MONTCLAIR, NJ - Montclair resident, Ylonda Gault Caviness, former senior producer at iVillage.com’s Pregnancy and Parenting section, was featured in the New York Times, and on the Brian Lehrer Show this week. Caviness was dropped off in a town car at Watchung Book Sellers from her last speaking engagement, and described the experience as “a complete whirlwind”.
A crowd of thirty people laughed steadily for over sixty minutes as the author hilariously covered subjects ranging from gynecology to depression to being a working mother. She read a portion of her book about her last pregnancy at age forty. She prefaced the reading by saying, “When I got pregnant I was scared. First of all I thought that baby was a fibroid for the longest time.”
Caviness described her mother as being a strong black woman with a no nonsense personality who may have seemed harsh to Caviness and her siblings when they were growing up, but whom she came to appreciate and cherish over the years for being wise, caring, and a fighter. Caviness shared some examples of things her mother told her even when she was a grown adult. She said, “My mom said, ‘Girl, you ain’t got enough in there to feed a rat’ when she saw me nursing my baby”.
What began as a parenting book filled with dos and don’ts, wound up a memoir about how all the new parent advice out there meant nothing compared with her mama’s old-school wisdom.
The witty and poignant author attributed her success with this book to the Book Doctors. She said, "There would not be a book without a Arielle Eckstut from the Book Doctors. She is my everything. She is my fairy god sister".
Founders of The Book Doctors, Arielle Eckstut and David Sterry, also Montclair residents, who have appeared everywhere from NPR’s Morning Edition to The New York Times ,were also present. Caviness was the winner of one of their famous Pitchapaloozas, a competition where aspiring authors pitch ideas for a book.
Eckstut said, "Ylonda is a truth teller. That's what is the essential ingredient to any memoir. And she tells the truth in beautiful prose and with laugh-out-loud humor. She is also writing about a subject that's oh-so-timely and taboo because it speaks provocatively on issues of race. What I particularly love about Child, Please is that it's a book that speaks equally to black and white women, just in different ways. To many black women, I think it will be comforting; to many white women, I think it will be inspiring. Bottom line: It's a fabulous book!"
The author told the crowd that a couple of her proposals were rejected, but she kept trying. When asked why the third proposal was accepted, she said, “I think sometimes ideas need to marinade until they’re ready”. Ultimately “Child, Please” was published by Penguin.
Caviness expressed happiness in publishing this book saying, “My biggest gift was handing this to my mom. I’d never seen my mother’s face so lit up. It was like Christmas and New Year’s and 4th of July all at once.”
Just in time for Mother’s Day, the author shared how lucky she was to be able to express her gratitude to her mother in this way. Caviness will be featured this Sunday on MSNBC with Alex Witt.
For more information, visit http://www.penguinrandomhouse.com/books/316388/child-please-by-ylonda-gault-caviness/