Monday, October 16, 2006

Ellen Meister's SECRET CONFESSIONS OF THE APPLEWOOD PTA

The cover of Ellen Meister's debut novel has a Lichtenstein-inspired tongue-in-cheek rendering of four women standing before a backdrop of Suburbia, USA. The woman in the foreground has a thought-bubble that reads, "A MOVIE STAR IS COMING TO TOWN AND MY FRIENDS WANT TO DATE HIM!"

But the thought-bubble should read, "A MOVIE STAR IS COMING TO TOWN AND MY FRIENDS WANT TO SHTUP HIM!" Because--let me just tell you now--in Applewood? There's a whole lotta shtuppin' goin on.

Not that there's anything wrong with shtupping...I'm just saying.

Seriously, I had so much fun reading this book. The main characters are likeable and quirky, with real lives and families, real faults and longings, that make you see them as full, complete people and not the cardboard cutouts so many authors working in similar genres have produced. (And, actually, I'm not even sure what I mean by "similar genres," since I have to say that even though a hot pink cover has become synonymous lately with a "chick lit" label, this novel is not your traditional chick-litty book. It's full and rich and generously sprinkled with emotional, humorous, sexy surprises.)

And the minor characters delight as well: the husband, who, following a drug-induced stroke (more or less of his own making) is left impotent and yet perversely sexually uninhibited; the private investigator who is an emotionally sensitive wreck; the alcoholic blues-singing mother who keeps trying to upstage a talented daughter who could care less about being upstaged; the womanizing best-male-friend-cum-almost-lover; the evangelical-pure-on-the-surface, animal-in-bed widower who is also Applewood's most eligible bachelor; the smooth-veneered catty PTA maven who has her own dirty little secrets; and, of course, the infamous roving rock that has spawned so much trouble. (Do rocks spawn??....if they do anywhere, it would be in hyper-fertile Applewood.)

What? You've never heard of Applewood Rock? Why, it's right up there with Plymouth Rock, people. Wars have been started over lesser objects. But don't believe me: get the book, slip between the covers, and have the time of your life. This is a seriously funny, engaging, endearing read.

3 comments:

Susan Henderson said...

It's a funny, funny book with heart!

Ellen said...

Mary, thanks so much for this review! And Sue, thank you, too!

katrina said...

Great review! I loved Ellen's book!