The latest in a series of occasional posts on books I didn’t finish and why I didn’t finish them
Title: Carpool Diem. By Nancy Star. Grand Central/5 Spot, 326 pp., $13.99, paperback.
What it is: A fizzy novel about a turbocharged executive who transfers her aggression to her daughter’s soccer games when she loses her job.
How much I read: About 70 pages: the first nine chapters, the last few pages, and some other parts.
Why I stopped reading: This lighter-than-light novel might be best read in an SUV full of empty Gatorade bottles while you wait for your daughter to finish practice. I thought it might be fun to review during soccer season but decided I was out of my depth when I realized that I didn’t know when soccer season was. (Memo to parents: Is it still soccer season? Or is it lacrosse season now? Or maybe hockey?) You could imagine Barnes and Noble displaying this one next to Sophie Kinsella’s books, maybe with a sign reading, “What if Shopaholic was a New Jersey soccer mom?”
Best line in what I read: The manic newsletters that the obsessive, semi-deranged soccer coach Winslow West sends to team parents. Here’s a sample paragraph: “Aggressive Play Reminder: I know young athletes tend to think that when a ref shows them a yellow card it is a warning to be feared. I urge you instead to view the yellow card as a form of tribute to aggressive play! The next time a ref shows you a yellow card, accept it as the compliment it really is!!!” And another: “Notification of next year’s team selection will be on the 25th of June. Players who are moved down to the B team, the Asteroids, will receive a call from the B coach, Gerri Picker. But do not despair! Any player who is moved down from our Elite team to the B team will have the opportunity, over the next season, to work hard and climb back up if she so desires!!!” And then there’s my favorite: “Practice will continue to be held on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays throughout the summer, from eight forty-five to twelve-fifteen and four forty-five to six thirty, irregardless of the weather!” Love that “irregardless.”
Worst line in what I read: The strained humor in parts of an epilogue called “Five Warning Signs That Your Kid’s Coach Is Crazy.” One sign: “Uses a ball pump as a key chain.”
Reading group guide and excerpt: At www.hachettebookgroupusa.com/books_9780446581820.htm.
Published: March 2008
Caveat lector: This review was based on an advance reading copy. Some material in the finished book may differ.
Furthermore: Nancy Star is a New Jersey children’s author who also writes novels for adults that include Carpool Diem. Contact the author: Nancy Star, c/o Author Mail, 5 Spot, Hachette Book Group USA, 237 Park Avenue, New York, New York 10017.
One-Minute Book Reviews is for people who like to read but dislike hype and review inflation.
© 2008 Janice Harayda. All rights reserved.