Friday, February 29, 2008

Review: Carpool Diem

Summary: Annie Fleming's family has adjusted well to her hard driving career. How could they not? Annie keeps her husband, daughter, and babysitter in line with typed, edited, and proofed To-Do and Not-To-Do lists. (No TV on school nights, please!).

But when an obnoxious coworker conspires to force Annie out of her job, she finds herself not only out of work, but face-to-face with a family that isn't quite as well adjusted as she'd thought. For one thing, husband Tim has been traveling more than usual, and he's not always where he says he'll be. Worse, daughter Charlotte is showing little interest in joining the Lightning Bolts—a legendary, elite, work-till-you-drop soccer team run by Winslow West, a man who dreams of the Olympic gold his young charges will someday win for him. How could Annie, undefeated even when unemployed, have a daughter with a quitting attitude? Now, Annie is determined to do whatever it takes to get Charlotte on the A team, but the soccer sidelines turn out to be more cutthroat than the corporate boardroom ever was.

Is it possible Annie's "Plan Hard/Work Hard" credo isn't the key to success after all? - Hachette Book Group USA

When I received a copy of CARPOOL DIEM by Nancy Star, I was very anxious to read it. I know it's wrong to judge a book by its cover, but the cover is just adorable! I think many women will see this book displayed in a book store and buy it strictly for that reason. However, I do think that this story will strike a chord with many moms because we can all relate to craziness of organized sports for kids.

While my 8 year old daughter does not play soccer (we tried when she was 5, but she didn't really enjoy it -- she wanted to play goalie so she didn't have to run, and she was easily distracted by the flowers growing on the field), she did participate in cheerleading for a few years. I'm not going to go into the crazy details, but let's just say that cheerleading is a very big deal in our town. I have to admit that I felt a little like Annie when she started going to the soccer practices -- clueless! I guess that's why I found myself chuckling at what occurred between the coaches and the parents in this book. So much of the competition between the parents and the parents' expectations of their children was very realistic to me (in a very scary way). I think I've now realized our experience and all the bizarre things that happened are pretty much "normal" for kids' activities in today's world!

I liked the idea of a chick lit book aimed at moms that are my age (so many of these books make me feel ancient!) I thought comparing a high profile job to being a soccer mom could make for some very entertaining situations. The book did have lots of funny moments, especially the letters from the soccer coach to the parents. One thing I did appreciate was the development of the relationship between Annie and her daughter Charlotte. For the first half of the book, I found myself disliking Annie because I felt she was so out of touch with her daughter. I realize that the author did this on purpose, but I just felt so bad for Charlotte. I was so glad to see that Annie realized what was important in her life and changed for the better by the end of the book.

I thought Ms. Star did an excellent job of writing a novel that is a satire, yet actually very close to reality. Many people are going to see either themselves or someone they know within the characters of this book. If you are interested in learning more about Ms. Star, you might want to check out this interview with her. She gives insight into why she wrote this novel as well as advice on how to be a successful writer. CARPOOL DIEM is a hilarious book that will certainly resonate with all you soccer (and other sports) moms out there! It will be available to everyone on March 13th.

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