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Confessions of a Prep School Mommy Handler: A Memoir Paperback – August 12, 2008

3.8 out of 5 stars 28 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

In this memoir showcasing the ugly side of the affluent mothers of the pseudonymous Tate Academy , among the country's most prestigious prep schools, Rouse, the school's director of public relations, explains that his job is that of the Mommy Handler—keeping the families and benefactors of the institution happy. In particular, he works closely with a woman he calls Kitsy, the head of the parent and alumni committees and the ringleader of a group he dubs the M2s or the Mean Mommies, a troublesome squad of beautiful women whose self-appointed job it is to maintain Tate's legacy of exclusionary ways. The tales of superficial demands and backhanded nastiness, as well as the quest for a standardized idea of perfection portray a scene worse than a suburban PTA meeting of Stepford wives. But Rouse, whose first memoir, America's Boy, chronicled his life growing up gay in conservative middle America, justifies silently stomaching it all with a candid explanation of his overwhelming need to be accepted by the in-crowd. Rouse's personal journey toward self-realization is highlighted by moments of compassion for students who are similarly ostracized for not being attractive, athletic or wealthy enough. Sadly, he never actually speaks up for fear of the M2s. Rouse's writing is fresh and funny, and the stories of Botox parties, catty mothers and manicured pet pups make this an amusing insider look into the opulent lifestyle of prep school families. (Sept.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

From Booklist

Some jobs are decidedly unenviable, but Rouse may have the most unenviable of all: mommy handler. OK, his real title is "director of public relations" for a tony prep school (renamed Tate Academy here). But the job, at its core, is to deal with the very rich, very demanding, very unkind mothers of the school's so-very-fabulous students. His memoir opens during carpool-lane duty, where Wade is accosted by Kitsy Ludington, who becomes his nemesis of the year. Kitsy is the supreme Mean Mommy, and Wade's tales of his misadventures with her are hilarious. Take, for example, the time he tried to drop off an invitation to her home only to find he had stumbled into a Botox party with a Doogie Howser–like "doctor" at the helm. Even as Wade makes strides at understanding what makes these ladies act the way they do, he finds himself the target of their insecurities—and it doesn't end pretty. But Wade's irreverent look at his career at Tate is laugh-out-loud funny and full of charm, candor, and a boatload of cattiness. Wilkens, Mary Frances --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 249 pages
  • Publisher: Three Rivers Press; 1st edition (2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0307382710
  • ISBN-13: 978-0307382719
  • Product Dimensions: 5.2 x 0.6 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 7.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (28 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #951,870 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By E. Caspari on September 20, 2008
Format: Paperback
Wade Rouse's second memoir is extremely amusing for anyone who has seen prep school from either the in or out crowds' perspectives. I suspect that most premier prep schools have their share of the Mean Mommies mocked in this memoir. That said, those from the St. Louis area will find this especially entertaining.

Following its publication, Rouse conducted a number of interviews. He refused to confirm or deny that Tate Academy was inspired by the years he spent as Director of Communications at a toney local prep school. If you want to identify the school, the information can be googled, but I don't want to spoil the fun. Local press interviews with graduates and staff at the school indicated that they all understood what school was being discussed. St. Louis natives who answer the "which high school" question will doubtless enjoy trying to identify the country club and some of the characters. Rouse stated that every hilarious incident, including when a 90+ year old alum chugged whiskey and pushed him down a staircase during a school event, was based on an actual experience. For those of you from the hallowed halls of Tate, you may find his catty digs cut a little close to the bone. It all depends which crowd you were in and how seriously you took it all.
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By Leah on March 8, 2014
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I loved this book. It was raw and so deep. I cried when Wade was reading to the old woman because it was so tender and because it seemed to give him respite from such harshness-harshness he felt toward himself. I am amazed that he had the courage to withstand that lifestyle for so long.
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Format: Hardcover
No doubt this tell all satire will sell out quickly in St. Louis where everyone
who attended "Tate" will be trying to assimilate the characters.
The book is well written, but the characterization is way over the top.
Perhaps I feel this way because I attended "Tate" for a dozen years.
Regardless, it is a delicious catty read not to be taken too seriously.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Enjoyed this book a lot. It was quite entertaining.
I would 're commend it to anyone................. oh but I hate that I have to write a certain amount of words on my kindle to review a book, so I usually skip it.
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Format: Hardcover
On any given weekday morning, rain or shine, you could find Wade Rouse in the carpool lane of Tate Academy helping to direct traffic, usher kids into school and placate the concerns of parents. Rouse was not a crossing guard or even a teacher, but the director of publicity at the prestigious mid-western school.

In his latest memoir, CONFESSIONS OF A PREP SCHOOL MOMMY HANDLER, the author of AMERICA'S BOY recounts his life at the beck and call of a few of the super rich and snobby mothers of Tate students. While publicity is ostensibly his job at Tate, Rouse soon learns that his primary responsibility is handling overly involved and not very kind mommies. For him, the carpool lane comes to symbolize his demeaning work at the school.

Rouse is clever, funny and kind, but not to himself. His low self-esteem is attractive to the ladies he dubs "the mean mommies," especially to Katherine Isabelle Ludington, or "Kitsy." Kitsy, a Tate alum and the parent to young Tate student "Mitsy," decides to become deeply involved in both the major and minor happenings on the busy Tate calender. These are the events that Rouse is generally in charge of, and somehow, over the course of the year, he ends up being her assistant. Rouse is desperate to turn her down but is unable to do so. She humiliates him, manipulates him emotionally and buys him off with expensive gifts, yet he still wonders if she in fact may be his first adult female friend.

It is not necessary to have read Rouse's first memoir, in which he talks about his childhood and young adulthood, to fully understand where he is coming from in CONFESSIONS, but it does help a little. Rouse grew up in the rural south in an eccentric but caring family. He was gay, overweight and unpopular.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Everything this man writes is downright hysterical - but it goes beyond that. His books are very well written and so entertaining. I never wanted to put it down! There are laughs, a few tears and a some moments of really thinking about how you would react in some of his situations.

The best thing I did this summer was to get my hands on everything he has written. You know it's a great read when you find yourself smiling as you turn pages!

I have read some negative reviews in the past and I must comment on them - they seem a lot like the sour grapes of bad writers who cannot get published!

I hope there are many more books to come!

Oh, and he AND his hubby are AH-DORABLE!
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This book, the second I have read from this author was entertaining.
While I did not enjoy it as much as his first memoir, I did find myself laughing out loud often. I also had moments where i shed a tear and countless times when I was smiling. Wade Rouse and his thoughts in his books, convey what many think in their own heads. Most of all his stories show how human we all can be and how over time we can change and grow and find our own path in life.
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Format: Paperback
Not so far from the truth - as someone who attended "Tate" for 6 years.

Laugh out loud funny - a characterization of quite a few Mom's (and maybe even my own a bit)... Quick read, good for a quick airport trip or the beach.

While there is a certain faction, who does behave this way - it's certainly not the tone/experience of the school at large.
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