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Posted April 18, 2011
Funny and touching
Parents Behaving Badly, by Scott Gummer, is a fun read. Several scenes are hilarious, but the sweet, tender side to this story makes it most memorable. Ben and Jili move back to their hometown, where many broken and unfulfilled dreams are buried. As they adjust to their once familiar surroundings, they learn to deal with the ghosts of their pasts. Old flames flicker, secrets are revealed, and unspoken questions receive answers. To be honest, I feel the beginning of the story is a little slow and confusing-too many characters to follow and not enough background to feel grounded in the story. That quickly changes when the characters burst to life and the storyline becomes infused with humor. That's not to say the entire story is fun and games. It also touches on the frustrations, insecurities, temptations and questions that Ben and Jili's marriage faces. The author does a great job of projecting imagery through his words. Although the physical descriptions of the characters (with an exception here and there) are not as crisp as I would have liked, the scenes are vivid, lively and full of color. I'm not a baseball fan, so many of the coaching references, plays, and strategies go over my head; but my lack of knowledge does little to thwart my enjoyment of the story and its satirical undertone. There are two basic storylines: Ben's relationships with his family and friends, and the mad goings-on of little league baseball. The tales meld together nicely; glued together by pain, frustration, fear and laughter. As a parent, even though my children did not participate in team sports in school, I can relate to a large part of this story. The small town of Palace Valley contains residents with big problems. There are several characters I swear live down the street from me ... the middle-aged Barbie wannabe, the obsessed and obnoxious little league coach, the gorgeous temptress who wants nothing more than to steal someone else's man, and the insufferable know-it-all. Let's not forget the children caught in the middle of the madness, forced to live the dreams of their parents. *I received this book as an early release. It did not influence my review or rating.
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Posted April 10, 2011
My two children had been though the local soccer program and I was anxious to see if any of the bad behaving parents from the book seemed familiar. While our soccer program had the occasional parent/coach who put his child above others or the parents who used the program for a babysitter, that now seems tame compared to this story. This is the story of Ben and his wife Jili. They were living the good life in New York until they moved back to California to be near their aging parents. After the death of his father "Coach", Ben and Jili's two sons wanted to sign up for the local baseball program. Suddenly Ben, who was a little introverted, found himself pulled into a cast of characters he would have rather stayed away from. There was the over zealous coach who bent the rules in his favor, put his own child's well-being on the line to win games, and who was responsible for the local "promgate". There was the local MILF, who shamelessly flirted with Ben and wouldn't share her cevichi recipe as promised. There was the boy who's mother married his father's father and who's father married his mother's twin sister, making his grandfather his step-father and his aunt his step-mother. This book is about how Ben and Jili navigate their way through all these crazy people and keep their own lives intact. This was a great book, except for one little thing - I don't know much about baseball. Every so often I had to go to my husband to explain a baseball term for me. If he wasn't around I could have easily skimmed over those parts and it wouldn't have affected the story line, but I think my husband enjoyed my sudden sports interest. I think he may even read the book - when baseball season is over.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted April 7, 2011
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