Author: Celia Rivenbark
Hardback: 262 pages
Date Published: September 2006
Publisher: St. Martin’s Press
When my daughter announced her class was taking a field trip, I involuntarily shrieked “No!” but then had to realize that it was doubtful the kindergarten classes were going to prison or the dookie factory.
Indeed, it was the zoo. This would be safe and fun, I thought. Animals frolicking – what could go wrong?
Well, for starters, the baboon, who was frankly obsessed with amorous activities that didn’t require a partner.
“What’s he doing?” a few of the kids asked.
My husband, who was the only man who had come along to chaperone, decided he would deal with this question, and deal with it he did.
“That’s just the traditional baboon way of waving hello,” he said, sounding remarkably poised and knowledgeable.
“Oh,” a little boy in the class said. “Should we wave back?”
“Oh, God no.”
Next up: the “desert habitat” where an ancient camel proceeded to amuse the children by leaning down to eat his own shit. Without even moving his legs, the giraffe savored every bite as if it were the Christmas ham.
“Oooh, icky gross! I think I’m gonna hurl!”
“It’s just nature,” said one of the kids, trying to comfort my husband.
–Stop Dressing Your Six-Year-Old Like a Skank by Celia Rivenbark, pages 53-54
I first heard about Stop Dressing Your Six-Year-Old Like a Skank by Celia Rivenbark on the April Books Brought Home Library Thing thread (the discussion starts going around message 174). It created quite a stir, as everyone passed around their “bad parents and monstrous children” horror stories. With the conversations circulating, as well as it’s hilarious-but-shocking title, I knew I wanted to read this book. So I clicked on over to BookMooch, entered the title in the search bar, and voila! mooched the only copy available.
When it arrived in the mail on Saturday, I cracked open the book and just glanced at the title of the first chapter: There’s Always Tomorrow(land): “If You Really Loved Me, You’d Buy Me Pal Mickey”. The chapter’s about Celia planning and taking her family to Disney World. Before I realized it, I was at the end of the chapter, ripped envelope still in my lap, and bladder barely holding its ground after all the laughter. The whole book is like that, and you just about have to tear the book from your hands to put it down to make dinner, sleep or even go to the bathroom (okay, I admit it… Celia went there, too).
With the charm of a Southern Belle, and a snarky, sarcastic wit, Miss Celia expresses all that it is to be a mother/wife/career woman/person with the sense God gave a goose in this day and age. She tells of her experience trying to buy size 7 clothes for her six-year-old, and only finding outfits that’d make a Vegas showgirl feel naked. Later, she points out that grown women in character-embossed clothes need to grow up, which points out the Topsy-turvy nature of the American culture today: Children dressing like sexually mature adults and grown-ups dressing like school kids at play.
Each chapter’s title both encompasses its contents, while being surprising and tongue-in-cheek. A few examples of this are:
- Yo Yo Yo! Where Can a Sista Get a Cowgirl Outfit?: Holidays Make This Mama Wanna Get in Your Grille
- Weary Mom to Uppity Teens: At Least I Know Where the Continent of Chile Is
- Field Trip, Fornification, and a Shit-Eating Giraffe: Who Says School Can’t Be Fun?
- Montel’s Smoking Weed: (But Will He Share With Sylvia the Psychic?)
- Reality Bites: Super Skanks Lewinsky and Hilton Are Fun to Watch, but Those 100-Pound Toddlers Rule!
- The Butcher’s Great, the Baker’s Suffering: But How Is the Anti-Carb Frenzy Affecting the Candlestick Maker?
- The Paradoxical Male: Smart Enough to Find “Me Time,” but Dumb Enough to Get Stuck Buying the Tampons
- If It Ain’t On eBay, It Ain’t Worth Having: (Whoa! Is That Willie Nelson’s Face in Your Grits?)
- Politicians Serve Up McValues: (With Extra Cheese on the Side)
Amidst the humor and anecdotes, Rivenbark manages to slip in facts and evidence that support her position, but you’re too busy laughing and enjoying her company to realize “Hey, there’s serious journalism going on here!”
I enjoyed Stop Dressing Your Six-Year-Old Like a Skank by Celia Rivenbark immensely, and am going to buy a new copy from Amazon and have it shipped to my mom for Mother’s Day (don’t tell her, or you’ll ruin the surprise!). All the way through, I could just hear my mom’s voice in Rivenbark, and I know she’ll enjoy it as much as I did. While the book won’t stay with me as far as remembering specifics, the feeling of fun and laughter will live on, and I’m sure that when I re-read this review a year from now, I’ll remember specifics in the chapters mention, and laugh again. For the joy it’s given me and will give to my mom and myself in the future, I give Stop Dressing Your Six-Year-Old Like a Skank by Celia Rivenbark 4 iout of 5 Krispy Kreme donuts 😀
In this video clip, Celia Rivenbark opens up a book signing by reading an anecdote in an email from a friend.
Filed under: Book Reviews | Tagged: Adult, Adult humor, American, American South, barbeque, comedy, culture, Disney World, funny, humor, huzzbands, Krispy Kreme, motherhood, non-fiction, North Carolina, poop eating animals, satire, school field trip, slacker mom, snarky, social commentary, south, Southern, southern culture, southern living, southern women, Southernisms, women, zoo | 5 Comments »