You’re Not the Boss of Me


“Candid and largely unapologetic, Los Angeles writer and mother of two Schickel indulges herself first, her kids next and arbiters of proper motherhood never in this frequently funny, entirely irreverent and occasionally inappropriate essay collection. Though she starts with an amusing pregnancy chronology (“Week 36-Your Baby is Now the Size of a Barcalounger”), Schickel makes her real subject apparent in the next essay, concerned wholly with trying to fit into a cool dress for a Patti Smith concert. More often than not, Schickel uses her rarified concerns to make cutting cultural observations; guilt over her inability to keep up with hip, feminist “Alterna-Moms” segues into a takedown of “Life-Stylers” in general: “Whether the theme is Urban Cowboy, Church Lady, [or] Sex-Positive Swinger … [they] seem to come with wardrobe, ideology, and upholstery swatches so you don’t have to make any difficult choices.” Occasionally she missteps with some you-had-to-be-there stories, like her night out with a girlfriend at a West L.A. strip club, but even there she manages some incisive last-minute commentary on the nature of desire-her own and her daughter’s. Amid crass language and off-color topics-including her post-natal marijuana habit (now ceased)-Schickel turns the parenting experience into a child-like search for sense among the rules we follow, make and break. Though both author and subject are prone to selfishness and immaturity, this bold, addictive collection deals honestly with the messy, confusing, scary human condition and comes out laughing.” -Publishers Weekly


Sometimes described as “Erma Bombeck in leather” Los Angeles writer Erika Schickel is sexier and hipper than the divine Erma, but just as side-splittingly funny as she shares her misadventures in marriage, pregnancy, and motherhood. It all begins with her discovery that unsafe sex with her hubby is hot-and impregnating. From Week 1 when Schickel’s embryo is as small as a pinhead to Week 39 when baby morphs to the size of Marlon Brando, she finds out that motherhood doesn’t change her mind or her irrepressible spirit (her body is another story). Erika still detests the SUV she calls her 4,299 pound mistake, she now accepts the life-altering power of a girdle when it helps her squeeze into a tight dress to rock out at a Patti Smith concert. Here she shares a decade of marriage and motherhood in a smart, outrageous, and laugh-out-loud book . . . perfect for anyone who’s done time in a modern American family.