Sunday, May 8, 2016

Book Review: Meternity, by Meghann Foye

"One more. How many weeks are you right now?"

"I don't know?" I freeze. I look down at the app. Since "weeks" start on Mondays, I'm at the tail end of sixteen weeks. Just a little over five months until October 20. My "due date," I realize with strange solemnity.
Everywhere, the sights and sounds of possibility are brewing. Maybe more is out there than I've let myself realize. Maybe my friends are right.

I sit back in my chair and allow the idea of a "me-turnity leave" - time off for me to really figure out what I want to do with my life - to take hold ... Could this be it?

A few weeks ago, I read a review of Meternity on one of the book blogs I follow, Chick Lit Central, and it sounded like a fun read. A week or so later, an article written by the author was being shared by a good percentage of my Facebook friends - mommies or not - and was being hotly debated, as well as its counterpoint article. Even my friends who are childless were saying things like "OMG, this is awful - what a selfish person," etc. I also found it unfair that the book on Amazon was getting all 1-star ratings - probably from people who haven't even read it!

After all this, I was definitely curious to read the book, and I found it to be not unlike most cute "chick lit" books I have read - entertaining and a fast read.

Official synopsis:
Not quite knocked up…

Like everyone in New York media, editor Liz Buckley runs on cupcakes, caffeine and cocktails. But at thirty-one, she's plateaued at
Paddy Cakes, a glossy baby magazine that flogs thousand-dollar strollers to entitled, hypercompetitive spawn-havers.

Liz has spent years working a gazillion hours a week picking up the slack for coworkers with kids, and she's tired of it. So one day when her stress-related nausea is mistaken for morning sickness by her bosses—boom! Liz is promoted to the mommy track. She decides to run with it and plans to use her paid time off to figure out her life: work, love and otherwise. It'll be her "meternity" leave.

By day, Liz rocks a foam-rubber belly under fab maternity outfits. By night, she dumps the bump for karaoke nights and boozy dinners out. But how long can she keep up her charade…and hide it from the guy who might just be The One?

As her "due date" approaches, Liz is exhausted—and exhilarated—by the ruse, the guilt and the feelings brought on by a totally fictional belly-tenant…about happiness, success, family and the nature of love.

Liz Buckley is thirty-one years old, and she's been working at Paddy Cakes, a mommy magazine, for about ten years now. She's tired of working long hours with the promise of a raise, but nothing concrete. Her boss, Alix, dumps all of her own work on Liz as well. One day, she's not feeling well and she throws up while at her job; her boss assumes she's pregnant, and she just goes with it.

The plan is to rock a (fake) baby bump for a few months or so, all while covertly applying to travel writer and freelance writer jobs, so that she can get out of Paddy Cakes before her "due date." However, things get out of hand, and before she knows it, she's still employed by the magazine and her "due date" is fast approaching.

^ I will say this trailer is not my favorite ...

One of the Amazon reviewers hit the nail on the head when she/he said this:
The book also shows how hard both motherhood and single life in the city can be. The ultimate message is that women need to stop judging others, have empathy for one another and start helping each other. Cheers to Foye for that!!
In the Foye article I linked to above, too, she's really comparing a "meternity" leave to a sabbatical; however, people who don't read between the lines (or even read the whole article) may miss that. Consider this paragraph, for example:
As for me, I did eventually give notice at my job and take a “meternity” of my own. I may not have been changing diapers, but I grappled with self-doubt for the year and a half that I spent away from the corporate world. And I grieved the loss of my dad, who had just died after a long illness. But a “meternity” done right should be challenging. It should be about digging into your whole life and emerging from it more confident in who you are.
I found the main character of Meternity, Liz, to be a little selfish at first - she does think motherhood is easy, and that her coworkers get to leave work early or come in late all the time because of it - but she definitely matures throughout the novel, and by the end of it, she realizes that it's not as easy as it looks.

I'll admit that I started reading this novel too because I was curious to see how Liz would pull off her meternity at the end of it - if she would start posting fake pictures of her fake baby, etc. - and it did wrap up a little too neatly than it might have, in the real world, but overall I enjoyed the book, and it's an interesting read.

3.5 stars out of 5.
{Click here to purchase}

*Disclosure: I received a copy of this book from NetGalley for reviewing purposes. The opinions expressed here, however, are my own.


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