Cover image for Motherhood made a man out of me
Motherhood made a man out of me
Karbo, Karen.
Personal Author:
First US edition.
Publication Information:
New York, NY : Bloomsbury, [2000]

Physical Description:
212 pages ; 22 cm
Format :


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A novel of babies and friendship, mothers and fathers, and the havoc of procreation.

Brooke and Mary Rose are best friends. Brooke is the mother of a six-month-old. Mary Rose is pregnant. Brooke is married to Lyle, though, at times, she wonders why. Mary Rose would be married if Ward, the father of her child, weren't already. Ward and Brooke are cousins... A comedy of manners and biology, Karbo gives us a laugh-out-loud look at the wonders of pregnancy and motherhood. It is a world where the women are fierce and strong and the men duck and cover; a world that is turned upside down when the expecting mother turns out a most unexpected child. Motherhood Made a Man Out of Me celebrates the courage and strength of women and the bonds that join them "in the motherhood."

Author Notes

Karen Karbo is the author of two novels, The Diamond Lane and Trespassers Welcome Here , each of which was named a New York Times Notable Book of the Year. Her nonfiction has appeared in Vogue, Esquire, Entertainment Weekly, The New Republic, and The New York Times . She is currently a contributing editor to Cond Nast Sports for Women . She grew up in Southern California and now lives in Portland, Oregon with her husband, daughter and stepchildren.

Reviews 3

Booklist Review

The nature of the relationships in this novel won't be obvious until half-way through it. Brooke and Mary Rose are best friends. Mary Rose is pregnant by Brooke's cousin, who happens to be married to someone else. Brooke is smitten with her six-month-old daughter rather than with her husband. In the middle of that is a famous teen-love suicide, several good-looking professional basketball players, and plenty of morning sickness. The confusion adds to the comedy of it all, and the strong female characters drive the story to a surprising conclusion. Karbo writes about the intricacies of human nature and relationships with insight and humor, and her characters are realistic yet wonderfully over-the-top. The result is a fast-paced and delightful novel. --Ellie Barta-Moran

Publisher's Weekly Review

Karbo (The Diamond Lane) is at her best writing tongue-in-cheek riffs on sports and modern life and manages a successful marriage of the two in her sassy, satirical new novel. Living in the Pacific Northwest with her computer game-obsessed husband, Lyle, a photocopier-repairman, narrator Brooke finds that being the mother of six-month-old Stella has altered (i.e., obliterated) her former life as an independent movie producer; now she simply refers to herself as Brooke Stellamom. When her best friend, Mary Rose, an athletic gardener and single woman, reveals that she is pregnant by her new boyfriend, local scion (and Brooke's cousin) Ward Baron, the helpful narrator brings to the impending "blessed event" all of her hard-won maternal wisdom in the form of zinging one-liners and elbow-in-the-side chucklers. Ward, however, is soon revealed to be a less than perfect candidate for fatherhood: he is still married to his estranged wife, and his parents, gardening clients of Mary Rose, are incorrigible meddlers. The plot advances haphazardly, overshadowed by the narrator's har-har asides (disgruntled by Lyle's obsession with the Internet, Brooke assures herself that her baby Stella "would never marry someone like her father") and her enthusiasm for pro basketball. Both Brooke and Mary Rose are devoted fans of the Blazers (i.e., the free throws, the bodies), and their idolization of the players fits nicely, if improbably, into the narrative's denouement. Karbo relishes her characters' war stories of pregnancy and labor; the novel, without taking itself too seriously, proves in its cheeky details a fun (and accurate) sendup of the timeless trials of womanhood. (June) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Library Journal Review

Karbo's third novel (after The Diamond Lane and Trespassers Welcome Here) is an uproariously funny yet frank take on modern motherhood. While she carves her commentary with a razor wit, the author serves up equally sharp insights into the intense kinship among pregnant women and new mothers. Notes Karbo, "Motherhood is for women what war is for men. When they had more wars, more men knew what it was like to be a woman on the verge of being a mother, to be at an absolute point of no return." Narrator Brooke, mother of six-month-old Stella, gyrates through the joys, exhaustion, and contradictory feelings of new motherhood. What usually pass for ordinary events, such as grocery shopping and doctor visits, turn out to be anything but when they involve Brooke, Stella, or Brooke's best friend, Mary Rose, who is newly pregnant by Brooke's cousin Ward. Then there is a mother lode of funny characters: Ward's eccentric parents and brother; Brooke's hapless, indifferent husband, Lyle; and the Trail Blazer ball players. Karbo, a journalist and contributing editor to Conde Nast Sports for Women, has a topnotch ear for dialog and a sense of humor. This gem will keep readers in stitches from beginning to end and belongs in every public library.-Lisa Nussbaum, Euclid P.L., OH (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.