Book Review: RHNY Alex McCord and Simon Van Kempen’s Little Kids, Big City

On the first season of Real Housewives of New York Alex McCord and her hip-attached Simon van Kempen acted like ridiculous social climbers. They spoke in haughty tones about getting in the social papers after visiting the Met’s Grand Opening, avoiding nonexistent paparazzi, grotesque sneers about “living in the suburbs,” and conspicuously blowing tens of thousands of $ on questionable fashion. They seemed fake, pretentious, and tasteless. They were play-acting a role they thought would represent them well, and that usually backfires on reality stars, on all of us,really.

By season three, before the camera’s lens they’ve turned into almost boring but very nice people who appear to be more reasonable, down-to-earth, and classy the whole rest of the Housewives bunch. Of course, there’s also rumors that they won’t be back next season, so I guess it doesn’t pay to come off as respectable on a reality show.

They’ve also got a book out with a mouthful title: Little Kids, Big City: Tales from a Real House in New York City (With Lessons on Life and Love for Your Own Concrete Jungle), which is actually worth the read.

It’s mostly written by Alex, and tells the story of two people who met on the internet for a one night stand, and found their own, quirky soul-mate. They both like to eat nice food, travel, and shop, so having children wasn’t on the agenda until Simon started feeling the tug of time and Alex thought their love for each other was spilling out and they needed extra buckets to catch it all.

They were pretty unconventional about pregnancy and childbirth, and Alex has a few weird contradictions, like drinking while she was pregnant and then refusing drugs during delivery. Alex claims she did research and decided for herself that drinking (and eating fish and processed cheese) during pregnancy was fine in moderation. I’m sorry, Alex, but I would be one of those people giving you the side eye about all that.

In all reality though that’s the only questionable thing about their book. It’s full of often entertaining and touching stories about both the joys and the annoyances of child-rearing, with funny lists and  special pointers  for parents who live in more urban areas. The love they have for their children Francois and Johan shines out from every single page.  Sure, most people wouldn’t name their children Francois and Johan or require that they know French, but many parents are too preoccupied with the miseries of life to teach their children to be curious and fall in love with the every day wonders of the world, a top parenting priority for Silex. They almost convinced me to have children. Almost.

Pick up their book for a quick, light, fun read and feel free to laugh at and with them. They know they’re kind of ridiculous. We all are. It’s the people who don’t know they’re ridiculous that you really have to watch out for.