Pop Culture Princess

Pop Culture Princess
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Friday, September 21, 2007

Odd Mom Out fits right into a modern woman's reading life

In Jane Porter's new novel,Odd Mom Out, we meet Marta Zinsser ,who has always been an independant gal,preferring jeans and boots over Prada and Jimmy Choos in her wardrobe,along with treasuring her Harley Davidson Hog and beat up old truck to a SUV anyday. Her nine year old daughter,Eva,is more of a traditionalist who,while a bright and well read girl,strives to fit in with the Mean Girls crowd at her new school in Bellevue, Seattle.

Marta and Eva moved from New York back to Seattle where Marta grew up,to be closer to her parents. Her mother is slowly being overcome by Alzheimer's and Marta wants Eva to be able to bond with her grandmother before her memory goes completely. Marta is also tackling the challenge of starting up her own advertising agency,working from home with a small but dedicated staff.

That challenge is nothing compared to the culture clash between Marta and the Bellevue moms,who seem like a hybrid of Stepford Wives and Heathers. Eva wants her mother to be more like the type of mother that Taylor Young(whose snobby daughter,Jemma,is the queen bee of the fourth grade hive of popular girls)is.

Marta doesn't want Eva to put herself in that conformist cookie cutter mold but does want her daughter to fit in amongst her peers,so she offers to be a classroom volunteer mom. Marta figures that she'd only have to pitch in for the occasional bake sale or class trip but it turns out that all of the other moms take their classroom duties as seriously as a full time job and schedule their workload as tightly as any of the corporations that most of their husbands work for.

In addition to juggling home,work and family obligations,Marta throws another ball into the air by taking a chance on romance(after ten years)with Luke Flynn,a rather rugged fellow who clearly does not fit into the suit and tie mix of men usually seen about Bellevue. Turns out that Luke is not just the simple outdoorsy type that Marta originally took him for-in fact,he's more than a match for her stubborn refusal to let others into her inner emotional world and gently but firmly breaks down some of the self imposed barriers that Marta has put up around not only her but Eva as well.

This may sound like your typical suburban mom fish out of water story,but Porter tackles a number of thought provoking issues such as the pressures of being a single working mother and the fierce infighting amongst women that spills over into the next generation of girls looking to find their way in the world.

Her leading lady takes on these dilemmas realistically while slowly realizing that her determined need to be independant and take care of everything on her own can be just as restraining as the happy homemaker lifestyle can be on those who go down that path.

Odd Mom Out also has plenty of smartly written humorous moments mixed with the pathos and the romantic sparks between Marta and Luke nearly ignite off of the pages. If you're looking for a light and lively(but not too brain candy-ish)read to add your fall book list or a way to ease the lack of clever girlspeak on primtime ala Gilmore Girls,OMO fits the bill to a perfect T.


Jane Porter said...

Don't know if it's cool for me to comment on your blog that's on my book but I wanted to say you nailed the story so well. I'm grateful, flattered, but most of all happy. For me writing is a chance to connect with other women, hopefully start some kind of dialogue and hopefully encourage each other to live the life we want, not the want that's handed to us.

Thanks again.


lady t said...

Yes,it is very cool for you for comment here,especially about your book! Thank you for your kind words and best of luck for Odd Mom Out:)