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Class Mom: A Novel by Laurie Gelman

Class Mom: A Novel

by Laurie Gelman

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This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
I received an advance copy of this book from Early Reviewers. This book was a great summer read -- engaging and hard to put down. The story is based on a "second child" many years after the first, and how a wiser (and perhaps WAY more confident!) Mom takes on the duties of being a class mom. The format of the book keeps you going -- emails interlaced with sassy prose.

I really enjoyed how the Class Mom found friends in the midst of critics, and how she navigated through the politics (yikes!) of running the classroom. It would be big shoes to fill in following her. ( )
  jacobusp | Jun 24, 2017 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
A light, quick summer read. Funny when centered on the snarky emails sent to the class, but less engaging when the storyline shifts to Jen's family, midlife crisis and flirtatious attempts to feel young. ( )
  doglover58 | Jun 24, 2017 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
I received an advance copy of this book from Early Reviewers. I thoroughly enjoyed this book...maybe because I'm a teacher, I'm from Kansas, and I've been a room mother...I could totally relate!
Jen Dixon has been reluctantly talked into serving as her kindergarten son's room mother by her best friend (who happens to be the President of the PTA). Although this gig is not new to Jen, as she was room mother for both of her older daughters, she now has the "been there, done that" attitude of an older generation of parent. Her emails to the parents in the class were hilarious; she definitely said everything that most of us wish we could say! I read it in one afternoon because I couldn't put it down!
This book follows the exploits of Jen and her family -- husband Ron, son Max, and older, college-age daughters -- as well as her friends and other kindergarten parents throughout the school year. There were so many elements of this story...it was not just a story of the bickering and backstabbing of parents...it was also a story of Jen and her mid-life struggles to accept where she was in her life and her relationships.
Although I know that this is an advance copy, and therefore may have some editing issues, there were some glaring ones that really should be fixed before going to print! I was enjoying this story so much until chapter 14 when Jen talks about crossing the river to Kansas City, Kansas and how she lives in Overland Park, a suburb of Kansas City, Missouri. Overland Park is in KANSAS...not Missouri. I realize this is fiction, but the towns mentioned in the book are real, so this mistake bothered me the rest of the way through the book. Also, there are several places where people's names change (for example on page 250 the last name of Jen's high school crush changed from Burgess to Horner, and there are times when I thought that the parent's and children's names are mixed up) I thoroughly enjoyed this book, but it definitely needs another edit to push it to a list of favorites!! ( )
  cyndiea | Jun 22, 2017 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
I won this book from Early Reviewers on librarything.com, and I am so glad I did. What a relief it was to read a book that made me laugh, chuckle or smile on every page, a book I hated to put down because it was such a pleasure to read.
As this short novel explores the kindergarten year in the life of Maximilian Dixon through his mom’s hilarious portrayal of the class mom, the personalities and relationships she encounters are examined and exposed with all of the human frailties “that flesh is heir to”. Jen Dixon is the class mom extraordinaire, although at first that is not a universal opinion. The reader will witness the interaction of all of the Dixons, with their friends, fellow kindergarten parents, kindergarten children and their teacher. Life’s little pleasures will pop out of the story in expected and unexpected places. If nothing else, the book surely proves that we are all young inside our heads, no matter how old we are on the outside, and we all have our little secrets and dreams. It will prove that our lives shine no brighter than when we are happy and taking life in stride.
Jen Dixon is lucky and she knows it. She is enjoying the dessert of her life, as she describes her youngest child, five year old Max, who has just begun kindergarten. She has two older daughters who are already away in college. Her friend Nina who heads up the PTA has leaned on her to become a class mom. She certainly has had world class experience having been one for both her daughters. She provides a laugh a minute with her sarcastic emails, requests and expectations of the other moms, although some take umbrage at her style and do not laugh at all.
Anyone who has ever been a class mom or school volunteer will nod in agreement compulsively as Jen relates her activities and the pages fly by; they will find their lips turning up into a knowing smile as requests are made and duties are performed. Anyone who hasn’t had any experience in being a class mom will thoroughly enjoy her experiences vicariously, taking pleasure in being a voyeur into the life of Jen Dixon as she navigates her home life as a wife and mother and her outside life with all of its various temptations!
Max’s teacher is unusual. She presents a persona that alternates between a sex pot and a puritan. She is full of surprises, and she confounds some of the parents when they try to understand her. There is a parent and a child who never appear for the entire year; no one has met them! There are show offs, flirts and chronic complainers; in short, the book presents a picture that represents a slice of all of our lives, warts and all. The novel was nostalgic for me. It took me back to my days of being a school parent, my PTA days, my fundraising days, school party days and play date days. It reminded me of the camaraderie of neighbors, of watching each other’s children, of car pools and overnight sleepovers. It also reminded me of the friction that sometimes displayed itself which was followed by unity and friendships that blossomed when necessary to support a common cause. It brought back memories of happy children, school yards and school dances. The book reminded me of the dessert of my life.
Jen Dixon was what every parent might want to be even though she could be abrasive at times, because her tongue in cheek dialogue and messages were genuine, she was sincere. She spoke her mind; she was involved, and she was really a nice person when you scratched her surface. She was a joy to discover. ( )
  thewanderingjew | Jun 19, 2017 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
What a really great read, especially for a debut novel! I absolutely loved the sarcasm and humor in this book. It kept me engaged and saying "just one more chapter" until before I knew it, it was over! Would definitely recommend this read! ( )
  Maggie.Chavarria | Jun 18, 2017 |
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