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A MOTHER TO EMBARRASS ME by Carol Lynch Williams


by Carol Lynch Williams

Age Range: 9 - 12

Pub Date: March 1st, 2001
ISBN: 0-385-72922-7
Publisher: Delacorte

Laura’s big problem is the antics of her mother, who can be guaranteed to garner attention in unusual ways. Mom is a sculptor, ex-model, horrible cook, loves singing loud to old-time rock n’roll, wearing pajamas and bedroom slippers in public, and—worst of all—is pregnant at the ripe old age of 38. Oh horrors, her parents have actually been doing “it.” An only child, 12-year-old Laura has little to complain about. She has loving parents in a home with two acres of land, a great best friend, a crush on an older guy, and a passion for reading Richard Peck. Mom never truly does anything that isn’t cute or funny, but Laura is the only one who reacts. Dad’s no big improvement as his own embarrassing stunt at her first boy-girl party proves. The continuous bombardment of incidents that leaves Laura with an ongoing list of things she’d like to change about her mother seems increasingly vapid and silly as readers learn that there have been five miscarriages and that Mom is beloved by everyone else. The subplot about the neighbor boy who likes Laura and is all too aware that she has a crush on his older brother is equally void of tension. Middle-grade readers may or may not see the humor here—after all, it will sound very familiar. But Laura does have something of a change of heart and her list becomes one of helping her mother do better, rather than changing her completely. An also-ran to Alice or Anastasia. (Fiction. 9-12)