“hey natalie jean”: a book review

June 16th, 2015
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If you’ve been hanging out here for some time, you know what a big (big!) fan I am of Natalie Holbrook – and her blog, Hey Natalie Jean. I read a lot of blogs, and though many come and go, Natalie’s is one that I a) never skip, and b) never regret spending time with.

Simply put, I adore this woman’s writing. It’s funny, insightful, raw, real and full of flaws – all of which Natalie owns full-on. I’m always struck at the notion that, here’s a woman many (many!) years younger than I, living a life quite different than my own, yet who I relate to so poignantly through everything she writes. It’s always like, YES! YES! I feel that way too! And even when I can’t relate per se, I just sit back and enjoy the sublime musings of this bright and talented lady.

hey natalie jean

So of course I seized the chance to buy Natalie’s book – Hey Natalie Jean – at an event she hosted at Madewell last month. Chelsea got to meet her, and I snared a hug in the process. I promptly got-to, and thoroughly enjoyed the book from beginning to end.

hey natalie jean

Hey Natalie Jean is “one part manifesto and three parts ideas, projects, and advice. Beautifully illustrated and whimsically designed, the book offers twenty-five essays and how-tos that serve as a guide to life: making date-night magic in the middle of the mundane, successfully exploring the city with a three-year-old, and creating a satisfying daily routine that still leaves room for little adventures and lots of magic.”

hey natalie jean

image credit: Hey Natalie Jean

I have to say, though I read Natalie’s blog on the regular (and there were a few passages that had previously appeared in the blog), holding a book in-hand was a nice change from staring at a computer screen. And the pieces that I had read before were now placed in a timeline and context that felt most appropriate to include in this book.

hey natalie jean

image credit: Hey Natalie Jean

It’s a funny thing, this blogging world – many veteran bloggers started out long before there was money (or notoriety) to be garnered from blogging. And the backlash from readers toward those who’ve become successful has been well documented on-line. I don’t want to waste time discussing the vitriol hurled at these women (and it’s pretty much ALL women bloggers on the receiving end of the viciousness), but the almost perverse wish of failure toward certain lifestyle/mommy bloggers who “dare” to make a living off their blog is truly bizarre to me. Not everyone is going to love this book – and isn’t that the case with any creative work? But if you like Natalie’s blog you’ll be happy to have her book on your shelf. And if you’re on the fence, spend some time with her blog first – I think you’ll be as charmed as I am.

hey natalie jean

image credit: Hey Natalie Jean

Here are some of my favorite quotes:

On homemaking: “A pot of soup on the stove. A fridge stocked full of Diet Coke and a freezer full of frozen chocolate. This is not a kingdom I’m embarrassed to rule over. I rule powerfully here. With grace and elegance and mercy. And sometimes false lashes.”

On motherhood: “Every moment has been the best it’s ever been. I have an entire lifetime of the best it’s ever beens to come, and oh boy do I look forward to it.”

On style: “Your white slouchy tee is your very best friend. Together you will take on the world!”

So I guess, actually, we have more in common than I realize – because this is exactly the way I feel (minus the false lashes). Though I’ve always worked, I’ve always been pretty much around. And I love that I’ve been able to do that. I’m proud of the roost I rule over. I’ve always thought that “this” stage is the “best” stage with my kids. And slouchy tees? Word.

I’ve been to many events over the past 4 1/2 years where I’ve had the opportunity to meet IRL bloggers whose work I’ve read and admired. And Natalie is one of the few who has been truly and genuinely gracious, friendly and engaged. And though so much negativity has been flung her way over recent years, she has responded not by shutting down comment threads or deflecting blame – but rather by taking accountability for her actions, firing back with trademark grace and humor, and embracing those who support her.

I have often shared Natalie’s writing with Chelsea, and was thrilled to introduce my daughter to another professional woman who I admire so. And I’m equally thrilled to have this space with which to share all of the things I love with you!

Note: I was not compensated for this post. Unless you count the hug I got when I bought my book. All comments and opinions expressed here are – as always – completely my own.

 

2 Responses to ““hey natalie jean”: a book review”

  • Great review, and how fun that you got to meet her!
    It’s so true about the “haters” out there who are pretty much wishing failure on bloggers. I just don’t get it. Seems like the problem lies within their own lives, and not with the bloggers to whom they are trying to drag down. Like your perspective, and I love my slouchy white tee’s!

    • Agreed – I’d find the whole “troll” thing fascinating from a “human behavior” perspective, were it not so ugly. And YES to slouchy tees! 🙂

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