So I read Ellen Meister's debut novel Secret Confessions of the Applewood PTA this weekend and I loved every second of it.
A brief review:
The private lives of three Applewood, Long Island housewives get thrown into turmoil when a production company announces its interest in filming on location at their elementary school.
Although married and with children, the three characters in Meister's book prove that there's still a whole lot of life, longing, determination, and inspriation in these women. They're great moms who love and care for their kids, but they're also individuals with problems and dreams, turmoil and aspirations that reach far beyond their parenting.
Maddie Schein is struggling to find the spark in her marriage, worried that her husband Bruce finds his own cousin more interesting than his wife. Ruth Moss has been taking care of partially paralyzed, impotent, and brain damaged husband for three years and she longs for the spark of passion herself. Lisa Slotnick's spotlight stealing, alcholic mother throws a monkey wrench into her family life when she needs help rehabbing.
These three women comprise the Applewood PTA sub-committee put in charge of acting as a liason with the film company. But they don't just have their hands full with their personal lives. The school project may also be in jeopardy when PTA president Suzanne decides to wrestle the prestigious control of the project away from the three underlings.
Through plenty of laughter and tears, the three very different women bond together quickly, forming deep friendships and sticking together to hopefully conquer all. Will Maddie find bliss with Bruce? Will Ruth get her mojo satisfied? Will Lisa be able to cope with her demanding mother? And most importantly -- will George Clooney be coming to film his movie in Applewood?
Funny and lovable characters, a can't put-down plot, and great writing make this an incredible novel that you'll savor, even as you race through to find out what happens next. Meister has a gold mine in here, not just with her leading ladies, but also with a truly wonderful supporting cast. From the wisecracking Beryl to punishment loving Paul, Meister brings everyone to life. But Meister doesn't stop with the delightful entertainment; she also mines deep, showing us what makes a woman's heart beat and her soul suffer and soar. You'll be thrilled to get to know everyone in this neighborhood. And then you'll be really sad when you have to say goodbye.