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.
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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