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Playdate Paperback – March 13, 2012
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From Publishers Weekly
Pity the 21st-century househusband. Although former weatherman Lance Ramsay enjoys staying at home in the San Diego suburb of Encinitas, his 10-year-old daughter Belle's classmates consider him a loser, and his wife, Darlene, is so busy opening a new "Darlene's Diner," the franchise she started eight years ago in Barstow, Calif., that lovemaking has become perfunctory. Lance longs for another child and wishes his wife were more sensitive to Belle, but he finds plenty of distractions: having lots of tantric sex with Wren, the wife of Darlene's business partner, and dodging the amorous overtures of Wren's babysitter. Wren's sister, Robin, starts writing a book about househusbands, which gives a macho neighbor a chance to express his contempt for housebound men. Over the course of a few busy days leading up to the new diner's opening, in which everyone is sleeping with everyone, a brush fire threatens the region, which leads to the inevitable question: will the Ramsays' marriage go up in flames? US Weekly film critic Adams wittily skewers his shallow characters, resulting in a novel that's equal parts cleverness and tedium. (Jan.)
(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
When a novel starts with the Santa Ana winds about to bear down on a well-groomed California suburb, you know havoc will ensue. In the manner of Tom Perotta’s Little Children (2006), Playdate follows the complicated, about-to-explode life of a modern-day, stay-at-home, suburban dad. Nice-guy Lance has given up his career as a TV weatherman to help his high-powered wife, Darlene, start a new business. His days are consumed with caring for their daughter, Bella; trying to impregnate his reluctant wife; and having tantric sex with the wife of his wife’s business partner. The early introduction of tantric yoga (i.e., sex) puts the novel squarely in the satire category, but Adams is not completely content to let the story rest there. Earnest discussions of modern parenting, marriage, and gender roles fill almost every chapter as the impending storms threaten everything from Darlene’s new business to Bella’s birthday party. Unfortunately, these discussions sometimes come off as clunky exposition, in which the characters seem to be presenting talking points rather than having a conversation. Overall, though, the novel is an enjoyable, if slightly heavy-handed, romp through modern suburban life. --Marta Segal Block --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Top Customer Reviews
However the affairs and the way the kids were just pushed through the book really didn't catch my fancy too much. Maybe this book is just too modern for me. I didn't think I would get through it, I made it halfway and thought this isn't bad and then the last 30 pages I wanted to scream enough already. Half the words seemed like nonsense to me.
No one really had any depth to them, because if they did, they wouldn't be in those situations! All the guys except for Lance were painted as jerks, which today's society says they are if they go out and work for a living they are like cavemen. Which isn't true.
My review seems a bit harsh but I couldn't give a everything-is-awesome in this book. I am relieved it is over and I can move on to other things!
It's a good premise, but to be honest, it just never travels very far. Lance's wife has her own business startup issues, and there are the typical misconceptions about a stay-at-home dad. But all in all, there really isn't a lot of there... there.
The two have one child, sixth grader Belle. They're considering having more and while Lance is excited, Darlene may not be as enthusiastic. She's so driven by her job and starting up her business that she is slowly becoming disconnected from Lance and Belle. Meanwhile, Lance is connecting with other women in his life, included the wife of Darlene's business partner and Julia, the babysitter who watches over the kids of the wife Lance is having an affair with.
Apparently, being the king of the Girl Scout cookies is quite the turn-on for some of the ladies in Lance's life.
If it all sounds a bit complicated, it can be at times. But you won't have any trouble keeping up with things in the story. Told over the course of three days, Thelma Adams' "Playdate" fills in enough of the details to keep you interested but it doesn't really break any new ground. The main question the novel ponders is how much do we all what we do to define a person or persons. The story could have been a bit better if had actually delved a bit deeper into the questions asked here, but the novel instead goes for humorous moments and brings everything together in a nice, neatly wrapped romantic comedy package in the final pages.
The characters were not well-developed enough to form any emotion about and therefore their foibles just seemed silly and childish. Plot lines were started but not developed (i.e., Sam's crush on Belle) and the end was just too tidy a package.
I'll be reading the book again as I'm leading our book club discussion on it next month, and will add to my review if my opinion changes, but I finished this book today, in one day, and I've already forgot most of it.
The worst part, though, is the writing. If you are going to try to read this book, just prepare yourself for gems like, "The unexpected anger her eyes flashed startled him. He immediately dropped his arm from her waist. He had wanted to drink in her eyes and what he got was scalding tea." I mean, how do sentences like that last one even happen? My advice? Just save yourself the misery and skip this one.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
What happens when you and your husband are in an intimate position and your sixth grade daughter walks into the room?Read more