Book Review: Lemonade and Holy Stuff by Miranda Gargasz

lemonadeIf there were such thing as Queen For A Day then I would whole heartedly nominate Ohio based writer, Miranda Gargasz for she is the downtrodden EveryMom who willingly shares her incredible stories of motherhood, marriage, and friendship with the entire world.

In her recently published book, Lemonade and Holy Stuff, Gargasz bravely opens up about her experiences ranging from the gut-wrenching account of abuse she suffered by her parents to the hilarious story of her son swallowing a coin. Readers can expect to laugh and cry their way through the rowdy world of motherhood right alongside the brilliant and ambitious Gargasz. If anyone ever wanted to know the truth about motherhood, they can find it all in every shade and detail right here in Lemonade and Holy Stuff.

Miranda Gargasz’s essays have appeared online and in The Christian Science Monitor. Lemonade and Holy Stuff: Collected Essays, includes the essay “Mommie Dearest I Have Been” which won an Honorable Mention in the August/September 2011 essay competition on HumorPress.com. Lemonade and Holy Stuff: Collected Essays is currently available for Kindle and in paperback on Amazon.com and Barnesandnoble.com.

Not being a shy person, I reached out to meet my new nerdy book heroine, and I was pleasantly surprised by her generous acceptance at my invitation to be interviewed for my little blog at the Bangor Daily News. It is with great honor and giddy excitement that I offer to you, dear reader an introduction to a truly remarkable writer, Mrs. Miranda Gargasz!

Interview with Miranda Gargasz

How would you describe your Mom Blog personae?

I’m not the kind of mom or writer who pulls punches. I’m very much a “call them as I see them” kind of girl. Many times when people say that, they use it as an excuse to be rude. That’s not what I mean. By nature, I am an introvert. I prefer to observe the little things in life and write about them. The hustle and bustle of life isn’t very conducive to all of us taking the time to slow down and observe its beauty. That’s where I come in. I have often stopped complete strangers to tell them something beautiful about themselves that I observed, like how close their family seems, how I always see them grinning or how wonderful it is to see a grown daughter at my Weight Watchers meeting hug her mom with a smile every week. Those small moments are what make our lives worth living. When I started my first blog, Scattering Moments, that’s what I intended to write about: those little moments that get away from us if we don’t quickly collect them. My mothering is a lot like my writing: sometimes humorous, sometimes poignant, but always very real.

What compelled you to collect your blog essays and publish them?

Most of what I write about revolves around my husband and children. I thought it would be nice to have a bound collection of the stories I’ve collected about our family for each of my kids to keep and show my grandkids someday. Because I’ve always wanted to be a published author I thought I could kill two birds with one stone: fulfill my dream and pass something substantial down to my kids. Who wouldn’t want a book written by their grandmother about their dad when he was growing up? I decided a year ago to shut down my Scattering Moments blog and compile those posts along with essays I wrote in the time since and release them as Lemonade and Holy Stuff.

What kind of reception has Lemonade received so far?

Honestly, when I first released it, I thought my family and best friend would be the only people interested in reading it. The first week it was out, Lemonade and Holy Stuff was on Amazon’s Hot 100 books in the memoir genre. Little by little, by word of mouth, people are finding it and loving it. What more could I ask for?

What do you hope Lemonade will accomplish?

I hope that my essays touch people. Nothing gives me more joy than to hear someone tell me how something I wrote made them literally laugh out loud or brought them to tears. Every writer wants to see their art elicit emotion in people, but I’m more interested in sending the message that I think is at the core of Lemonade and Holy Stuff: Life is what you make it. It can be sweet or sour. What’s your choice going to be? Mine was to make the most of what I had. I hope that shows through.

What is your favorite essay in this collection?

Picking my favorite essay would be like picking my favorite kid! I don’t think I can. I have a favorite that I’ve written about each of my family members. About my husband, Jim, I think I’d choose “That’s Amore.” It is, at it’s core, the story of what made me fall in love with him. For my oldest son, Jimmy, “Missing: One Bunny Boy,” because he’s 13 years old now and I feel my baby slipping away every second of the day. For my youngest, Tony, it would be “Nine-Year-Old Lesson in Compassion” because I remember well the happy tears that flowed the morning that that essay is about. I’m swollen with pride for my family. I’ve got three really amazing guys under my roof.

Give my readers the old Elevator Speech for why they should buy Lemonade and Holy Stuff.

Lemonade and Holy Stuff is the story of every woman on this planet. Every mother, every wife, every aunt and every daughter. It extols the glamorous and not-so-glamorous sides of motherhood and life and basks in the beauty we create through change. It’s about the sweet that comes because of the sour. And, oh, how sweet it is.

Any writing or motherly advice for me?

As far as mothering, I fly by the seat of my pants most days, so I‘m in no position to give advice. Like every mother I know, I’m not in competition for Mother of the Year. This idea that there are “Mommy Wars” is a bunch of baloney. Mothers innately love their children and we all have different ways of accomplishing child rearing. As long as you can lay your head on a pillow at night and know that every decision you made that day was born of love, you are rocking motherhood. When it comes to writing, I think if you’re drawn to it you should do it. Keep doing it. Keep learning and keep honing your craft. Even the wisest man in the world has something to learn.

sarah cottrell

About sarah cottrell

Sarah Cottrell is a member of the Stay-At-Home-Mom Club and proud herder of two loud boys. She earned her MFA in 2012 and then accidentally washed it in a load of laundry. Sarah's work can be found on popular websites like Mamalode, BlogHer, and Scary Mommy. Her work will appear in two new parenting anthologies in 2015.