Carpool Diem by Nancy Star

Reviewed by L.D.Y.

Trade, 327 pages, 2008

Rating: 9/10

Reason for Reading: While I never personally experienced having an over-the-top soccer mom, I witnessed a few through teammates when I was in grade school so this seemed like it could be a funny read.

Synopsis: Annie Fleming is out of a job – but not out of ambition. So what better way to channel it than into her twelve-year-old daughter’s soccer ‘career’? Between her daughter and her completely insane coach, her attempts to revive her corporate career, and the growing distance between her husband and herself, Annie is discovering that not having a steady job is somehow proving to be much harder to handle than her ‘real’ job…

Why you should read this book: You don’t have to be a soccer mom to appreciate the challenges of having to fit in with the other parents – the type that always seem to be miles ahead of you, completely together and always doing what’s best for their kids. Annie deals with both realistic challenges (juggling many facets of her life) and more outrageous situations (an intense – and insane – soccer coach who dreams of raising an entire team of Olympic superstars practically from birth), a combination that allows the reader to laugh even as they commiserate. There’s a nice variety of problems and characters that allow the book to appeal to a wide crowd. Star has produced enough fun to keep the chick-lit genre vibrant and lively for a crowd that’s moved beyond the Bridget Jones-esque single-girl-angst to a new set of challenges in life.

Why you should avoid this book: There may be some overlap with the more typical chick-lit crowd, as they characters are still fun, but obviously Carpool Diem will largely appeal mainly to mothers in their 30s and 40s.

Opening paragraph:

By now, Annie had it figured out. With her laptop strap and large purse slung over opposite shoulders, two bags of take-out food dangling from her right wrist, and her small black roly bag held in place by her left foot, she could stay balanced enough to get her key into the lock and open the door with one hand.

Fabulous quotes:

‘Pardon me?’ Annie said.
‘That’s the town league,’ Charlotte explained. ‘It’s the Rec League that I was in. Only, Winslow West calls it the W-R-E-C-K “Wreck” team.’
‘I tell my parents all the time, B does not stand for bad,’ Gerri said. ‘Now I have to convince them C does not stand for crappy.’
‘I’m fine with B or C,’ Charlotte said.
‘I knew you were going to be my favorite new player,’ Gerri said. ‘I’m fine with B or C too.’
Annie didn’t understand a lot of what Gerri said. But she knew she was not fine with B or C. How could Charlotte be fine with that? C wasn’t an okay letter for anything. If she was fine with a C team, would she be fine with a C grade? What about a C job? Or a C life?

‘The problem is – Who works on Sundays?’
Annie assumed this was a rhetorical question.
‘Hello?’ Sondra asked. ‘Are you still here?’
Annie assumed wrong. ‘Policeman,’ she said. ‘Nurses. Doctors. Bus drivers. Athletes. Newscasters.’ She tried to think of more.
‘Wrong,’ Sondra said. ‘Losers. Losers work on Sundays. How did I get here? I met with you a full week ago and a week later we still have nothing.’

Also recommended: Goodbye, Jimmy Choo by Annie Sanders; I Don’t Know How She Does It by Allison Pearson; Olivia’s Luck by Catherine Alliott.

Also by this author: Up Next; Now This; Buried Lives.

Fun tidbit: Click here for a piece Star wrote called ‘I Know What Your Novel Is Really About…’ Hint: no. It’s not.

Would I read more by this author? Yes, this one was a lot of fun.

&#169 Lisa Yanaky 2003-2008

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