Thursday, June 5, 2008

Book Review - Sleeping with Ward Cleaver

Sleeping with Ward Cleaver
Author: Jenny Gardiner
Publisher: Love Spell

Wham, bam, no-thank-you, ma'am.

That about sums up the sex life of Claire Doolittle. Not-so-happily married to Jack-once the man of her dreams but now a modern-day version of the bossy, dull Ward Cleaver of '50s sitcom fame-Claire is at the end of her rope. Gone are the glorious days of flings in elevators and broom closets. Jack? All he needs is a cardigan and a billowing pipe to become the domineering father figure Claire never wanted. And looking at her body in the mirror, Claire would cast herself as Lumpy. They'd once had a world of color, of wanton frivolity. Now, life's black and white: a sitcom in reruns. A not-very-funny sitcom. Cue an old boyfriend-the "one that got away"-throw in a predatory hottie who's set her sights on our leading man, and watch Claire's world spiral out of control.

I about died laughing reading this novel!

This debut novel as much fun as reading a Stephanie Plum story or watching an episode of Seinfeld. Mid-marriage crisis is the central theme and Jenny Gardiner keeps the emotional upheaval, mental turmoil and family problems, and yet depicts it all with an irresistible dash of humor that's as funny and real as can be. Readers will be irresistibly reminded of snapshots of incidents or snippets of conversations from their own married life while reading this story and thanks to Gardiner's excellent presentation, get a laugh out of it to boot! No wonder Jenny Gardiner won the American Title III contest with this story.

Claire Doolittle is an excellent and sassy heroine, full of wry humor and a way of saying or describing things and happenings that smacks of comic (and verbal) diarrhea, at once unique and yet totally understandable. She compares her husband's growing humorless and bossy attitude to Ward Cleaver (a reference which would have bounced off of me if not for some late night TV Land watching these days. I must say, Gardiner nails it on the head!), their boring sex life (I shrieked with laughter reading of their scheduled Sunday night chore - have sex. Get thyself away, Clooney!), and the overall chaotic Doolittle family which consists of five children, two (or is it three? I lost count!) pets and assorted relatives.

Interspersed with flashbacks of this couple's once happy, passionate and carefree life, Gardiner makes the contrast clear and the result is a bittersweet story that stays in your memory a long time.

In Short
Vibrant characters, puns and quips and wisecracks galore, a truly unique nostalgic trip down email-lane and a story from the heart guarantees this book will be read over and over again. (I'm also of the opinion that Gardiner could give Evanovich a run for her money.)

Also reviewed by Booking Mama.
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  1. Thanks for the recommendation! I added it to my wishlist!

  2. I just came across your blog on momblognetwork, and man am I going to sit right here with my diet coke and read, read, read! I love hearing what others think of certain books, and this book has been added to my ever growing list of books to read!
    Thanks so much!

  3. You got that right! This book is a must-read. In fact, get this together with Plum Lucky or Evanovich's upcoming one and try to see which one's better :)

    Thanks for dropping by. Spread the word and don't forget to enter my book giveaways. Free books - who can say no to that, right?!

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  5. This will definately be added to my wish list!! Wonderful review by the way!

  6. oh now you done gone and made me wanna read it now for sure as i could stand to laugh!


    hey! how come i'm the only one whose addy shows up?

  7. Great review, thanks for the tip.

  8. I keep hearing good things about this book. I will have to check it out soon




  10. Rashmi!!! You made my day!!! I'm really thrilled that you loved the book and really appreciate your spreading the word. And to be put up there with Janet Evanovich? Wow!!!
    Thanks so much for letting folks know about it!

  11. now some how i don't find ward sexy at all! more like sleeping with my dh and what fun is that? gimme vin disel!!

  12. Hotcha--that's the point! NO ONE wants to sleep with ward cleaver! So she's gotta figure out how to make her DH stop BEING like Ward Cleaver...

  13. Exactly when Jenny said. You HAVE to read the book if only to see what happens to this intriguing couple!