Thursday, April 7, 2011
S'Mother: Adam Chester
As a person with a slightly crazed mother, I was drawn to Adam Chester's book, S'Mother, which is basically just a collection of his mother's crazed letters. What's that? Humor? Crazy Mother? Count me in! Adam Chester is, like myself, the only child of a single parent. We are a special group of people who know the realities of overprotective mothers and the complete inability to shrug off some of mom's nuttiness onto someone else. We are often victims of complete and utter public humiliation. We are frequently leaned upon, forcing us into responsibilities beyond our age. We are undoubtedly loved in the very best ways that our cuckoo mothers are able. Chester just happens to have kept all of the panicked little notes and letters that his mother sent him, so that we now have them here in a lovely collection of neuroses.
S'Mother begins with an introduction to Adam's Mother in a seemingly harmless tale about the day she brought his sweater to him at school. Except Adam's Mother isn't like any normal mother. Adam's Mother marches herself into the boys locker room while Adam is in gym class and embarrasses him in front of the entire Junior High by handing over his sweater and loudly stating "You forgot to bring your sweater. It's going to rain today!" I mean really, Junior High? Into the locker room? The woman has no boundaries. And so begins the saga of an overprotective mother constantly intruding on her son's life--mostly with regards to her Will, should she suddenly pass away.
Here's my hesitation. The letters are sort of funny, in an oddball kind of way. Chester's narration is kind of funny. There are a few formatting things that distracted me (for example, not everything in parentheses needs to be italicized), but that was minor. So why didn't I laugh? I kind of expected to find some truly humiliating stories that would make me laugh out loud. Or at least chuckle a little. I was certainly captivated by the narrative, and I enjoyed the stories about Chester's life experiences (a bear hug from Barry White! Christmas cards from Elton John!), but the letters from his mother were just...letters from his mother. Sure she's a little wacky. Of course there's no need for an adult man to be reminded to wear a coat in the snow. But she's a little old lady with practically nothing else do, given she has no husband or children. Her uber-involvement in his life is to be expected. Then again, considering my own mother-daughter situation, I may be biased???
I'd like to know what "normal" people think of this book. Is it funny if it isn't quite so familiar?
ARC provided courtesy of Abrams