A single mom takes on the hobgoblins of modern parenting: fertility clinics, ADHD medications, and standardized tests.
Microbiologist Rebecca Meer has just been made partner in the local fertility clinic, where Dr. Thad Sorenson’s slick bedside manner smooths over her blunt appraisals of a couple’s chances of conception. Yet underneath Rebecca’s professional lavender scrubs bubbles a disturbing sympathy for the Bandercooks, a sprawling, multigenerational family known mostly for their adventures in crime. Everyone pretty much avoids the boisterous Bandercooks, yet when Rusty Bandercook slips through the clinic’s back door to donate sperm, Rebecca can’t help but play along with the charade that women pine for his short, stocky genetic profile. Even worse, her own hormones surge at the sight of Rusty’s brother, Hayes, a chiseled lineman. Smoldering glances across the coffee counter at the local Fuel and Flee soon lead to sweaty afternoon romps at the seedy Fox Motel. Things are socially rickety but nothing Rebecca can’t handle, until her son, Mitchell—presumed by everyone to be a successful product of genetic engineering—gets a new fifth-grade teacher: Rebecca's ex-boyfriend Kevin Holts, who’s just returned to Ward after founding his own absurdly successful tech company in California. Rebecca suspects Kevin’s entrepreneurial tendencies—and shocking lack of educational credentials—mean he’s up to something. How did he twist Principal Calvin Chester around his little finger so fast? And why is he trying to sabotage the food drive? Bursting with well-drawn, quirky characters, Curtright’s debut novel is screamingly funny. From moms eager to medicate their academically challenged children into drooling, hyperfocused zombies to Calvin and Kevin’s new plan to raise test scores (a plan seemingly based on Ayn Rand’s Atlas Shrugged) to Dr. Thad’s increasingly erratic behavior—Ward, Nebraska, is a Peyton Place of intrigue.
Midwestern pragmatism meets lusty debauchery in this lively tale of parenting in a small town.