Best Friends, Occasional Enemies: The Lighter Side of Life as a Mother and Daughter

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Overview

From the New York Times bestselling writing team comes a hilarious new collection of essays that observe life from a mother/daughter perspective

New York Times bestselling author Lisa Scottoline and her daughter Francesca Serritella are the best of friends?99.9% of the time. They?re number one on each other?s speed dial and they tell each other everything?well, almost everything. They share shoes and clothes?except one very special green ...

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Best Friends, Occasional Enemies: The Lighter Side of Life as a Mother and Daughter

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Overview

From the New York Times bestselling writing team comes a hilarious new collection of essays that observe life from a mother/daughter perspective

New York Times bestselling author Lisa Scottoline and her daughter Francesca Serritella are the best of friends—99.9% of the time. They’re number one on each other’s speed dial and they tell each other everything—well, almost everything. They share shoes and clothes—except one very special green jacket, which almost caused a catfight.

In other words, they’re just like every mother and daughter in the world. Best friends, and occasional enemies. Now they’re dishing about it all—their lives, their relationship, and their carb count.

Inspired by their weekly column, “Chick Wit” for The Philadelphia Inquirer, this book is one you’ll have to put down—just to stop laughing.

Lisa on Being a Mom - Motherhood has no expiration date. Francesca lives in the city, and I worry about her all the time. My daughter moved out, so why am I still lactating?

Francesca on Being a Daughter - My mother is always right. Just ask her.

Lisa on Things Every Daughter Should Know - Your mother is always thinking about you, but that’s not creepy. Your mother will never forget who did you dirty in the sixth grade, for which you can thank her. And your mother will never stop asking you if you need to go to the bathroom, before you leave the house. Well, do you?

Francesca on Closet Wars - My mom is a great dresser. Mostly because she’s wearing my clothes.

Lisa on Aging Gracefully - My sex drive is in reverse, I have more whiskers than my cat, and my estrogen replacement is tequila.

Francesca on Apartment Living - When I saw a mouse, the first person I called was Mom. She told me to call my super, but I felt bad bothering him. I hate to bother people. But I love to bother my mother.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Bestselling author Scottoline and up-and-comer Serritella are mother and daughter as well as BFFs—most of the time. In this third collection of essays based on their weekly “Chick Lit” column for the Philadelphia Inquirer, the duo chat about what it’s like to be a mother and daughter who share interests, clothes, and dating woes, plus the occasional dustup. However, Scottoline writes, conflict is good, because “that valve releases the pressure from the combustible engine that is the mother-daughter relationship.” She warns about being mindful of tone (aka “kryptonite”), and notes that apologies are vital, because “Families need each other. Like oxygen.” For her part, Serritella writes of the warmth of having family and friends who refrain from I-told-you-sos after an ill-advised romance and a mother who taught her about keeping the heating bills low... even if it means a cold apartment. Other essays address everything from the hazards of suburbia to the death of a beloved dog Mother Mary and Brother Frank are back, too, in this witty and sweet return to the ins and outs of life in this sometimes kooky, always smart and funny, family. (Dec.)
From the Publisher
“Feels like one big gabfest with your best girlfriends, whatever their age. The tell-all twosome have yet again opened their hearts and homes, cooking up a huge helping of laughs, sprinkled with a few tears and a dash of motherly love—and it all goes down deliciously.”

Booklist

 

“[A] witty and sweet return to the ins and outs of life in this sometimes kooky, always smart and funny, family.“

Publishers Weekly

 

"Black-and-white family photographs lend a homey feel to the experience, which culminates in a reminder to mothers and daughters that friendship between them can last a lifetime. A treat for fans of observational humor."

Kirkus Reviews

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780312651633
  • Publisher: St. Martin's Press
  • Publication date: 11/22/2011
  • Pages: 288
  • Sales rank: 475,981
  • Product dimensions: 5.80 (w) x 8.40 (h) x 1.10 (d)

Meet the Author

Lisa Scottoline

LISA SCOTTOLINE is the New York Times bestselling and Edgar-Award winning author of eighteen novels.  She has 25 million copies of her books in print in the United States, and she has been published in twenty-five countries.  She is currently serving as the President of the Mystery Writers of America.  She lives in Philadelphia with an array of disobedient pets.

FRANCESCA SCOTTOLINE SERRITELLA graduated cum laude from Harvard University, where she won the Thomas Temple Hoopes Prize, the Le Baron Russell Briggs Fiction Prize, and the Charles Edmund Horman Prize for her creative writing. She is working on a novel, and she lives in New York with only one dog, so far. 

Biography

Most authors admit that they need to work in silence in order to get into the creative process. For them, writing is serious work that requires the utmost peace and concentration. Of course, most authors are not writing the kind of whiz-bang, sharp, wild, and witty works that Lisa Scottoline is producing. Scottoline's unusual working methods and desire for all things pop culture have helped her to create some of the most unapologetically entertaining and compulsively page-turning novels in contemporary popular fiction.

Scottoline's initial impetus to become a novelist was not quite as joyful as her novels might suggest. She had recently given up her position as a litigator at a Philadelphia law firm to raise her newborn daughter at the same time as she was breaking up with her husband. While the birth of her daughter was an undoubtedly happy moment for Scottoline, she was also thrust into relative isolation in the wake of her separation and the end of her job. To keep herself busy (when not tending to her daughter, that is), she decided to write a novel, the provocative story of an ambitious young lawyer whose hectic life becomes even more manic when she learns she is being stalked. Three years after beginning the novel, Scottoline sold Everywhere That Mary Went to HarperCollins a mere week after taking a part-time job as a clerk for an appellate judge—her first job since beginning the book. While her transition from lawyer to novelist may seem abrupt to some, Scottoline asserts that it was law school that gave her the necessary tools to spin a compelling yarn. In a 2005 interview with Barnes & Noble.com, Scottoline asserted that the job of a lawyer is surprisingly similar to that of a good writer: "Take the facts that matter, throw out the ones that don't, order them in such a way in which a point of view is created so that by the time someone is finished listening to your argument or reading your book they see things completely in that point of view."

Scottoline's sure-handed way with an intriguing narrative has led to a string of bestselling thrillers and a popular series revolving around the women of Rosato & Associates, an all-female law firm in Philadelphia—the author's own beloved hometown. Jam-packed with humor, mystery, eroticism, and smarts, her novels are published worldwide and have been translated into twenty-five different languages.

Good To Know

Lisa Scottoline is definitely no TV snob. She feels no shame when revealing her love of everything from Court TV to Oprah to The Apprentice to I Love Lucy.

One of the reasons that Scottoline is such a fabulous writer may have something to do with having a particularly fabulous teacher. While studying English at the University of Pennsylvania she was instructed by National Book Award Winner Philip Roth.

Don't try this at home! Scottoline completed her first novel, Everywhere That Mary Went, while she and her newborn daughter lived solely on $35,000 worth of credit from five Visa cards, which she'd completely maxed out by the time she completed the book three years later.

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    1. Hometown:
      Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
    1. Date of Birth:
      July 1, 1955
    2. Place of Birth:
      Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
    1. Education:
      B.A., University of Pennsylvania, 1976; J.D., University of Pennsylvania Law School, 1981
    2. Website:

Read an Excerpt

BEST FRIENDS, OCCASIONAL ENEMIES (Chapter 1)

The Occasional Enemies Part

By Lisa

Daughter Francesca and I are very close, but that doesn’t mean we don’t fight.

On the contrary, it means we do.

So if you’re currently fighting with your daughter, or merely fussing from time to time, you’ve come to the right place.

Let’s start with the notion that the no-fighting model isn’t the best for mother-daughter relations. I know so many women who feel bad, guilty, or inferior because they fight with their daughters, and they needn’t. To them, and to you, I say, flip it.

What?

Flip that notion on its head. If you fight with your daughter, you raised her to think independently from you, and to voice her own views.

Yay!

You’re a great mother. Know why?

Because the world doesn’t reward the timid. Especially if they have ovaries.

In my opinion, conflict between mother and daughter is normal and good. Not only that, it’s love. I say this not as a social scientist, which I’m not, but as a real-life mother, which I so am. So if your daughter is fighting with you, here’s the good and bad news:

The good news is you raised her right.

The bad is you have a headache.

Forever.

Just kidding.

Francesca and I are best friends, but at times, we’re at odds. Enemies, only momentarily. Like most mothers and daughters, we’re so attuned to each other’s words and gestures that even the arching of an eyebrow can convey deep meaning.

If somebody plucks, we’re in trouble.

We never have really huge fights, but we have car rides to New York that can feel as if they last cross-country.

Wars of words.

We go on and on, each replying to the other, swept along in a girl vortex of words, during which we parse every nuance of every syllable, with special attention to tone.

Tone is the kryptonite of mother-daughter relationships.

As in, “I don’t like your tone.”

Also, “Don’t use that tone with me.”

And the ever-popular, “It wasn’t what you said, it was your tone.”

It was ever thus. Francesca and I got along great from the time she came out of the egg, and I used to tell her that she wasn’t allowed to whine, but she could argue with me. In other words, make her case for whatever she wanted.

Never mind that she was three at the time.

Oddly, this turned out great. She was the Perry Mason of toddlers, and more often than not, she was right. Or she felt completely heard, which was often enough for kiddie satisfaction. She argued for punch balls from the gift shop at the zoo, dessert before dinner if she ate all her dinner, and the wearing of Cinderella outfits on an almost daily basis, complete with tiara.

What girl doesn’t want a tiara?

Another thing I did when she was little was to let her vent. I had no idea how I came upon this idea, but I used to give her the chance to say anything she wanted to me, without interruption, for a full minute.

And I mean, anything.

She was even permitted to curse at me, though she didn’t know any profanity at that age. It got only as rude as “butt face.”

Ouch?

She’s still permitted to argue with me and vent her anger. And she accords me the same permission. Even though we’re writing books together and we adore each other, we can still get mad at each other. And that valve releases the pressure from the combustible engine that is the mother-daughter relationship.

It’s just hot air, anyway.

Bottom line, we’re close, so we fight, and the converse is also true. The conflict strengthens us, because it’s honesty, hard-earned.

And the more honest we are with each other, the closer we are. You’ll see exactly what I mean, in the pages that follow.

So enjoy.

And watch your tone.

BEST FRIENDS, OCCASIONAL ENEMIES. Copyright 2011 by Smart Blonde, LLC, and Francesca Scottoline Serritella.

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Table of Contents

Introduction 1

The Occasional Enemies Part 5

We Are All Ferraris 8

All's Fair In Love and Wardrobe 12

Empowered 16

Picture Day 20

Can This Marriage Be Saved? 24

Meow 27

Holy Moly 32

Cover Me 35

Mother Mary and The Retirement Village 38

The Suburbs Are Killing Me 41

The Mothership 45

Brush Off 49

Love and Worry 52

Getting It Straight 56

The Heart of a Gambler 59

Clipped 62

Mother Mary Hears The Worst 65

Half-Full 69

Mother Mary and the Terrorists 72

Twit-Willow 75

Grainy 78

In Which We Lose Angie, and Nothing's Funny 81

Banana Fanna Fo 86

Mousetrap 89

Pilgrim's Progress 92

You Can't Touch This 95"

Security Complex 98

Mousetrap Part II-This Time It's Personal 101

This Old Homebody 106

Little Dog, Big Pill 109

The Flying Scottolines Reach Out 113

Don't Look Now 116

Mousetrap Part III-Modicum or Solace 119

Accommodating 123

Home Team 126

Running on Empty 129

Control Issues 132

My Daughter Moved Out, So Why Am I Still Lactating? 136

I Refuse To Dress Up For The Mall 139

Mother Mary and The Christmas Standoff 142

Busy Signal 145

Twas The Night Before 148

Prepare for the Best 151

Join Me 155

Rewarding, or Why Free Is Dumber Than You Think 158

Can't Start A Fire Without A… 162

Cold Comfort 166

Lunatic 169

Darwinian 173

The Moon and I 177

Big and Me 180

Birthday Wish 183

Life in the Not-So-Fast Lane 187

It's Not The Heat 190

Moms Say the Darndest 193

Not Under My Roof 197

Uncle Sam 200

Mathlete 203

Oprah and Einstein 206

Toys in the Attic 209

Hardwired 212

Bank Angst 216

Tempus Fugit 220

History Lesson 223

iLisa 226

Oh, You Don't Know 229

Home, Sweet Gym 233

The Right To Vote 236

The Einstein Workout 239

Remembering Joy 243

911 247

If a Tree Falls in a Driveway… 250

As Seen On TV 254

In Which We Get A Woman President 257

The Hardest Job in the World 261

This Land Is My Land 264

The Four Seasons 267

The Best Friends Part 271

Acknowledgments 277

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
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Sort by: Showing all of 7 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted December 17, 2011

    Great

    Love this book and love Lisa Scottoline and her daughter Francesca. Very funny stories/essays (and some emotional/poignant ones). Quick, easy and overall funny read.

    3 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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