MILKSHAKE is “zingalicious”

My debut novel is available on Special e-book price: $2.99 for a limited time.

Praise for Milkshake

“SMART, COMPASSIONATE, gently ferocious and always hilarious, MILKSHAKE is about the spectrum of women’s mothering choices, breasts, breastfeeding, and babes, and how competition doth make fools of us all. Utterly charming.”

— Jenna Blum, New York Times bestselling author of Those Who Save Us and The Stormchasers

“I REALLY RELATED to the characters of the book, and didn’t want to put it down…It’s definitely a great read for any mom.”

– Jodi Grundig,

“IT’S NOT JUST THE social commentary factor (which, by the way, is not in any way anti-breastfeeding — only anti-zealot) that makes this novel such a pleasure. It’s the imminently amusing characters and clever storyline that make it a chuckle-out-loud, parodying page-turner about the politics of the new momism.”

— Stephanie Knaak,

“READ THIS BOOK while you’re in the middle of nursing a cluster-feeding 6-week old; read it while you pump; read it while you formula feed. Just read it, because no matter how you’re feeding your baby, you’ll laugh at yourself. And god knows, we could all stand to do a little more of that.”

— Suzanne Barston,

“MILKSHAKE SATISFIES with bright wit, fast-paced story, zingalicious dialogue and engaging characters. For those of us who tend to take ourselves a little too seriously when it comes to personal choices and political stands, it’s a friendly but incisive calling out. For those of us who’d rather not see the man behind the political curtain, it’s a gentle nudge with an electric cattle prod.”

— Joni Rodgers, New York Times bestselling author of Bald in the Land of Big Hair and The Hurricane Lover

Download MILKSHAKE on Kindle today or pick up a copy in print.

The end of retail politics?

SALEM, N.H. — IF BUDDY Roemer was ever starry-eyed about his candidacy for president, he isn’t anymore. He knows how to read polls, and also calendars. So he had an air of resignation last week as he prepared to meet a friendly but skeptical crowd, a half-dozen locals in a tiny room.

“I would have had a different strategy if I had known eight months ago what I know today,’’ Roemer said. Namely, the power of the televised debate.

Roemer, the former Louisiana governor, is following a grossly underfunded New Hampshire primary playbook from the past: He’s been crossing the state, pitching his story to reporters, talking to anyone who will listen. But because he’s barely made a dent in the polls, he has never made it into a national debate. Or, as Roemer might put it, because he’s never participated in a debate, he’s barely made a dent in the polls. The TV networks, he says, “are selecting the Republican nominee.’’

Read the rest of the column from the Boston Globe here.

Listen to a discussion on New Hampshire Public Radio here.

A TV list for 2011. Just because.

In my previous job, covering TV for the Globe, I took it upon myself to write an annual top-10 list. Not all critics like doing this; my friend Wesley Morris is always trying to bend the rules, coming up with 11 or 21 entries, or expanding the definition of a “list.” But I like reading lists, and I miss writing them, though my TV viewing isn’t as complete as it used to be. So I wrote one, rules-free, Wesley-style: my top ten favorite TV shows/moments/experiences of 2011, in no particular order.

1. Game of Thrones, HBO. When I first got the press kit from HBO, with its medieval facial hair and vast family trees, I thought, “No way in hell would I enjoy this.” I was wrong. From the mesmerizing credits sequence on, I was fully geeked out and blissfully happy. My favorite thing about the show is the depth of female characters. No pretty and pointless “Lord of the Rings” elves here. I’d match Daenerys Targaryen up to Lisbeth Salander anyday.

2) Louie, FX. Louis C.K. is one of the funniest comedians alive, and “Louie” is funny, too, but it’s also the saddest show on television, and the melancholy is beautiful to watch.

3) The “Remedial Chaos Theory” episode of Community, NBC. “Community” often runs the risk of being clever at the expense of funny, but this episode – about alternate timelines created by the roll of a dice — was genuinely clever, surprisingly sweet, and possibly one of my all-time favorite half-hours of TV. It understood its characters perfectly, and rewarded them for being themselves.

4) Homeland, Showtime. Speaking of characters: My mind is still spinning over Carrie Matheson, Saul Berenson, and Nick Brody, America’s most lovable TV terrorist. Yes, you had to suspend some disbelief to think a domestic terror plot would play out this way. And yes, I shared many people’s fears that this would show would fall into one of many “24” traps; I think I might have literally prayed that there wouldn’t be a mole in the CIA. But the writing was surprising, the directing was suspenseful, and the acting was impeccable.

5) All-American Muslim, TLC. No, it’s not the most interesting show on TV. It might be the most boring show on TV. But TLC’s under-attack docu-reality show deserves credit for being respectful and informative, and for sparking a healthy backlash against both paranoid haters and cowardly businesspeople.

6) Parks and Recreation, NBC. After Charlie Sheen’s implosion, I binged on “Two and a Half Men” episodes and grew profoundly depressed about the human condition. “Parks and Recreation” was the antidote, proof that you can be really funny and really nice at the same time.

7) The Republican presidential debates — all of them. Or at least, all of the ones I’ve managed to watch. Just as we’ve hit reality TV overload, here comes a docu-study of middle-aged politicians in suits: an insane cast of characters, steeled for conflict, experiencing the occasional brain freeze (“Oops”). They should just rename them “Real World: Des Moines.”

8.) Les Jeunes de Paris sketch, Saturday Night Live, NBC. There was nothing kookier and more enchanting on “SNL” this season than this choreographed dance to French pop music, the brainchild of most-valuable-featured-player Taran Killam. There were a few this year, but the best one featured Miley Cyrus, who is actually quite lovable when she’s dancing like a dork.

9) The Daily Show, Comedy Central. Still makes me laugh out loud on a nightly basis. And as political commentary, it always stings.

10) The Brady Bunch, my DVD player. No, it’s not televised right now, and the reruns haven’t aired for years. But once I rediscovered “The Brady Bunch” — while researching a column about the death of Sherwood Schwartz — the DVDs became a staple in my household. If “Parks and Rec” is the antidote to “Two and a Half Men,” then “The Brady Bunch” is the antidote to every obnoxious tween show on TV. It’s real kids, in real situations, and they fight, but with no sass. Also, the clothes are remarkable. “That’s quite a nightgown,” I told my seven-year-old the other night, as we watched Florence Henderson sashay across the screen while encased in pink gauze. “She has a lot of ‘quite’ nightgowns,” my daughter replied. So true. So true.

Courage, cowardice, and TLC’S ‘All-American Muslim’

IT HAS BEEN  deeply amusing to see companies twist themselves into knots to explain why they pulled ads from TLC’s “All-American Muslim’’ — specifically, why caving to a miniscule group of religious extremists does not, by definition, make them companies that cave to a miniscule group of religious extremists.

“We have a strong commitment to diversity and inclusion,’’ went a post on the Lowe’s Facebook page. Meanwhile, the CEO of wrote a blog post insisting that “we’re not bigots.’’ Rather, they’re just uncourageous: “We do try to avoid advertising on shows that may produce controversy, whether we support the content or not.’’

I’m still wondering where stands on the rest of the TLC lineup, which includes such shows as “The Virgin Diaries,’’ “Sister Wives,’’ and “Hoarding: Buried Alive.’’ I just watched a promo for an episode of “Strange Addiction,’’ in which a woman dips her fingers into her dead husband’s urn and eats the ashes.

By contrast, “All-American Muslim’’ is so milquetoast that it’s practically sleep-inducing. There’s a strong case to be made that “All-American Muslim’’ is TLC’s most benign show in years, and also its most useful.
Read the full column from the Boston Globe here. (Links are free!)

Breastfeeding wars: Who’s the enemy?

THINK POLITICS is a brutal, hateful business? Try motherhood. And look at the flood of triumph and frustration that poured onto the Internet last weekend, after Rhode Island hospitals announced they would stop giving out formula gift bags in maternity wards.

The “ban the bag’’ movement considers this a substantial victory against a global anti-breastfeeding conspiracy. Apparently, the thinking goes like this: Breastfeeding is hard; women are weak; formula is an easy out. So if that can of Similac is instantly available, it’s too likely that women will succumb.

But the backlash proves that women don’t take kindly to the prospect of being saved from themselves.

Read the full column from the Boston Globe here.