Picks and Pans Review: Amanda Bright@home

updated 06/02/2003 AT 01:00 AM EDT

originally published 06/02/2003 AT 01:00 AM EDT

by Danielle Crittenden

Modern, manic mothering has given birth to a new literary genre: the Mommy Diaries. The newest entry is by conservative journalist Crittenden, whose first novel finds conflicted mom Amanda Bright quitting her job as a publicist for the National Endowment for the Arts to raise two kids. Even mothers who can't ditch their careers will recognize the 24/7 juggling act required of today's parents and laugh at some fine satiric moments (the peanut butter cookie Bright's 5-year-old brings to school is a "loaded gun" to his peanut-allergic mates). But Crittenden has a tendency to whine (about potties, about self-worth). Her British counterpart, Allison Pearson, had more bite in last year's bestseller I Don't Know How She Does It. (Warner, $23.95)

BOTTOM LINE: Family fare that's only fair

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