Another wincingly funny memoir from Rouse (America’s Boy, 2006), who describes moving up from the white-trash Ozarks to white-shoe education.
Hired as director of publicity at Tate Academy (a real school whose actual name and location have been disguised), the author soon learned he was “the mommy handler…the bug guard on the institutional vehicle; I get whacked and splattered, take the hits, so everyone else riding in the car—the administration, the faculty, the staff, the students—stays clean and unharmed from annoying, stinging insects.” Queen Bee here is Katherine Isabelle Ludington, better known as “Kitsy” (a composite portrait), who acts as liaison for the parent and alumni groups whose work Rouse oversees, and usually completes. Whip-thin, sporting a helmeted bob and a Lilly Pulitzer pink outfit (her dog LulaBelle is dressed just like her), Kitsy pulls her Land Rover into the school’s carpool lane and summons Rouse to inform him that his Reunion theme and décor “are simply too boring.” The diabolical Kitsy—think Miranda Priestly from The Devil Wears Prada—hasn’t a clue how to treat people. She stiffs the waiters at her country club: “I’m quite certain the service staff is well compensated. A dollar here and a dollar there is just gauche.” She tells a chubby coffee-shop barista, “You know what’s funny? I’ve never met a thin April.” While Rouse recognizes Kitsy as shallow and cruel, the former outsider finds it difficult to stop longing to be a part of the “in” crowd. Will he develop some self-esteem and stand up to this matron from hell? Will he come out of the closet and introduce boyfriend Gary to his colleagues and the alumni? Will he protect the other children from the terrifying offspring of Kitsy and her Botoxed posse? Or will he succumb to the dark side of popularity and entitlement?
Delicious fun. Kitsy and the rest of the Mean Mommies are caricatures, but who cares?