After being sent the umpteenth mommy lit book this year—a book whose title I can't even remember even though I've been sitting here for five minutes desperately trying—I think I've figured out the formula.
First, start with one thirty-something, Jewish or WASP, NY/NY area, former-high-power-job-having mother. Add some meddling grandparents, a bitchy, non-child-child-having best friend and a "nice" (usually slightly hippified) best friend.
Thrown in a bumbling, mid-life-crisis-suffering husband who loses his job for either: 1) cheating or 2) being an idiot.
Force mom back to work in a job that is either: 1) beneath her or 2) one she has to take to pull her family out of financial straits.
Make sure two to three pages cover guilt mom feels for going back to work coupled with realization that dad does the stay-at-home-thing better.
Make sure at least one page is devoted to describing the closet full of size 6 or 8 designer clothes into which mom no longer fits.
End novel with family striking happy balance, usually mom comes to term with job (after some kind of huge, career-making success) or dad finally gets work.
And there you have it. The formula for every mom lit book currently stacked in a pile next to my bed.
Why aren't Mom Lit books about the frumpy Pentecostal supermarket checker in Omaha with the truck-driving husband? Or the Methodist sheriff's deputy in Cheyenne with a school teacher husband and five kids all living in a trailer? Or the pagan midwife in Seattle with the lesbian natural foods chef partner and their blended family with kids from previous marriages?
Those are the stories I'd want to read.
Piece of Work. That's the name of the book I couldn't think of earlier.