Elevate Difference

Don’t Say I Didn’t Warn You: Kids, Carbs, and the Coming Hormonal Apocalypse

Sassy southern belle Anita Renfroe’s sharp and charming wit weaves together a series of essays on everything from body image, motherhood, and the holiday season in Don't Say I Didn't Warn You. The book is the kind of happy, light read you just cannot put down.

Without bombarding you with a barrage of jokes like so many other books by comedians, Renfroe shares the lighter side of her world, and you laugh alongside her. She makes up her own pseudo-psychological terms: “Compulsive Counsel Disorder,” a mother’s inability to hold back from doling out advice; “RAD: Remodeling Affective Disorder,” what invigorates type-A people to complete all the projects they have been meaning to do all year.; and the “Tiny Tote-r,” a woman who a woman who can pack a mountain into a mole hill. The made-up terminology brings an unexpected layer of depth and humor to many of the vignettes.

The range of her new dictionary definitions give a glimpse of the topics covered throughout the book but only scratch the surface. The first third of the book focuses on the experience of motherhood particularly her own most poignant yet humorous moments as a mom. The second is a mish-mash of stories of her family and her thoughts on body image and the modern American woman. The last third is all about the holidays, trials and triumphs.

As Renfroe jumps from topic to topic, her voice strings the scatter of essays together and demonstrates her comedic vision. As much as I loved the variety, the essays felt somewhat disjointed, as if she took the strongest jokes from her acts and extended each one into an essay. There is a flow from piece to piece, but just barely; Renfroe relies on your following the stream of laughs instead of providing a clearly defined path from Point A to Point B.

This aside, with its appeal to motherly instincts and emphasis on the silliness of family and the holidays, I have found my mom’s Christmas present, though I will be sure to make clear this is not a plea for my mother to succumb to another bout of Compulsive Counsel Disorder.

Written by: Nicole Levitz, December 9th 2009