What Mama Reads: Hot-Mess Women with Too Much Drama

I think the phrase “hot mess” is perfect. I’m thrilled to live in a day and age when it flourishes.

I don’t normally self-depreciate enough to believe that I fall into this category on a regular basis, but I do toe the line on occasion (see: carrying vomiting child through Disney parking lot here).

Google’s definition is worth a share:

Hot Mess: a person or thing that is spectacularly unsuccessful or disordered, especially one that is a source of peculiar fascination.

I think being a hot mess for an extended period of time would be grating and exhausting, especially to those around you. I don’t love drama, so those who exude it make me want to sit on my couch, turn off my phone, and watch some This is Us by myself (which, ironically, is a drama…dramedy?).

I’ve been suckered in by a few books lately about women who fit into the searing disarray category. The hook is amusing, but after awhile, I start questioning if people really live this way. How can you be such a wreck? My husband says they portray their lives this way to sell books, but I’m not sure if I completely believe his assumption.

And so, if you like drama–especially other people’s drama–here are a few worthy reads.

bridesmaidAlways a Bridesmaid (for Hire) by Jen Glantz

This one caught me looking on my library’s recommendations table. Jen owns her hot-mess status. After being asked to be a bridesmaid numerous times, she semi-seriously put up a Craigslist post advertising her professional bridesmaid services as “The gal pal you never knew you needed during the time you need her the most,” according to her website. Well, Buzzfeed picked it up, and the world went crazy. She launched her own business and spends weekends pretending to be different brides’ best friend in order to help them get down the aisle.

It’s a super-cute premise, and some of the writing was laugh-out-loud fun. However, I’d say about 40% of the book was actually about her bridesmaid business. The rest was about her dismal love life and how rough it is being single (and almost 30) in New York City. Still interesting, but a bit grating. I’m just over the sob saga of my generation whining about having to grow up. Then again, I got married at 22, so do I even get an opinion?

confessionsConfessions of a Domestic Failure by Bunmi Laditan

OK, this puppy literally has “hot mess” imprinted on the cover. Confession–this is a novel, but the dramatization is the same. Ms. Laditan is best known for Honest Toddler, which, as the mother of a toddler and a pre-toddler, I find absolutely hilarious and spot-on. In her novel, Ashley Keller is an overwrought, overwhelmed mother of one who can’t determine her identity as a mom or her place in the world. A lot of it’s applicable and honest, but I just don’t understand how anyone can be that bad at life. But I do like the hyperbole of motherhood today. The standards we set for ourselves and are impressed on us are simply ridiculous, and I love how Laditan calls out those missteps.

hyperboleHyperbole and a Half by Allie Brosh

I read this a few years ago and still think of it as the funniest book I’ve ever read. I’m not the most emotional reader, but I had tears running down. It’s a collection of Allie Brosh’s life stories complete with Microsoft Paint-quality drawings. So simple, yet hilariously perfect.


At the risk of sounding cold-hearted, I did get bogged down in her stories about her depression. Things get pretty real, which I suppose is an important topic and goal of literature. It’s just … I was sold a book with a great premise to make me laugh. Mission accomplished. I just wasn’t ready to handle your emotional baggage as well. This reminds me of when I was quite a bit younger, I’d find myself praying for fictional characters in the novel I was reading. This wasn’t intentional, but I was so mentally involved with the story that I had trouble pulling away. Mama can only handle so much personal drama! I don’t have the energy to shoulder yours too!

Don’t even get me started on Girl on a Train, Gone Girl, or other books of their ilk. Also, I tried to listen to Bridget Jones’s Diary on audio book and felt exhausted by chapter two. Whew.

For more time-wasting fun, visit Brosh’s website (sad, sad, sadly it’s no longer updated). Read up on her grammatical feelings about the alot. Also, this one is in the book, but it’s my favorite story.

Got any favorite tales of hot messes? Share in the comments!

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