This book reminded me of advice I’ve given my children; everyone has challenges they’re coping with. Some challenges you can see, others are hidden; the goal is to face them with as little self-pity and as much grace as you can muster. Davies accomplishes this in her debut collection of essays about her life from childhood to being mother of a disabled son. Her stories are disarmingly candid, sometimes painful, frequently humorous. Beautifully written with often an earthy voice, they portray a vulnerable woman who has reconciled herself to the decisions she’s made or those that have been thrust upon her. As a child, her family’s frequent moves made her the new kid trying to fit in; her parents eventually divorced. She married young, became a mother, battled post-partum depression, then divorced. Her observations of being a suburban mom, watching her children grow up and leave are spot on. Davies’s unexpected, most significant challenge is revealed in the heartbreaking title essay, “Mothers of Sparta.” When a baby was born in Sparta, a council of elders would examine the baby to determine its fitness as a future Spartan warrior. If the baby didn’t pass the test, it was thrown in a pit to die. Davies compares these Spartan mothers’ dilemmas to hers when she asks what a mother should do when her child isn’t born “right” and is troubled? Davies appears to meet this challenge with the grace of a mother’s fierce love but without indulging in self-pity. A remarkable accomplishment.