Author: Anna Lefler
Publisher/Year: Full Fathom Five Digital 10i/1/15
Length: 336 pages
Behind the toddler-proof gate of Santa Monica’s exclusive Garden of Happiness, it’s the grown-ups who are getting schooled.
When new preschool parent Justine discovers that the man who broke her heart back in grad school is a dad in her daughter’s class, she tells herself she’s immune to the superficial charms of the ex she calls “the crapwizard.” But when his presence opens a time tunnel of potent memories from her life before motherhood, she must find a way to defuse her old attraction to him before it undermines her marriage.
Then there’s Ruben, rookie stay-at-home dad and standup comic who quits his day job to pursue his TV-writing dream on his wife’s condition that he take her place among the “power mommies” on the school committees.
And ruling the sand box with an iron fist is Margaret, whose ongoing divorce from her dentist-turned-New Age-surfer husband forces her to rely on her dubious people skills in order to keep the school that has become the cornerstone of her identity.
When the new school year kicks off with a flight-risk rabbit named Ozone, a school secretary in desperate need of a social filter, and some double-barreled committee recruiting tactics, it’s not all juice and cookies for Justine, Ruben, and Margaret as they struggle to play nice.
First off i should thank the kind folks at Netgalley for getting me a copy of this book to read. Granted it took me far longer to finish it than i expected (not for the books reasons i have to say) but at least i finally found some time to get through it. I’ll thank the LIRR for that since commuting definitely gives me an hour each way to read.
So in this story, we get a nice dose of chick lit – it’s a story that’s based on a rotation of characters’ chapters, showing us how everything is intertwined. You don’t ever know who’s really the focal point here, if it’s Margaret, the owner of Garden of Happiness, Justine, a new mom to the school who’s going through her own stuff at home, or if it’s Reuben, a dad of twins at the same school who’s trying to deal with his stuff. Note that they all have stuff going on.
Where this story takes us is a path to see how resilient you are when you’re forced into situations that you didn’t expect. Margaret is going through a divorce which may result in her having to sell her school. Along that same path, her daughter’s a freshman in college and is caught in the middle of said divorce.
Then there’s Justine, her daughter is new to the school and is forcing her to really become one of the mom set. If that weren’t bad enough, the family assigned to show her the ropes is none other than the guy who broke her heart in grad school. so things of course get more complicated. and if that still weren’t enough, she thinks that her husband is having an affair with the office trollup.
Then there’s the final story line of Reuben – he’s a dad of twins, and a comedian who’s lost his mojo. His wife works in a job that she hates, meaning that he has to make something work in the comedy realm, and participate in school stuff and well, at least there’s a silver lining there for him. He’s found his groove a bit.
Anyhow, the course of this story shows us that not everyone is perfect – assuming the impression that you got of them in life was perfect. Everyone’s got their stuff going on, and i think that there’s a lot of growth that can be done and is done. where we net out with the story and the journeys of all these folks is a nice place and i think that you see that all is resolved, even if there are several surprises. On that note, i hope you guys enjoy this book – it gave me a sense of hope when i’m stressed, without being too preachy. Enjoy!