Motherhood in the suburbs is an adventure unto itself. Social systems are constructed on your children’s achievements, your helpfulness in your community and your popularity among your fellow soccer moms. It can be a boring existence and it can be one that is easily shattered when you step out of the Stepford Wives Club.
For Lara Love Hardin, her step out comes when her million dollar home on a quiet cul-de-sac is met by the police who are there to arrest her and uncover what she has been doing behind the Stepford Wives façade. Hardin has been stealing her neighbor’s credit cards to fund her heroin addiction and now she faces being charged with 32 felonies and a lengthy jail sentence as she goes from soccer mom to inmate S32179.
Hardin quickly discovers that much like the intricacies of suburban soccer mom life, prison life also offers it’s own social system where candy is currency and tampon boxes make furniture. Also, there is the sad realization that not even prison can quell the adolescent behaviors that permeate through mom social life. Hardin quickly learns what it takes to climb the prison social ladder and becomes “the shot caller.”
In a memoir of falling from soccer mom social status to numbered prisoner, Hardin shows that even rock bottom doesn’t mean it is the end of your life. After her stint in prison, she goes on to become a ghost writer, writing her way through healing and redemption in a memoir that has you laughing, crying and cursing your way through as Hardin shows you that the hardest part of all is forgiving yourself. Powerfully raw–this memoir made me struggle through her journey with her, as a mother myself, I found it hard to sympathize with her and her return to drug use despite the damage it was doing to her young children. However, what kept me reading and loving her writing and her journey was that she told it with humor and humility and ultimately by having her darkest secrets discovered she was able to find herself, find forgiveness and build a new life.
The Many Lives of Mama Love by Lara Love Hardin will be released on August 1, 2023 from Simon and Schuster with ISBN 9781982197667. This review correspond to an advanced electronic galley that was supplied by the publisher in exchange for this review.