Having much respect for what Megan from Literary Life has to say, I took this book recommendation. Grudgingly, mind you. I shuffled off to the library in search of Mama Mia by Mia Freedman, the ex-editor of Cosmopolitan and editor-in-chief of a jumble of other ACP magazines. She has also worked in television and written columns for newspapers, and now blogs.
I’m not particularly fond of women’s magazines like Cosmo and Cleo. I’m sure they’re great for some people, but for me, they just make me feel like being a woman is a game that I’m playing but I don’t know the rules for. Which is a pretty lousy way to feel. Once I got past needing Dolly and Girlfriend to guide me through puberty, I got those things out of my life. However, Mia Freedman’s Mama Mia was recommended to me as a book with countless insights to the publishing industry, so I thought I’d better give it a whirl.
It wasn’t exactly a revelation in terms of publishing tips and tricks – I’m not interested in going into women’s magazines, but in terms of dishing the dirt on big Australian names, Mia Freedman has done pretty well.
That’s not to reduce the book to a gossip-fest: far from it. Mama Mia is equal parts about Mia’s career, and her life outside of her career, as a mother and wife. It made me laugh out loud, multiple times. It made me cry. Like real, tears-down-the-cheeks crying. I didn’t expect that.
The book is brutally honest, from Mia going into labour screaming to everyone around her “I need to POOOOOOOOO!” (that was a laughing moment), to wondering over her ‘failure’ at keeping her baby alive (tears here), followed by years and years of IVF.
The ‘mothering’ part of the memoir talked to me a lot more than the ‘magazines’ – however, the ‘magazines’ parts weren’t uninteresting to me, and I was surprised to find that there was only one part of the book that I was shaking my head at. “No, no I just can’t relate to that” – Mia talked about how all women bond over clothes shopping. *spew*
The tone of the memoir is conversational, and perhaps this is why there was only this one point that I felt I wasn’t a part of.
Mia Freedman has lived a life very memoir-worthy, and she’s written a book which speaks to readers as if they’re her friends. It’s honest, it’s funny, it’s heartbreaking, it’s accessible.
Overall, it’s pretty great.