Fightball is Pretty All True: A Book Review and Giveaway

This December 25th will be my 19th Christmas as a mother. 19.

(I think I did the math correctly. Jack’s 18 and he was .5 during his 1st Christmas so that makes this his 19th Christmas, right? Let’s go with it.)

Among my countless discoveries during our many holidays together are these:


What’s that? Everyone isn’t always telling you motherhood is glamorous and sunshiney?

Dang. I’ve been talking to the wrong people. Or maybe I’ve been reading the words of Kris Werhmeister for too long because she makes parenting look easy under the craziest of circumstances.

Okay. Not easy. What’s the word I’m looking for?


Just kidding. I made that up. I don’t think that word even appears in Fightball: Dying of Suck.

But it could appear there because according to this true(ish) book, 10-year-old Maj (pronounced like Taj in Taj Majal) and 8-year-old Kallan (pronounced the way you might imagine Kallan would be pronounced) are both constantly teetering upon the SHARP EDGE OF DOOM.

(At least in their own minds.)

Meanwhile Kris remains surprisingly unruffled. In fact most of the time she’s amused and/or delighted by her insanely smart daughters. And Kris should be. Because her daughters are amusing. And delightful. And insanely smart.

Like their mother.

When I began blogging in 2010 (right around Jack’s 14th Christmas) I stumbled upon Pretty All True and was immediately hooked. I followed Kris on Twitter and Facebook. I couldn’t get enough. In her writing, Kris taps into emotions both universal and one-of-a-kind. Her true(ish) stories make you laugh and wince and nod. The world’s a vastly more interesting place with her family in it.

(Full disclosure: I would need a nap every day just to keep up.)

Fightball: Dying of Suck chronicles the joy and chaos of one family’s move from California to Oregon. From homeschooling to public school. From nuttiness to…more nuttiness. Two parents, two kids, two dogs, two frogs. Farts and Beta fish. Jarred slugs and Evil Teachers of Doom (who aren’t really evil). There is distress over cheese. And trains. And germs. And school busses. And museums. Sisterly love and torment.

(Not necessarily in that order.)

My favorite chapters in Fightball are “Serving From the Toilet” and “Innocent Plagiarizing Bystander.”

Sure, you can try to guess what those titles mean but I’d buy the book here to find out for yourself.

You can leave a comment below for a chance to win Fightball: Dying of Suck. Kris is giving away three copies.

How pretty all awesome is that?

If you don’t know what to say, share your own doom-full holiday memory. Mine might be the time Jack knocked over our nine-foot tree while shooting me with his Nerf gun. (I think it was his 11th Christmas.)

Fa la la la la, la la, la la.


*I received a copy of Fightball in exchange for this review but all thoughts, opinions, and naps are my own.

54 thoughts on “Fightball is Pretty All True: A Book Review and Giveaway

  1. Bailey

    I would love to read this book! It must be exceptional for you to write a post about it and it also received all five star reviews on Amazon. My daughter is only two and is already hilarious, I would love to read about the shenanigans that are in store for parents of 8 and 10 year-olds.

    • Bailey,

      Contrary to popular opinion, I loved the two-year-old stage. Either that or it was so awful I have intentional amnesia. But I’m going with I loved it and I hope your holidays with your little girl are magical!

      I also hope you win a copy of this book!

      • I totally vote for Bailey to win.

        I know I don’t get a vote, but still.

  2. Diane

    Although I am not a mother myself, having married a man who is the oldest of ten with no desire of having his own children, I have watched as you became an amazing mother. Anyone whom you admire as a mom must be pretty special. I always enjoy reading the foibles of others and “Fightball” sounds as though it will be a good read. I look forward to reading it.

    • Foibles! Dang! I wish I had thought to use that word.

      You must be an English teacher

      • I vote for Diane to win.

        How many copies are you giving away? Three? Yes, definitely Diane. She enjoys foibles … come ON.

  3. Yikes! By your math (which I’m pretty sure is right), this is my 20th year as a mother. (How in the hell did that happen?) Thanks for reminding me that my son is about to be 19. 19!!!!!! But I digress….

    This book sounds fab. Any book about a nutty family and the suckage and wonderfulness of motherhood with a chapter titled “Serving from the Toilet” is definitely a book for me!

      (Well. One of the reasons. I can’t count them all.)

      Cheers to another nutty year of motherhood!

      • Charlene gets my vote because of her math skills … by my count, I have been a mother for 30 years (adding the ages of my 16 and 14 year-old daughters) plus another 471 years (adding together all the years I have owned dogs and multiplying by number of dogs and then again by seven because obviously).

        Which means I’ve been a mother since the dawn of time, basically.

        I was amazing as a home-schooling parent.

        Yes, I was.

  4. NannyK

    Oh I So CAN’T wait to read this book!!!
    The title alone….I can’t even 🙂
    I barely remember YOUR first Xmas as a mother, because I was chasing around my 2 yr old and ALMOST 1 year old.

    Seeing as how I’ve nearly died of suck many times in these 21 years, and am still laughing and enjoying my boys, I really, really REALLY hope I win a copy of Fightball!! ❤️

  5. I have witnessed some of the suck mentioned above and it has been glorious!

    (It’s even better now from the other side, right?)


    • I vote for Nanny K to win!

      I can vote for all the commenters, because I am a troublemaker.


      • Troublemakers are my favorite.

        • Right?

          We’re a good group.

  6. Suzan Hyssen

    This is the book I keep meaning to read. This one. Every review is great!

    (And the all-caps are intentional.)
    Seriously. It’s right up your alley.
    (Not a euphemism.)

    • The reviews of Fightball: Dying of Suck make me smile. I may or may not go and visit my book’s Amazon page just to skim through the lovely words and smile … several times a day … and by “several” I mean more than you imagine when I use the word “several, because sanity.

      I vote for Suzan to win.

      Not least because I love how she spells her name.

  8. Kris is one of the first bloggers I found when I started writing online. I love her words and can’t wait to read Fightball.

    • Julie Gardner

      Isn’t Kris great?

      I had a serious blog crush on her in 2010 and then got to know her as an ACTUAL PERSON (not in real life; I just mean eventually I figured out she was a real human being and not a Blogging Robot of Perfection).


      Now that sounds like a chapter title.

      • ROXANNE!

        I vote for Roxanne.

        I love Roxanne.

        It’s probably a good thing I’m not in charge of selecting the winners, as I’ve selected everyone so far.

  9. I’m intrigued enough to read it!

  10. Lexi,

    You have triplets.
    You. Must. Read.

    • Lexi has triplets?

      I would be honored if she made time in her life to read my book.

      I vote for Lexi.

  11. Dave

    She votes for me. Because I love her and her family. And her writing. And because I NEVER win! 🙂

    • This may need to be remedied, Dave.
      Not making any promises, but…

      • It’s true. Dave has tracked down every giveaway of Fightball and failed to win every single time.

        He could just go buy a copy, because obviously the stars are aligned against him.

        I vote for Dave to win!

        He won’t, because the universe has spoken, but I vote for Dave to win!

  12. Aparna Sreenivasan

    So, I agree, math is hard. I realize that as I help my son grapple with double digit multiplication and long division. I have the patience of Job for my students at the University (is it OK that I don’t actually know who Job is because I’m Hindu? But the reference comes from 45 years of living in the US?) – but when it comes to my kid saying, “I don’t remember the next step.” I just flip? That might be because next to all the other folks who left comments, I’m a novice mother – it’s only been 10 years. So perhaps my math patience will improve with experience. What I do know is that the harshest Christmas memory with my oldest kid was when he was three and wanted to make a big entrance at a holiday party/wedding reception at my in laws house. He came running into the living room, slipped in his footsie pajamas, crashed into the speaker system and all the music died – but there was plenty of noise because he howled so loud with tears and anger… I of course, was devastated for him. So I comforted him and then had another glass of wine.

    • Aparna,
      Rarely am I speechless.

      (I might be laughing silently though.)

      • I don’t believe I know Aparna, but she tells AWESOME stories.

        I vote for Aparna.

        Also, on the math thing … my older daughter is currently taking Pre-Calculus, and not once has she asked me for help.

        She is wise, that girl.

  13. Laurel Janssen

    Wow! My 7th Christmas as a mom, and you had me at “fightball”. Awesome sauce!

    • Laurel? I love people I can have with a single word. I vote for you.

      Good luck!

    • Laurel,
      You’re so lucky your math is still easy. I tapped out when Jack reached fractions. I think that was 3rd or 4th grade.

      Karly is in precalculus and I can barely spell that.

  14. This is a funny post because I can see how the subject matter inspired you to use a lighter voice. I mean I know your light voice but I don’t usually find it here in this space and I am glad you shared it! You know what I mean? It’s been a weird day, my brain is full, and this is just what I needed. I am not going to bother with math.

    • Kim,
      I’ve been missing my lighter voice.
      Stay tuned.

      Also, I’m right there with you in the conflicted feelings department. So much crazy in the world today. Sometimes we need a little escape.

      Related: Fightball

      • At the risk of butting in …

        In addition to offerings like Fightball, I also write of darkness. I have plenty of darkness, believe me. That said, there are times when lighter is better, and lately, I have been striving to use my lighter voice … in life and in writing.

        The other can wait its turn.

        • Your dark pieces (and introspective pieces and intense pieces) are among my favorites.

          Talent and insight. You have them both and they translate into both ends of the spectrum.

          • Julie –

            Did you read my first book – Hope Lies in Less?

            Let me know if you would like an e-copy, because I would love for you to read it.


          • Julie Gardner

            I didn’t read Hope Lies in Less and I’d love an e-copy.
            Yes, please.

  15. Sounds like the perfect read for how life feels right now. Gotta love the holidays!

    Favorite memory (sarcasm) was when my BIL/SIL had their kids do a scavenger hunt while we were all there so she could reveal a big family trip they were going on. My littles (at the time) were crushed that THEY didn’t get a family trip and we spent the rest of the night trying not to deprecate all of those involved in the crushing of our kids’ tiny Christmas dreams. Oh, the Christmas spirit!

    • I feel terrible laughing about that, Hallie!
      But oh my gosh, that’s just horrible and funny and horrible.

      (Only funny in the way people can be clueless about the feelings of others! Ha! Hahahahaha!)

      • OK, that’s it. Hallie has to win.

        The end.

  16. Wow Kris sounds just like the kind of person I imagine I’ll someday grow up to be. My hope is restored knowing there are people who can roll with the nuttiness instead of falling flat on their face like me. Thank you for sharing a way out of my hellhole

    • Rina,
      You have SO MUCH LOVE in you, lady.
      You’re already doing it right.


      • Rina? If you were here to ask my children, they would ROLL THEIR EYES DRAMATICALLY at the notion that I am an easy-going person.

        You must never meet my children, because I prefer the version of me that you imagine.

        Good luck! You’ve got my vote to win!

  17. Robin

    Listening to all you young mothers and as I experience this phase of my life called being a grandma (4 boys) guess what. It just gets more fun. And confusing. And exhausting. And absolutely wonderful. Round 2!

    • I can only imagine, Robin! I’m not ready for that stage quite yet (hear that, kids?) but I think being a grandparent will be indescribably awesome!

      • I have watched my mother be a grandparent, and I have seen the softening of the love she is able to offer.

        I too think being a grandmother will suit me.

        Plus, I will drive my daughters WILD.

  18. Jen

    I always appreciate motherhood honesty! We are not perfect & neither are our kids. Except mine, they might be… uh… never mind. But I love every bit of them anyway. Looks like a fantastic book! 🙂

    • Julie Gardner


      Kris is nothing if not honest.
      She shares the beauty marks and the warts (which aren’t always on the frogs).

      Do frogs have warts or is that a toad?
      (I’ll bet her kids know the answer.)

      • The frogs we have are smooth and green and gorgeous … Australian Tree Frogs, and not a wart to be found.

        All the warts around here are in my mothering.

        Sadly, very contagious.

  19. Rowena Sales

    I’m not much of a reader but this sounds like a book that i can just fall in love with. Motherhood at it’s best with all the ups and down…can’t wait to read it!

    • Julie Gardner


      You won’t so much be reading as LAUGHING.
      (With Kris and her family. Not at them. Mostly. The dogs are a different story.)

      • Reading and laughing is my very favorite kind of multi-tasking.

        Did I mention I vote for Rowena and Robin to win a copy of my book?

        Totally do.

        Hee hee.

  20. Oh my heart … away from the interwebzz I have been in spite of writing so many posts remaining in draft and of course, there are those that litter my brain and taunt me as i try to sleep. Two amazing writers here in this thread, in love and support of eachother when I feel I have known you both forever!
    Dear Kris, whom I have threatened to track down in her OR home – the book, the book – it is here and it is real … woot.
    And dear Julie, quite possibly … one of my greatest cheerleaders.
    So much love for all of this xxxx

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