From the moment I saw Stephen Colbert interview the author of this book on The Colbert Report, I knew I had to read it. I was both skeptical and intrigued, unsure of how the author was approaching the subject. Now I’m glad I finally got the chance.
This book was funny for me to read because I see so much of myself in it. One of the days I was reading it, I actually made cookies from scratch (the only way I’ll even make cookies anymore); from-scratch cooking was a major component of the book, a common thread between bloggers mentioned. When you’re a blogger, reading about blogging can feel very meta–and then to blog about reading about blogging? Now my head is spinning.
Emily Matchar’s book is full of fascinating ideas, suggestions, and facts. I was particularly impressed at the attempt at intersectionality within the book. While it didn’t necessarily go deeply into class and race divides within the New Domesticity community, it is at least mentioned more than once. The book is pretty educational, but it’s not boring. Matchar makes her own sassy comments at points, and even though I’m not a mom (and I have little interest in “mommy blogs”), the sections on “DIY parenting” were still intriguing. It was a book of topics that appealed to my interests even if I couldn’t relate to everything.
One thing that annoyed me while reading was how many times some quotes from interviewees would be repeated. I would read one, then a few chapters later have a deja vu kind of feeling when I realized I was reading it again. On the one hand, I can see how it emphasizes a point, but on the other, it made me worry Matchar didn’t have enough content, which is silly considering the book was several hundred pages.
My favorite part of the book, though, was Matchar’s ability to show both sides of a situation. She applauds DIY believers for their efforts, while offering reminders that they may not be doing it perfectly. The final chapter especially offers five “take-away points” for readers, such as avoiding individualist thinking. For example, in the DIY parenting chapter, a lot of antivaccine beliefs are examine, and Matchar discusses how that individual decision not to vaccinate affects the larger population.
Another aspect of the book I enjoyed was the history. The first chapter goes through the evolution of the housewife, from pre-Industrial Revolution women who split the farm work with their husbands to disillusioned 1950s wives who had little to do thanks to the ease of prepackaged meals. Even as early as the first chapter, Matchar is showing readers things they might not have thought of before and working on providing a new perspective.
I think this is a must-read for a lot of bloggers–the ones who love crafting, cooking from scratch, wish they had a farm–because while you’ll likely laugh in familiarity at the aspects of the book that reflect yourself, you’ll also start to see life and your own hobbies a little differently. If you’re anything like me, some of the interviewees will make you want to tear your hair out, but maybe you’re not, and maybe you’ll agree with them. In that case, the book itself might make you mad. Either way, I would say if you want to read it, go for it because it’s quite a fascinating read.