If you thought your mother was crazy, meet the Adam's mother. She singlehandedly undid all the hard work of generations of Jewish women who wanted to erase the sterotype of an overbearing, smothering Jewish mother.
Adam spent most of his life trying to run away from her, but where she couldn't reach him personally, her letters would. Adam saved them all (for reasons unknown to him) and now, after watching the success one can enjoy cashing in on their parent's craziness (vide: Shit My Dad Says), decided to publish them. As he says in the beginning:
"For my mother, her letters are therapy. For me, her letters document my reason for therapy."
While Adam's narrative is a bit too chatty and uncordinated for my delicate literary tastes, his mother is precise and lapidary:
"On the 19th of this month, I will send you $100. Use it to buy groceries for the week. Try not to pyt chemicals in your system, like Prozac. If your grandfather were here (on your father's side), he'd tell you not to put that in your body."
She is the master of motherly haiku:
Grapes are very good for having bowel movements. I didn't see any grapes in your house.
While she cares very little for trivial events in her son's life, like, say, his engagement, or him getting a job with Elton John, she is always there to point out the important stuff, like the inadequacy of his thin coat in New York weather or the dangers of eating sushi.
Sure, she drove him crazy. Sure, this book book is funnier to read than to live. But don't be mistaken, Adam and his mom make one of a kind duo, and she certainly likes the limelight this book has put her in. Most likely because through this book she can expand her motherly instincts on thousands of unsuspecting readers.
I couldn't help but to like it. Hell, she does remind me of my own loving mother who calls me from Poland just to tell me I should eat algae to help me with my thyroid (which I have NO problems with!). But as Wikipedia says:
"The Jewish mother stereotype, then, has origins in the American Jewish community, with predecessors coming from Eastern Europe. In Israel, where the geographical background of Jews is more diverse, the same stereotypical mother is known as the Polish mother."
And as a person who pays a lot attention to the general look of the books (I fetishise them) let me say a few words about the cover. While I really like the photo, I am not sure why it seems that the letters are seated on the baby's head. However, maybe that the was idea.