Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Review: Class Mom

Summary: Laurie Gelman’s clever debut novel about a year in the life of a kindergarten class mom—a brilliant send-up of the petty and surprisingly cutthroat terrain of parent politics.

Jen Dixon is not your typical Kansas City kindergarten class mom—or mom in general. Jen already has two college-age daughters by two different (probably) musicians, and it’s her second time around the class mom block with five-year-old Max—this time with a husband and father by her side. Though her best friend and PTA President sees her as the “wisest” candidate for the job (or oldest), not all of the other parents agree.

From recording parents’ response times to her emails about helping in the classroom, to requesting contributions of “special” brownies for curriculum night, not all of Jen’s methods win approval from the other moms. Throw in an old flame from Jen’s past, a hyper-sensitive “allergy mom,” a surprisingly sexy kindergarten teacher, and an impossible-to-please Real Housewife-wannabe, causing problems at every turn, and the job really becomes much more than she signed up for.

Relatable, irreverent, and hilarious in the spirit of Maria Semple, Class Mom is a fresh, welcome voice in fiction—the kind of novel that real moms clamor for, and a vicarious thrill-read for all mothers, who will be laughing as they are liberated by Gelman’s acerbic truths. -- Henry Holt

My days of elementary school are long gone -- thank goodness I have a seventh grader and a freshman in college. This wasn't planned, but I had twelve straight years of elementary school... and that means a lot of volunteering time. Don't get me wrong. I am extremely grateful that I had the opportunity to help my kids' teachers, but I was a room mom for ten straight years! So it should come as no surprise that a book about a room mom appealed to me.

CLASS MOM by Laurie Gelman is a satiric look at what it's like being a mom who signs up to help out teachers with field trips, parties, and more! I have to tell you that there was way too much about this book that I related to, and I know I'm not alone. Our school is super intense when it comes to just about everything, but especially parties; and I have a few friends who I'm sure wish they could communicate like the head room mom in this novel.

CLASS MOM tells the story of Jen Dixon, an mom who decides to volunteer for her son's kindergarten class. She had two daughters to two different men during her wild days, but they are both away at college and she's now settled down with a husband and a young son. There's no doubt that Jen has the "wisdom" that comes with being an "older" mom, but it takes more than wisdom to deal with a young teacher and today's parents! (Trust me!)

I found CLASS MOM to be a very entertaining read. The first few chapters of this book were laugh out loud funny, and I just knew I had to share this book with one of my good friends. (We were co-head room moms for five years straight, and I think we could almost write a book!) I loved Jen's emails to the parents, and I about died when she timed their response times. (I so wish I had thought of that!) As funny as I found her to be, I'm not so sure that her humor was appreciated by all of the parents.

As far as I'm concerned Jen just had a little more perspective than most of the other parents, but her attitude did ruffle some feathers. She actually ended up with more hassle than she ever imagined, but it wasn't all work and no play. True, she did have to deal with the intense "allergy mom," parents with no sense of humor, and issues with getting others to volunteer. However, she also had some great friends and even re-discovered her high school crush. But I'd say all in all, being a class mom was definitely more than she signed up for!

I have a friend who was a co-room mom with me for five years straight, and I can't wait to put this book into her hands. She actually would be someone who'd send out emails like Jen, and she's even done a few things that probably never crossed Jen's mind! While we never had quite the degree of issues that Jen had (especially being attracted to ex-crushes), we certainly had our fair share of hassles. But one thing's for sure, we could throw a heck of a party!

As funny as CLASS MOM was, it was also an insightful look at being a parent in today's society. While I did laugh a lot, there were also some serious topics in this novel. I truly appreciated that the author tackled some real issues, and I loved that she created a character like Jen that was both hilarious and reflective. All in all, CLASS MOM was a great read that I highly recommend to all of you room moms (and room mom wannabes) out there!

Thanks to the publisher for providing a review copy of this novel.

1 comment:

bermudaonion said...

Oh man, I need this book. I was class mom, team mom, etc, too, and have some stories about it as well.