A Little Book Told Me So…

24th March 2012

I am so very excited to bring you the newest feature here at The Picky Girl: A Little Book Told Me So. You send in your questions (anonymously if you choose), and we’ll see what bookish advice we can come up with just for you. Don’t want to leave a comment? Just email thepickygirlblog@gmail.com. Chime in each week if you have advice of your own or just want to commiserate.


Dear Picky Girl/Bookish Advice Giver,

My son, age 27, is a college graduate but has been unemployed for a year and living at home for three years. (Unfortunately, he was a journalism major.)I have been accused by Dad of enabling him and just recently told Sonny that he has to start paying rent on 4/1/12. He sits at the computer from 11-5 every weekday, but what he actually accomplishes is uncertain. Any advice for me?


Too Nice Mom


Dear Too Nice Mom,

Oh honey. This one stumped me until I realized what you really need. You need a swift kick in the pants. A soft one, maybe with the house shoes your man child is wearing while you’re working. This is as much about you as it is about Sonny. Have you read Armistead Maupin’s Tales of the City? This doesn’t sound exactly like you, but maybe it will make you laugh a bit:

Mom, I’m not coming home.

Mary Ann, you can’t just…run away from your family and friends to go live with a bunch of hippies and mass murderers!

You’ve been watching too much TV.

Ok….then what about The Horoscope?


The Horoscope. That crazy man. The killer.

Mom….the Zodiac.

Same difference.

You have the opposite problem. No worrying about The Zodiac. Your son’s home and under your care. He’s home, and it’s nice to still have your family together. He’s home, and the laundry piles up, and he’s playing Oregon Trail or Doom all day on the computer. He’s home, and suddenly the refrigerator seems to have a faster diminishing return on milk. The thing is, that resentment… “he sits at the computer from 11-5 every weekday, but what he accomplishes is uncertain” will eventually take over your relationship. For your relationship and for your husband’s (and your own) sanity, give Sonny his own kick in the pants. He’s on the computer all day? Bookmark monster.com and Hot Jobs.

Plus, maybe he needs some help. Unemployment is rough. It’s depressing (thus the mind-numbing computer all day), and it can be super hard to motivate yourself when you’re not seeing any results. Hand him the book Drop by Mat Johnson, about a 31-year-old who finishes college and goes on a crazy ride to find a job he loves. Tell him his job is finding a job. Sometimes that requires a little footwork. Set up a timeline for your expectations regarding his independent living situation *clears throat* end date of crashing at Mom and Dad’s.

Mary Ann, at one point in the book, decides she’s going home to Cleveland. She’s made a mistake in San Francisco, and that mistake glares at her, and she gets down on herself and wants to pack it in. You’re Sonny’s Cleveland. You’re safe, but as Mary Ann’s friend Michael tells her, “You’ve got to make things work for you. When you’re down to the seeds and stems, get out there and grab life.”

Simple as that, Too Nice Mom, and I promise you can let him do that.

   Hugs and Air Kisses,

  • Jenn, this is a fantastic notion! I think your advice is spot-on. Now I feel the urge to read both Tales of the City and Drop. A book dedicated to someone pursuing their dream job sounds particularly relevant in an age of depression-riddled unemployment blues.

    Again, cheers on a brilliant feature…I’m half-tempted, I confess, to submit a question of my own! I shall have to think up a suitable pen name. 🙂

    • Thank you! Yes, Tales of the City is fantastic. Drop is an odd little book, but I’ve remembered it for quite a long time and kept it, which is always a vote of confidence when it doesn’t get taken to the library for donation.

      Definitely submit a question!