Courtesy Mary Wyatt
Kate Siegel ’11

The book: If you thought your parent was annoying, think again. Kate Siegel ’11’s mother drove her so crazy that she started the Instagram account @CrazyJewishMom, in which Siegel posts text conversations between her and her mom. Before she knew it, the account had hundreds of thousands of followers.

Now she has written a collection of essays called Mother, Can You NOT?, in which she shares the stories behind the texts, elaborating on the times when her mother sent Spanx to her office, gave her number to a stranger in a coffee shop because he was a cute lawyer who went to Yale, and when she stole a cat from the pound after being convinced it was the reincarnated spirit of a former pet.

Siegel pays tribute to the woman behind the stories — the woman who she says redefined the term “helicopter parent” — and demonstrates what it is like to be on the receiving end of her mother’s particular blend of unconditional love and withering sarcasm.

The author: Siegel’s work has been featured in The Huffington Post, BuzzFeed, People magazine, and on the Ellen DeGeneres Show. She studied English, creative writing, and theater at Princeton.

Opening lines: “Here are a few bullet points from my mother’s highly detailed vision of how my life should look:

  • Career: Rich entertainment attorney with a degree from Harvard Law
  • Procreation: Two to four ‘grandspawn’ to leave in her care, freeing me up to HAVE IT ALL! (She’s fine with a sperm donor.)
  • Love: Marry Mark Zuckerberg or Oprah Winfrey

Judging by this, I’m a huge disappointment with my creative writing aspirations, empty womb, and failure to even meet, let alone marry, Mark or Oprah. Fortunately, my mother recognizes that her meticulously constructed idea of my ideal life is not necessarily what I want…

Like all good parents, my mother ultimately supports my dreams. Unlike most parents, she will do everything short of murdering someone to make sure they come true.”

Reviews: The New York Observer says, “[I]nsanely funny… it is entirely worth the read!”