23 August 2016

Review: The Struggle: Mom and the Summertime Blues by the Smith family

The Struggle is Real.

Or so my teenage daughter informs me. And as I inform her, she has first-world problems. Patrice Smith has four teen and pre-teen daughters who also suffer from first-world problems, and any modern parent will recognise the “issues”. They will also know how difficult it can be to keep children entertained during the long summer holidays without taking out a second mortgage to pay for entertainment.

The Struggle is one of Patrice Smith’s solutions to that problem. She got her four daughters to co-write a book as a summer project. While the four daughters in the story are supposedly fictional, I suspect a good part of each daughter comes out (especially in their comments about their sisters!) That’s one of the best parts of the book—the authentic and original voices of each daughter.

The other best part is the content, which I found hilarious (from my point of view as the mother of teens. I suspect teens might have quite a different view). The sisters share their frustration at being forced to participate in horrific summer activities as math homework, weeding the garden, and running! In the morning! Basically, not having a vacation as it is defined by Google.

Mom makes things even worse by requiring that they eat healthy food, not eat junk food, and use natural remedies (which I mostly agreed with, but I do have to side with the girls when it comes to homemade sunscreen). As if things couldn’t get worse, Mrs Smith insists on punctuating these horrors with teachable moments (I’d insert a winky emoticon here if I could. But I’m not a teen, so I can’t).

Okay, so the plot wasn’t as cohesive as most fiction I read and the English often had that high school flavour … but that’s appropriate and to be expected in a book written by students aged 10 to 14 and published by their parents.

Mrs Smith, keep up the good work.

Girls, listen to your mother. One day you will wake up and realise you sound just like her … and that’s something to be proud of.

Homeschooling parents—this could make a great project for the year.

Other parents—kids refusing to help out? I’m sure they’d rather clean their rooms/the bathroom/the entire house than be forced to write a book.

Thanks to Patrice Smith for providing a free ebook for review, and for providing me with some amusing inspiration through the words of your daughters.

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