Cruel Compendium #38 🏖️

Vulgar advice, American motherhood, and how to say "No❤️"

I’m Jillian Anthony, and this is Cruel Summer Book Club, a newsletter about change and living well. ICYMI, this week on the CSBC podcast I talked with life coach Catherine Andrews!

Also, I was a guest on the hilarious Receipts podcast this week! My comedian friends helped me revamp my Hinge profile, which was a humbling but truly revealing experience. Turns out, I’ve been dimming my own light. Give it a listen:

I’m reading

Isaac Fitzgerald takes a nighttime walk in NYC with Garnette Cadogan, who wrote one of the most memorable essays I’ve ever read: Walking while Black

American motherhood vs. the American work ethic by Rani Molla

The paradigm of the ideal worker who’s completely available for work is predicated on the notion that someone else (typically a female spouse) will take care of child care and domestic labor.

“The ideal worker norm tells you that you have to be dedicated to your job 24-7, you have to have your cell phone with you at all times, you have to be constantly available for email, you have to be ready to drop everything to finish that report. Essentially, you’re supposed to be dedicating your whole life to your work,” Jessica Calarco, an associate professor of sociology at Indiana University, told Recode. “Simultaneously, the ideal motherhood norm tells mothers that they are supposed to be dedicating their entire lives to their children, that they’re supposed to be willing to drop everything to meet their kids’ needs and to make sure that their kids’ well-being is put before all other things.”

Amanda Montei writes about escaping her home life by becoming a “wine mom” during the pandemic, before she decided to go sober

Trapped in domesticity while desperately trying to hang on to myself, staying sober all the time felt like just another order from above. Through all this pain and uncertainty, I was also supposed to stay stuck in my body?

Comedian Pat Regan (someone I stan with the force of the sun) writes a beautiful piece about wishing he could protect his younger sister with Down syndrome, a critique of Mare of Eastown, and the tyranny of teens

These people who work from home have a secret: They have two jobs. By Rachel Feintzeig. Fascinating! I wonder how offline of a person you need to be to pull this off. Check out the how-to at

Can reading make you happier? by Ceridwen Dovey. I’d never heard of bibliotherapy before—now I’m dying to try it.

Questionable self-care advice

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Support system

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Vision board

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Minerva moment


“ccb to be sad” by Ider

Listen to the full CSBC playlist here


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