It didn't take me long to start laughing as I turned the pages of Unabrow: Misadventures of a Late Bloomer, by Una LaMarche. The giggles started on page 4, when I saw the chart she created of her suspected family tree—unconfirmed by genetic testing—that resulted in the unfortunate (and unseparated) eyebrows of the title, as seen on the cover (Una looks to be about 7 at the time): Apparently her great grandparents included Frida Kahlo, Martin Scorsese, Leonid Brezhnev, and a female sasquatch (she drew likenesses of them all to prove her point). Well . . .
Actually, most of this title isn't about parenting, though LaMarche is indeed a mom. But that's okay, because she finds humor everywhere—much of it by looking in the mirror. She chronicles all the places she can never go anymore (and why), her childhood fear of gym class, and the most shocking revelations from her Barbies' tell-all memoirs (hamsters allowed to defecate in Dream House). She talks about the categories of fights she has with her husband (whose life is worse; who is more tired), and details seven things no one tells you about post-baby sex (Bon Jovi's Slippery When Wet is just taunting you now; sex toys become literal). One of my favorite sections was a chart chronicling how you're screwing up your baby no matter what—whether you breast or formula feed; use disposable diapers or cloth ones; go back to work or stay home with your kid; and so forth. The point: No matter what you do, there are some who will say you're doing it wrong. By contrast, there's no way to goof by picking up this book (unless you're offended by a bit of profanity): It's infectiously funny, and so digestible that even taking a two-minute break from caregiving to read a page or two will brighten your day. Rather, it is a guide on whether you should eat food that's fallen on the floor. Spoiler alert: The path always leads to "Yes," unless you're eating it for health reasons (in which case you can toss it).
David Sparrow is a senior editor at Parents magazine and a dad of two (one of each).