Saturday, November 15, 2008
Odd Mom Out by Jane Porter
From Jane Porter’s blog:
Marta Zinsser grew up in a conservative, old Seattle suburb and couldn't wait to leave for New York, where she thrived as an independent woman with no need for men -- even when she decided to have a baby. Ten years later when her mother becomes ill, Marta realizes that this may be her daughter's last chance to get to know her grandmother and returns to Seattle, taking up residence on the affluent, technology-drenched Eastside, filled now by snobby old money families and even snobbier nouveau riche. Enrolling Eva in the local school, Marta accedes to her daughter's wishes and agrees to join the PTA despite being horrified by the fancy moms that dominate it. With wealthy husbands, massive homes, nannies, no jobs, and their own hierarchy, the fancy moms have no intention of letting a bohemian mom like Marta in to their private circle. Will Marta be able to carve a niche for both herself and Eva? And when gorgeous maverick Luke Flynn appears in Marta's line of vision, will she find love after keeping it at arm's length all this time?
Reading this was quite painful at times. I knew only too well what it feels like to be the one on the outside and for me it has been a lifelong estrangement. The best thing about becoming a grownup though has been to find peace in myself and acceptance for the quirks that I am full of. Marta finds her own peace by the end of the story and the ride is a hilarious one. What is especially hard to deal with though is her daughter Eva. Eva believes that her mother needs to find acceptance by the local PTA to lead a fulfilling life and she works on trying to change and mold her mother into a coiffed clone of all the other mothers.
Thank God that Marta convinced her that to be yourself is the truest way to happiness and internal contentment and that sometimes to be accepted by the wrong people can create conflicts within yourself.
Especially poignant moments include her mother’s descent into dementia with Alzheimer’s and the struggle that the three generations have in dealing with it.
Of all of Jane Porter’s novels I enjoyed this one the most probably because I most identified with it. Maybe there is something of the Odd Mom Out in all of us.
I give this a 4 out of 5 stars.