I feel kind of guilty telling you what a blissfully great beach read this is, because it clearly came at a great cost to Rebecca Eckler, the author. I mean, here she is, struggling with bonus children and a spongy plus one and a piece-of-work-non-mother in law, and I’m saying to you: “Bring this to the pool! It’s a great read!” How do we reconcile juicy, tell-all memoirs of heartbreak with our curiosity to read them? I’m not sure, but I’ll tell you one thing - I loved the book.
The bliss in reading this book is not from gawking at Eckler’s misfortune. It comes from her authentic voice and openness about what living in this family was like for her. Let me give you an example. Rebecca makes up a series of fruit related code words for her daughter to express her feelings; “Mango = Feeling left out. Apple = I just want to be with you,” and so on. As a mom, I can 100% relate to wanting to make sure that my daughter is okay and that the lines of communication between her and I would always be open, no matter what was going on around us. This is the kind of small detail that Rebecca is willing to share with her readers so that, even if we come from completely different family situations, there are aspects of her story that are relatable. It’s the kind of thing that feels personal, that you would share only with your closest BFFs.
Also, throughout the ups and downs (spoiler alert: mostly downs) brought on by the Blending, Rebecca gives us some insight as to where her personal bliss comes from. She says that trips to Miami with her daughter are “both a luxury and a necessity for me.” It’s how they celebrate her daughter’s birthday. We understand from this that one on one time with her daughter re-energizes Eckler and allows her moments of bliss despite living in a blender. Eckler also heads off to Mexico to her condo when she needs to. Slowly we are able to piece together a portrait of a woman who, although she has been through the wringer (I was going to say blender but it seemed kind of cheap) and back, can find her bliss in snippets of time on the beach, yoga class and my personal favourite, a great pair of shoes.
By writing this book, Rebecca paves the way for other women to be honest about how difficult and challenging it can be to blend two existing families. In one scene, she talks about the Hi/Bye fight, where her bonus daughters are upset because she doesn’t say hello when they enter the house. She thinks the person entering the house should be the first to say hello. The interesting thing about this argument is that Rebecca ends up discussing it with blended friends who agree and say the same fight happens in their houses too!! I would guess that many readers of this book will recognize aspects and feel validated if not downright blissful that they are not alone in their fights that might appear petty to outsiders.
In conclusion, Blissfully Blended Bullshit is entertaining. Rebecca’s crisp and clear writing style keeps the pages turning super quickly and before you know it the book is over. To me, that kind of reading is pure bliss.