"Pearson…shows just how complicated (and laugh-generating) the pursuit of the simple life can be."
"[Pearson's] attempts to deal with her anxieties, phobias, neuroses and addictions touch a mysterious universal chord that is most endearing and hilarious and inspiring."
"Area Woman has … exposed the emperor of contemporary culture for being the nudist we all suspect he is. Read it and sob with laughter."
Many of us are fed up with our peculiar North American lifestyle, given the relentless pressure to purchase still more despite all our existing creature comforts. Often, it's the bizarre advertising methods and messages to incite our consuming responses that most provoke Canadian freelance journalist Pearson, who writes about it with excitable and pointed, if uneven, hilarity. She takes on Christmas, health news and fads, early-morning television programs, gadgetry, and common childcare issues (e.g., getting a tired-but-wired child to sleep before mom) with a refreshingly comic eye for the absurd, including herself. For larger memoir collections. Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
Canadian journalist Pearson (When She Was Bad, 1997, etc.) offers some mildly amusing, finally innocuous comments on organic foods, daycare and surviving motherhood. Pearson's gently satiric essays, many originally published in the National Post, seem to have lost their stringency this far south, where debates on carcinogenic foods, the invasion of privacy by credit departments and the evils of daycare have been swirling around for years. Written in a punchy, bulleted style meant for easy digestion, Pearson's flippant pieces excoriate the newfangled (American) way of food efficiency in favor of old-fashioned cooking: e.g., microwave popcorn's "flavor vapors" may cause cancer, so she offers the cheaper kernel-pot method. For Christmas, she eschews annoying electronic toys for her two small children in favor of such home-style devices as a stick, the cat and toilet paper. She has rejected the "hostile little ecosystem of female rivalry, with a smell of sugar-coated bitchiness," also known as the department-store beauty department, and now frequents a barbershop for a $15 haircut. To mitigate the guilt of dumping children in daycare, Pearson "researched" biographies of some famous people who grew up under surrogate parents (Elizabeth I, Jane Austen) and concludes, "Studies show that thinking of oneself as a semi-divine being can often compensate for decapitated or working mother." The substantial last section takes place in the village of Tepoztlan, Mexico, where the author holed her family up for six months to find "simplicity," and instead battled mangy dogs and importunate landlords. Frustrated by the language barrier, she offers some poignant remarks on being a new immigrant (she nowsympathizes with New Canadians who bemoan the "Aura of Rank Stupidity" their beginning English conveys) and a very funny anecdote about visiting el dentista where "dolor" becomes "dollars." Overall, Pearson's voice is almost engagingly naive, though her subjects are fairly derivative. A Great White North pundit altogether too nice for south of the border. . .
"Patricia Pearson holds little back as she admits to myriad foibles as a woman and a parent and a wife, and as she confesses her great puzzlement with so many accepted societal 'norms.' Not only did I giggle to myself throughout this book, but in spite of all her self-described flaws, I came out on the other end knowing one thing for certain: I want to be more like her."
"Pearson's writing is side-splittingly funny…but amid the debris of the near-disasters perpetrated by her children, there's a tender mother hanging on to her identity at all costs."
"Screamingly funny…No aspect of modern American life escapes Pearson's inquiring mind."
Praise for Playing House:
“Think Bridget Jones’s Diary and Sex and the City meet Good Housekeeping and Today’s Parent. Vodka tonics meet baby bottles. Designer clothes meet grubby little hands…. Patricia Pearson made me laugh out loud.”
“I felt as if I had been entertained at a dinner … where I had grabbed the arms of my dinner mates on either side, mothers all, to keep myself from falling off my chair in laughter.”
—The Globe and Mail
“Too well written to be dismissed as ‘chick lit.’”
“A fresh and lively romp … will leave you lusting for more.”
“Fresh, funny and sweet without being sugary.”