Parenting memoirs are a genre unto themselves in the U.S.. Here in Singapore? Not so much. The “parenting blogosphere” (mostly married women) tends to put parenting into soft focus—take a look at Instagram *shudder*—and little is said about the unpaid work, often mundane, boring, and unappreciated (both by other individuals and the state), that it is. In addition, “The Cult of the Yummy Mummy” is a thing here, both among Singaporeans and expatriates, and confessional writing is not.
So, when the kind folks at Epigram Books told me about I’m Not Perfect. I’m a Mom., a parenting memoir by pole dance and striptease instructor, Jasmine Han, and U.S. expatriate mother, Shelly Holly, my interest was piqued.
I read I’m Not Perfect. I’m a Mom. on Friday. My overall impression: meh.
I expected something different, something braver, something edgier. Sure, the narrator—a composite character which as a literary device does not work at all here—makes mention of post-baby sex, but the book is regressive (it relies heavily on the “hapless dad” stereotype) and generic. The anecdotes detailed here are a mere skimming over of a series of events, rather than a deep sink into the specificity and emotional reality of human experience. And little, if anything, is Singapore-specific with regards to parenting. I, for one, would have appreciated a more honest telling of the expatriate parenting experience from Holly.
Still, it is the first local book I’ve seen in this genre. And it’s a quick read (though my friends will tell you that I read very fast).