesterday.

Yes, it’s 8am, but we’ve already been up forever (not my choice) and I wanted to write this book review, so obviously my kids can smell my need to be away from them so they have been all up in my grill since before the sun considered even seeing what’s over the horizon. The only things that can make them get off of me are bribes and bribes. So there you have it.

If you don’t already know Amber Dusick of Parenting: Illustrated with Crappy Pictures, then I am about to make your day. Her blog is so true and funny, without being too naughty or too nice. It’s a perfect blend, which is why I believe so many people love it. Or, at least, why I love it. 

When I heard she wrote a book, my eyes got all big-excited-happy. Books bring me joy. Seeing talented people I adore getting book deals brings me joy.

When I was offered a copy of her book to read before the release, I may have fast-clapped and gone “Squeee!” But there were no witnesses, so shut your face with that eye-rolling. 

Happy Kim!

Here it is, in all its glory:

Review of @AmberDusick #Parenting #book by @LetMeStart #humor #BuyThisBook

Hot damn, is that one sexy badass book.

I grabbed my Post-Its and insisted I’d pop one in at only my very favorite parts that made me laugh out loud or vigorously nod an amused, knowing nod.

You will notice the many, many Post-Its above, which I started to rip in half because I did not have enough to mark all my favorite bits. Yeah, it’s that good.

Let me start by saying (Ha! Get it?) that I had my two kids in less than two years, also have two black cats, as well as a husband who can sleep through anything, so think Amber took some notes from my life here on the East Coast rather than simply document her own life on the West Coast. I also think Amber and I need to get a split-heart BFF necklace set.

I’m actually kind of comfortable knowing that she spies on me. I’m also fairly certain she’d be totally comfortable wearing the other half of that necklace. But I digress.

The Table of Contents of this book tells it all: parenthood can be summed up in 10 chapters.  From how we age differently before and after kids to what having sick kids is really like, from how good the sweetly special moments can be to how really, really badly a road trip can go, Amber’s book touches on the highs and lows of all the experiences that make us parents dizzy. 

Her drawings are all total crap in the best way possible, with captions that will make you snort with laughter because Oh my God she just drew a picture of my daughter doing Calisthenics while I attempted breastfeeding her. No! Wait! That’s HER kid! Oh my God we are living parallel lives of insanity. Her ability to toss in one-liners that sum up life lessons about homeless people or the untrustworthy nature of toddlers made me get choked up with teary love and fits of giggles. This girl is one clever chickadee.

My personal favorite part of the book was about sleeping, because Holy Foam Pit is it hard to have a good night’s sleep when you have a baby and a toddler at the same time. I laughed, I cried, I had sweaty nightmarish flashbacks to those years of mind-bending sleeplessness and double-checked the lock on my bedroom door.

What I love about Parenting: Illustrated with Crappy Pictures is that you laugh because of The Big Picture and The Small Moments without anyone in particular being the brunt of all the jokes. It is fresh and funny and true, while being kind and loving and relatable.

Mom love by @AmberDusick on @LetMeStart

Bedtime stories: When love meets torture.

When you close the back cover upon completion, you feel lifted and happy, ready to go back downstairs and face whatever insane mess your kids made in the family room while you left them unattended to make forts out of the couch and tablecloths while hopped up on stale, manhandled candy.

If I’m being unclear: I loved this book. I read it in a snap, could not put it down, and found myself hoping she got a two-book deal, because I want lots of her to put on my shelf. I highly recommend it for you, and as a go-to gift for Mother’s Day and your mom-friends’ birthdays.

Want a copy for yourself?

I’m giving away a Kindle copy! 

Just comment below with a book recommendation for me (I need some summer reading ideas). I’ll pick one winner by random on Friday March 29th at 12noon EST.
I am paying for this prize out of my own pocket – that’s how much I want you to read this book.

Edited on 3/29/13: GIVEAWAY IS OVER!

Can’t wait to read it? Buy your copy here for Kindle or in hardcover.

Want more of Amber? Follow Parenting: Illustrated with Crappy Pictures
On her blog
On Facebook
On Twitter @AmberDusick
On Pinterest

1. One entry per person.
2. If you use the “Comment With Your Facebook Account” feature, I will inform the winner by REPLYING to that comment. If you use the blog’s “Leave a Reply” comment box, include your email address in your comment (it is only visible to me).
3. The is for the Kindle version of the book. If you don’t have a Kindle, you can easily download the free Kindle app on your SmartPhone, iPad or other tablet. That’s what I did!
4. Enter through Friday March 29th 11:59am EST.

I was given a free copy of the book to read, which I had planned to purchase, anyway. The opinions here are all mine, and I was not compensated for them in any way. To show my support of Amber, I am personally purchasing the Kindle version for this giveaway.

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  1. says

    I truly loved The Kitchen House, Snow Flower and the Secret Fan, the Matched series, and Diary of a Submissive. I am sure there are others, those are just the ones I can think of right now.

  2. Sherri Bosely says

    Ooooh! I want this book soooo badly! As for a book suggestion for you, I think you’d really enjoy Elizabeth Street by Laurie Fabiano. It’s about some Italian immigrants, and their links to the Black Hand mafia. I could not put it down, and now I recommend it to everyone. Enjoy!

  3. Robyn says

    I have loved everything in Tasha Alexander’s Lady Emily series. I just finished The Crown by Nancy Bilyeu and let my child play Wii as long as he wanted so I could keep reading. A couple of older books I’ve liked are To Dance With Kings and Mistress of the Sun. I’m a bit of an historical fiction whore.

  4. Laura says

    If you haven’t already read it, Waiting for Birdy by Catherine Newman just might be my favorite parenting book ever. She is sweet, hilarious, ad profane, and I always cry/laugh/nod knowingly every time I read it (ok, twice now, but enjoying it again).

  5. Heidi M. says

    I have this book in my amazon cart waiting to be purchased, but it would be even better to win a copy. I wish I had a good book recommendation, but with an infant and a toddler who think sleep is overrated – all I have been reading are parenting books!

  6. Marsha says

    I love Amber and definitely want to read this book. Some recent books I’ve read and enjoyed: Could You But Find It by Robert Cilley. It’s a self published work of fiction which I really enjoyed. You might have already read Let’s Pretend this Never Happened (A Mostly True Memoir) by Jenny Lawson. And another favorite: Hell is Other Parents: and Other Tales of Maternal Combustion by Deborah Copaken Kogan.

  7. says

    OH how I love that Amber and her Crappy Pictures!!!! May she have ALL the success in the WORLD with her gift and her sweetness!!! :) Woohoo!!! Other books? What books? Blogs you mean? Yeah…blogs. THAT’S what you mean right? Who has time for books when you follow four hundred thousand blogs? ;) “Unglued” by Lysa Terkeurst. She’s amazing.
    Chris Carter recently posted..The Party Moms Should Refuse…My Profile

  8. says

    I’m going to buy the book anyways, but I’ll enter, just in case I can win it :) I read her blog all the time and refer all my friends to it!

  9. says

    That is so wonderful of you to support her with the book give away. I found your site because Amber posted you were one of the people doing a give away. Basically I love all the love being spread around. As the person mentioned above, I also have a baby (14 months) and I haven’t had a chance to read books. But some books I can remember liking are Animal Vegetable Miracle by Barbara Kingsolver, Cork Boat, and Unbroken (it made me cry at the end). You might have already heard of these or read them. I tend to like people sharing their real life stories – so that is what these books are. Great review of her book and glad to find your site. Crossing my fingers that I win the book :)

  10. Erin says

    Her website is hilarious, would love to see more in her book :-) For a reading suggestion, I enjoyed “Love In A Headscarf” by Shelina Zahra Janmohamed

  11. says

    I wish I had some fun fiction book to recommend to you for your summer reading, but I haven’t read anything like that since having baby #1. Right now I am reading Positive Discipline and it is pretty good so far. Thank you for the giveaway!

  12. Devin says

    If you haven’t read the series, and enjoy historical fiction, I’m working my way through the Outlander series. Its a little romance, a little time travel and a lot historical fiction.

  13. Nancy says

    If you want hysterically funny (I wasn’t allowed to read this in bed because I kept waking my husband!) and true, read Let’s Pretend This Never Happened by Jenny Lawson.
    If you want fictional and not funny, read The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern.

    • says

      Jenny’s book made me cry-laugh all my eye makeup off during a flight to Mexico when it came out. Honestly, it was so so funny. And The Night Circus is one some of my readers recommended to me last year, and I am SO GLAD I listened!
      So, basically, you have great taste. :)

  14. says

    Don’t count this toward the giveaway because I already have my own copy of Amber’s book and am loving it, but I just wanted to ask that if I ever write a book would you please review it? Because holy moly, you are such a love, and a fantastic writer, and you make me laugh hard. And instead of reviewing Amber’s book, I’m just going to link here and be all, “Yeah. What Kim said.”
    Leslie (@TheBeardedIris) recently posted..Does this sobriety make my butt look big?My Profile

  15. ChristineW says

    I recommend The Hobbit. I read it long ago, and assume lots of other people have too. But it’s good to re-read around the time of the movies. Also, it’s an easy read and you can read small bits at a time (i.e., good to read when you have kids trying to distract you).

  16. says

    Let’s Pretend This Never Happened: A Mostly True Memoir by The Bloggess is spit-your-popcorn-out funny (wait until you read the popcorn references in the book, “Sure you can eat the popcorn that was just in my ear. And by ear I mean…”)

  17. Kate R. says

    Really need to win b/c I can’t wait to read the Crappy book and yours, too! The Outlander series is great, and I was pleasantly surprised by Just One of the Guys by Kristan Higgins. Very sweet, funny and touching.

  18. Kristen says

    You’re funny, too!! I feel the same way you do about Amber…lol! Hmm.. book recommendation for you… I havent read a book in 2 years (since baby)… um, oh wait, I did recently read The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot. It was easy to read and engaging, so there ya go!!!

  19. Leighan says

    I’m with the commenter above who recommended the Outlander series by Diana Gabaldon. The 8th installment will (probably) be coming out this year – it will get you through the summer and then some. I’ve just re-started the series for the 6th? time in preparation. :)

  20. Laura says

    I don’t really read much… Lol. I read The Great Gatsby last year and loved it (never got around to reading it in HS). I love Crappy Pictures – I think Penis Pizza is my absolute fave post!

  21. Erika says

    I love all things Harlan Coben and the High Heel Mysteries by Gemma Halliday are a hoot and a half.
    Happy reading! (BTW, love your blog!)

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