McLaren (The Continuity Girl, 2009) brings us the story of a marriage straining under the weight of parenthood.
This romance novel for the post-marriage set introduces college sweethearts Nick and Maya, who have moved from hot sex to separate bedrooms and mismatched priorities after the birth of their twins, Foster and Isla. Nick, a brand-obsessed commercial filmmaker, is unhappy with his wife, a high-powered attorney–turned–humorless stay-at-home mom, who's now obsessed "with nitrates, toxins, and evil ingredients." While Maya fantasizes about the past and her personal trainer, Nick dreams of divorce and other women. As Maya consults a self-help book that tells her to state her deepest desire and it will come, Nick consults Adam Gray, a lawyer friend who warns that as the family's breadwinner, Nick will pay dearly for the divorce he wants. Just as Maya wishes for her marriage to return to its golden days, Nick embarks on a plan to restore balance before he files for divorce. Despite the heavy subject matter, McLaren keeps the tone light and airy throughout. Nick's shiftlessness and Maya's neurosis are humorous and vividly drawn, starting from the moment Maya uses her own mouth to suction snot from her daughter's nose. Sometimes McLaren strains to make the plot as deep as the characterizations. Adam Gray's long-standing love for Maya leads to declarations that conveniently work to distance Nick and Maya. In one page, Foster morphs from calling Maya "pooey bum head" to a toddler philosopher: "Even when Daddy's home, it's like he's away."
A perfect beach book for those who like their reading light and their endings happy.