Secret Confessions of the Applewood PTA

Secret Confessions of the Applewood PTA

4.7 9
by Ellen Meister, Lisa Kudrow

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When a Hollywood location scout comes to Applewood, Long Island, and announces that the local elementary school might make the perfect backdrop for an upcoming George Clooney movie, the PTA's decorum crumbles like a cookie from last week's bake sale.

Enter Maddie, Ruth, and Lisa, three women who become the glue that holds the project together, forging a bond of

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When a Hollywood location scout comes to Applewood, Long Island, and announces that the local elementary school might make the perfect backdrop for an upcoming George Clooney movie, the PTA's decorum crumbles like a cookie from last week's bake sale.

Enter Maddie, Ruth, and Lisa, three women who become the glue that holds the project together, forging a bond of friendship stronger than anyone could imagine. And not a moment too soon, as marriage woes, old flames, and scandalously embarrassing family members threaten to tear each of them apart. Is their powerful alliance strong enough to overcome the obstacles to getting the movie made in their town? And will their friendship be enough to mend their hearts and homes? Join them as they reach for the stars . . . and try to pull off a Hollywood ending of their own.

At once tender and hilarious, Secret Confessions of the Applewood PTA is a captivating story that turns suburbia upside down . . . with more humor, heartache, and heat than one PTA can hold.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Kudrow shows her deft comedic skills in her audiobook debut about the machinations and scandals of rival PTA factions in a small town whose school may be used for a George Clooney movie. Kudrow reads with a light comic tone but never goes over the top, and the warmth in her voice makes the characters sympathetic and likable. Kudrow gives each character a distinctive voice: raspy Ruth, whose confident, wisecracking exterior hides the pain of caring for a husband disabled by a stroke; shy, timid Lisa and her embarrassingly loud, brassy, alcoholic mother; conflicted Maddie, trying to decide whether to work on her troubled marriage or have an affair; and their nemesis, snooty, hilariously bitchy PTA president Suzanne. The comic tale is rooted in reality that keeps the listener sympathetic to the protagonists even during the plot's most absurd twists (e.g., during a midnight covert operation, the women unexpectedly come upon the PTA president engaged in a m nage trois). By turns hilarious and poignant, this is chick lit that works perfectly on audio. Simultaneous release with the Morrow hardcover (Reviews, May 8). (Aug.) Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
Library Journal
Maddie Schein, Ruth Moss, and Lisa Slotnick couldn't be more different, but thrown together as the publicity committee of their Applewood, Long Island, PTA, their common goal is to get a George Clooney movie filmed at their local elementary school. Between getting stung by the queen bee PTA president, juggling a wild assortment of quirky family members, and reconciling with secret heartbreaks, the three manage to pull off a coup of unimagined proportions and hilarious effects. Meister's debut novel is heartbreakingly funny, her characters facing life's dramas and disappointments head on with wit and spunk. This sharp and sassy beach read might entice Desperate Housewives fans. Strongly recommended for all public libraries. Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
Three conflicted housewives in Applewood, Long Island, long for something more fulfilling than what their families and their membership in the local PTA offer. The Applewood elementary school is going to be the set of a George Clooney movie. Lisa Slotnick, Maddie Schein and Ruth Moss team up to make sure preparations go smoothly. The women find themselves pitted against a buff and blonde nemesis, PTA president Suzanne, who wants all the glory for herself. This leads to madcap escapades and silly sniping amongst the women. All in good fun. The juicy bits concern the women's lives outside the PTA. Each is trapped in a prison of family obligation and sexual repression. Ruth, whose husband suffered a debilitating stroke, is carrying on a steamy affair with the school's guilt-laden superintendent. Maddie, who is convinced that her beloved husband is sleeping with his cousin, decides to get him back by hooking up with her former best male friend from college. And Lisa is struggling to come to terms with her abusive and alcoholic mother, who has asked to move in with the Slotnicks while she attends rehab nearby. As each woman grapples with her emotions, the trio becomes closer in their attempt to bring the movie project to fruition and to thwart the wretched Suzanne. Ultimately, though, they succeed in the larger task of helping each other realize their dreams. Comical yet poignant read without too much melodrama.

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Product Details

Brilliance Audio
Publication date:
Edition description:
Unabridged, 9 CDs, 10 hrs.
Product dimensions:
5.00(w) x 5.50(h) x 0.75(d)

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Read an Excerpt

Secret Confessions of the Applewood PTA

Chapter One


Maddie Schein drove into the parking lot of the North Applewood Elementary School and found a space between two massive SUVs, glinting majestically in the morning sun. She thought she saw the designer vehicles bristle at the proximity of her four-year-old, in-need-of-a-wash minivan. Ridiculous, she told herself. They're hunks of metal. And besides, even if they could judge her, why should she care? It's not like she even aspired to such trophies.

Still, she wished she could wear the source of her pride on the outside, like the other PTA women did. But you can't drive a law degree, or slip your IQ over your shoulders and tie it into a jaunty knot.

She slammed the van door and headed toward the building, wondering why she cared so much about impressing these women. Didn't she have enough self-esteem without their approval? Didn't she get enough reassurance from Bruce, her husband?

Well, no. And maybe that was part of the problem. Maybe that was why she sought recognition here. It had been so long since Bruce had showered her with the kind of assurances she craved that she was starved for appreciation. And after getting that phone call this morning from his cousin, she was more than just needy. She was desperate.

She pushed open the double doors to the cafeteria where the first meeting of the year was about to start. As she scanned the room for familiar faces, Maddie wondered if she would ever feel like she had a place in this town's social strata. Little did she know that a year later she would walk into this very same room bearing the town'smost important news since Mr. Abbot, the principal of the high school, was caught with Mr. McCann, the art teacher, in the janitor's closet. Only it wouldn't be about faculty. It would be about George Clooney.

Maddie scanned the room, trying to find a friendly face among the crowd of women who were still milling about, chatting in small groups. She spotted a hand waving spiritedly. It was Mary Molinari, a sweet but hypertalkative woman who managed to work into almost every conversation that she was related, however remotely, to the superintendent of schools.

Maddie also got a nod from Donna Fishbein, an icy dermatologist whose husband had recently been indicted for stock fraud.

Toward the front of the room, Maddie noticed Suzanne Podobinski, head of the PTA and one of the impeccably groomed women who gave the town's female population its reputation for high-maintenance perfection. Looking at Suzanne and her group, most of whom were actually from Applewood Estates, a more affluent hamlet to the north with multiacre zoning and long driveways, Maddie remembered a joke she had made to an old college friend. "You've got it all wrong," she had said, "the women here run the gamut from blond to brunette, from thin to very thin."

It wasn't true of course, and Maddie knew it. The town had its share of diversity. If not in gene lines, then in waistlines at least. It was just that this elite group of women shone so brightly they eclipsed everyone else.

"Maddie!" Suzanne called, waving.

Widely regarded as a bitch, Suzanne sometimes seemed almost fond of Maddie, who understood it was the lawyer card working to her advantage again. And maybe it was the kind of thing everyone did, trying to find the ace that could bolster their status—like Mary Molinari and her tenuous relationship to the superintendent—but it had been so long since Maddie actually had practiced law that publicizing it was beginning to feel like a lie.

Maddie said hello to Suzanne, glancing past her to where she thought she saw her good friend Beryl Berman winding her way though the crowd.

"Who does Russell have?" Suzanne shouted over the din. Their boys were friends and eager to be in the same class.

"Mrs. Shulansky," Maddie said, referring to one of North Applewood's second-grade teachers. "How about Noah?"

"Collins," Suzanne said, pouting to illustrate her disappointment that her son was in a different class.

"We'll have to make a playdate," Maddie consoled. Suzanne was summoned by one of her fancy friends and waved good-bye.

Maddie looked back to the spot where she had seen Beryl only to discover that she stood about an inch away.

"Hey," Beryl said.

"How do you do that?" Maddie asked.

"Do what?"

"Appear out of nowhere."

"I tend to go invisible," said Beryl, "it's a special power I have. But it only works here in Applewood."

At five foot one, with a round shape and dark frizzy hair she had given up on, Beryl was not one of the lovelier women in the town. If you asked her about this, she would tell you it was fine with her, as she had no desire to live a life like the Applewood women who thought that the term "Miracle Mile"—a nickname for the designer shopping strip that cinched Long Island's tony North Shore—was literal.

Beryl pointed at Suzanne's group with her chin. "Look at them. Are they all on their way to tennis games, or are those special little PTA outfits?"

Maddie smiled. Thank God for Beryl. "If they don't show off their asses," Maddie said, "what's the point of all those hours at the gym?"

"You sound as bitter as me today. What's going on?"

Maddie sighed. "We got this wedding invitation from some distant relative of Bruce's. Since it's out of town and we barely know her, we decided not to go. So I stuck the invitation in a kitchen drawer, figuring I'd send my regrets when I had time to write a nice note. Believe me, I was thrilled we weren't going. Besides the fact that it's so hard to find someone to watch the kids for a weekend, I didn't think this wedding would be the best thing for our marriage right now."

"Why not?"

"Because I was thinking that Bruce's cousin Jenna might be there."

Secret Confessions of the Applewood PTA. Copyright © by Ellen Meister. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.

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Meet the Author

Ellen Meister grew up in the PTA-enriched heartland of suburban Long Island and spent her early career in publishing and advertising. She lives in New York with her husband and three children. This is her first novel.

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