Critical Eye

Three books by Charlotte authors; three quick reviews for the busy and important set 

The Sweet By and By
By Todd Johnson (William Morrow)

The Sweet By and By By Todd Johnson (William Morrow)



The Must-Have Mom Manual
By Sara Ellington and Stephanie Triplett (Ballantine Books)
Ellington and Triplett share a parenting secret: there's no right way to be a mom. OK, so that's not much of a secret, but this mommy guide sheds light on how to effectively potty train your child or how to host a memorable b-day party without sacrificing your sanity. The book incorporates advice from docs, child psychologists, and other moms and tackles issues like postpartum depression and how to get your husband to pitch in. —Emily C. Brown

The Sweet By and By
By Todd Johnson (William Morrow)
Johnson explores how love, strength, and respect bind five North Carolina women, the most unlikely of friends, in his debut novel. Expect to laugh while reading the Southern dialogue that Johnson has crafted through alternating chapters from each character's point of view. Their collective stories are layered in description, detail, and time that will surely resonate with grandmothers, mothers, and daughters alike. —E. C. B.

The World Beneath
By Aaron Gwyn (W. W. Norton & Co.)
A young boy disappears and a sheriff hunts for him, while a local man struggles to reconcile his time in the first Iraq war. With spare, stark prose, Gwyn, who teaches fiction at UNCC, jumps between parallel narratives that ultimately intersect. This isn't mind-bending fiction, but the reader has to work a little bit. And, really, isn't anything worth having, worth working for? —Richard Thurmond

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