In Jane Porter's novel "Odd Mom Out," the author did a terrific job of succinctly illustrating two main points: the struggle working moms have as they try to balance a satisfying career and a happy family life, and the fierce desire many women have to remain uniquely individual instead of turning into a cookie-cutter version of the stereotypical PTA mom.
One of the main reasons I enjoyed "Odd Mom Out" so much was due to the "I can relate" factor. There were so many issues in this book that either I have experienced on one level or another, or I've had friends or family who've also struggled with the same challenges characters Marta and her daughter Eva faced.
Some of the issues Marta dealt with were: balancing a successful career and a happy home life; struggling to do everything herself as a single mom; questioning how much, if any, of her unique personality and style to give up in order to not hurt or embarrass her 9-year-old daughter; fearing romantic involvement with any man again because she'd been hurt so bad in the past; and watching her dad's spirits decline as her mother's mental health deteriorated with the progression of Alzheimer's disease.
Some of the issues Eva coped with: adjusting to regional lifestyle and personality differences after moving from the East Coast to the West Coast; trying to make new friends; struggling to become a part of the "popular" girl crowd; not having as much money as the other kids who lived in her neighborhood; convincing her mom to act and dress more like a "normal" mom; not having a dad around; not looking as pretty as the other girls; and needing her mom to stop giving so much time and attention to her job and instead give it to Eva.
Another main reason I liked this book was because I think the author really has a gift for description. Some examples I highlighted in my book were:
1. Her funny descriptions, such as:
"I am chicken and what frightens me is me. Chicken? Hell, yeah. You might as well call me a poultry farm."
"Outside, the late morning sun shines on the ... luxury cars parked on the side of the half-circle driveway - Lexus, Lexus, Mercedes, BMW ... and then there's my car. My restored 1957 Ford truck. Okay. So it's a little like Sesame Street's `one of these things doesn't go with the others.'"
2. Her ability (in character Marta's voice) to describe viewpoints spot-on as to how a lot of women feel, such as:
"I believe women fall in love and begin relationships with great hope and expectations, but then we somehow go wrong. Women end up giving too much, yielding and bending and compromising until we're worn out, worn down."
"I never did get my dad's approval, and I adored him for much of my life. But nothing I did was good enough, nothing was right. He wanted sweetness, goodness, charm, docility. And I wanted fire."
3. Her poetic descriptions, such as:
"Eva can be so serious, and then when she smiles it's like the full moon at midnight. So big, and wide, glowing with light."
Although most of my favorite novels contain a sort-of "long-winded" sentence structure, I admit the consistent 10-or-less-words-per-sentence writing style in "Odd Mom Out" was pretty refreshing. Since this is the first Jane Porter book I've read, I don't know if the author always writes that way, but I thought it particularly fitting to convey the way a woman like Marta (and hottie manly-man Luke) would talk. (The author didn't use this style just in dialogue, but throughout the whole book.)
Usually my busy lifestyle wins out over a little down-time enjoying reading a good book, but I read this 408-page book in a week because I liked it so much! I look forward to reading more of Jane Porter's books, and I was surprised to learn that her novel "Flirting With Forty" was made into a movie I enjoyed a while back starring Heather Locklear.
I definitely will recommend this author to my family and friends!