Book Review: Table for Six

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I hate to start a book review with a caveat, but here goes.

Caveat: I know Katrina Anne Willis, the author of this book. I met her a year ago at the San Francisco Writer’s Conference when I was pulled in by her unguarded smile and then blown away by her quick wit and the graphic booklet she carried with her that contained a synopsis of the book she was promoting. That book, Table for Six, is the subject of this review. Less than a year after the conference ended and we went our separate ways, Katrina and I remain internet writing pals and she is now a published author.  What an inspiration she continues to be!

To the best of my ability and with all sincerity, this review is not colored by the fact that I know the author. I believe it to be objective. The only thing altered by that fact is that I read the book at all. As many of you know, I am not a parent, nor a grandparent. I may have nieces, nephews and most recently a grandnephew, but I see them rarely and they always cried and squirmed in my arms when I held them when they were babies, like they sensed that I lack any parenting genes and might just let them drop to the floor if something more interesting grabbed my attention (which could be pretty much anything). The closest thing I have to kids are six dogs and one Mexican caretaker, who come to think of it often behaves like a spoiled 10 year old. So when Katrina told me about her book, I thought it probably wouldn’t be my cup of tea. I became anxious at the thought of having to give her honest feedback and possibly a public review. I thought, “What if I really don’t like it? Oh God, I probably won’t like it because it’s about kids and traditional family life. When have I given a shit about that?” I thought this book would only appeal to those who could nod their heads in agreement arrived at from direct common experience. Well I was wrong. And that is because…

Katrina Willis is one hell of a writer, (just occurred to me her kids might read this)…er, I mean, one heck of a writer. Anyone who can make me laugh out loud at the end of a long day when I am half asleep deserves the kudos and every five star review she’s been given on I laughed or guffawed at least a dozen times while reading it. She is not only funny, but irreverent (parents, this deserves at least a PG rating for language and a smattering of sexual content along with a dash of innuendo) and a keen observer of the human condition. She knows how to weave an engaging story from the strands that are the day to day experiences of an OCD-conquering mother of four quirky and unique little people. By the end of the book, I’d fallen in love with her entire brood and her witty, patient, loud-talking husband. Her writing was so clear and emotive that I feel like I know them all, intimately, maybe a little too intimately (the words vomit, diarrhea, and, my personal favorite, dick tick appear more than once among the pages, you decide).  She made me want to invite her over for coffee or a glass of her favorite Cabernet.

I am reticent to say anything negative about this book, but in all fairness, if it has any failings at all, it is that at first, I was a bit jarred by the manner in which the stories were pulled together, blog-like, and their not-quite-chronological order. In her defense however, Ms. Willis does warn us about this in her Prologue. A few sections into the book, I quickly got into the rhythm, relaxed and let her take me along on a ride that rivals Mr. Toad’s.

So read it. The world needs more laughter (and irreverence).


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