Picks and Pans Review: The Lunch-Box Chronicles:
by Marion Winik
Winik isn't your typical soccer mom—if there is such a person. The thirtysomething widow of a gay man who died four years ago from AIDS, she writes for national magazines like Redbook and Parenting, does commentaries for NPR's All Things Considered and displays two photos of herself, topless, in her bedroom. But her experiences on the home front will definitely resonate. She admits to sending her boys (Vincie, 7, and Hayes, 9) to bed without brushing and flossing; she reconstructs in great detail the moment she lost the I'm-never-gonna-hit-my-kid battle; and she has completely accepted that dinner preparation often means emptying a can into a pot.
Occasionally Winik's recollections of life's everyday dramas seem calculated more to enlarge her page count than to enlighten readers. But her keen sense of humor and lack of self pity are refreshing, making this slender volume read like a letter from a friend who's making the best of a trying situation. (Pantheon, $22.95)
Bottom Line: A slice of wry