Book Review: Scary Title, Engaging Read

In this book review, we check out a title that gives an unapologetically honest take on motherhood.

If you found yourself holding your newborn baby and asking How on earth did I get myself into this?, you are far from alone. Of course, mothers love their babies, and would do pretty much anything for them. And of course, all of the difficult moments are more than worthwhile. This doesn’t mean, however, that motherhood is easy, because it’s not. It’s challenging and confusing and messy and transcendent all at the same time. When you haven’t slept well in weeks and everything you own smells like breast milk and spit-up, those hard parts have a way of sticking out.

Those hard parts are examined in loving in the book Fresh Hell: Motherhood In Pieces by Carellin Brooks.

A Book Review from Hell

fresh hell book reviewCarellin’s book is described as ‘Eat, Pray, Love for the smarter mommy crowd’. Carellin herself is a Rhodes scholar, so her writing is as precise and insightful as you would expect. Fresh Hell contains 52 meditations, one for each week of her baby’s first year. She covers a lot of terrain in just 96 pages, moving quickly from disaster to delight and back again. Along the way she examines Dorothy Parker’s question: What fresh hell is this? There are few answers in the end – as we all know, new motherhood isn’t about a tidy ending all wrapped up in a bow. Rather, each meditation is a chance to eavesdrop on someone else’s life and experience, a few minutes at a time.

Given its title, we went into this book review expecting it to be a bit of a downer. It isn’t. Instead, it’s a fresh and honest take on motherhood, sharing its funny, depressing and amazing moments in a single volume. We also feared that a book penned by a Rhodes scholar would be a tough read, full of long words and complex sentences. It isn’t. Each of the 52 meditations covers only a couple of pages, on average, making it a quick and easy read. If you’re one of those moms who does most of their reading in the bathroom (and we’re not judging), this book is the perfect fit for you.

If you’d like to read something that speaks to every part of motherhood, you may want to pick up Fresh Hell. To get your hands on a copy, get in touch with Brunswick Books here in Toronto. To find out more, visit the Demeter Press website.

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Amber Strocel

Amber Strocel is the Managing Editor of City Mom Now, the parent network of Toronto Mom Now. She is a writer, podcaster, ardent crafter and green mom, who believes strongly in the power of the Internet to connect and empower. You can follow her on her personal blog at

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