By Julie Valerie
A laugh-out-loud debut novel for anyone who’s tried to live the perfect life—and learned the hard way there’s no such thing.
Holly Banks could not have made a worse first impression on the seemingly perfect moms in her new affluent community, the Village of Primm. Turns out wearing pink piggy pajama bottoms while dropping off her kindergartener late to the first day of school wasn’t her best look.
Not to mention Holly’s worried her husband may be having an affair, she can’t get her daughter to stop sucking her thumb, her hard-won film degree is collecting dust, and to top it all off, the power-hungry PTA president clearly has it in for her…
To make matters even worse, Holly’s natural eye for drama lands her smack-dab in the- middle of a neighborhood mystery—right as her own crazy mother shows up in Primm “to help.” Through it all, Holly begins to realize her neighbors may be just as flawed as—and even wackier than—she is, leaving her to wonder: Is there such a thing as a perfect mom?
Did I read the first line of the book blurb right? Did it say, “a laugh-out-loud debut novel?” Well, I am still laughing. This is the funniest book I think I’ve ever read.
Holly Banks doesn’t seem like the type of mom who would have so much happen to her as a new resident of the Village of Primm. She’s not prim and proper, but seems like a normal mom, that is, until she meets the PTA president Mary-Margaret St. James. Everything goes downhill for Holly. She wears the wrong T-shirt to the first PTA meeting of the year, and that is just the beginning. Mary-Margaret is in overdrive making Holly feel incompetent as a mother. I instantly had a disliking for Mary-Margaret. I felt sorry for Holly and wanted to yell at her to stand up against the overbearing PTA pres.
The first couple of chapters were a difficult read for me. I wasn’t laughing, yet. I wanted to shake Holly and tell her to believe in herself and not listen to Mary-Margaret. At the same time, I wanted to take Mary-Margaret out behind the school and whop some sense into her and bring her down a peg or two. In the end, I was glad I kept reading. The story is a satire on the life of real moms and real PTA officials, and I felt the author executed it well.
As a former PTA member, PTA president, and general PTA-go-to when something needed to be done, I have run across all kinds of PTA presidents, though none quite as bad as Mary-Margaret. As a mother and grandmother, I know there is no such thing as a perfect mom. I felt by the end of the book, Holly found her place and Mary-Margaret mellowed.
Holly Banks Full of Angst, Book One in the Village of Primm series, is Julie Valerie’s debut novel, available now for pre-order, publishing December 1, 2019, with Lake Union.
Julie is the founder of the 85K Writing Challenge and serves on the board of directors of James River Writers. She earned an editing certificate from the University of Chicago Graham School and has a master’s degree in education, a Bachelor of Fine Arts in fashion, and certification in wilderness first aid. She enjoys books, the study of wine, hikes on the Appalachian Trail, and travel. Julie married her college sweetheart, and they live in Virginia with their four children and two English labradors.
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