As a young California girl growing up in a blue collar neighborhood, Taylor Young dreamed of being popular, beautiful, and acquiring a wardrobe to die for. Not to mention marrying a handsome, successful man and living happily ever after in a gorgeous house with three wonderful children. Now, at 36, Taylor has reached the pinnacle of her dreams, but is it all about to unravel? As the new school year approaches, Taylor prepares herself for playing the perfect alpha mom: organizing class activities, fund-raising, and chairing the school auction. But the horror! Her archrival, bohemian mom Marta Zinsser, is named Head Room Mom of Taylor's daughter's fifth grade class. As tensions rise at committee meetings and school activities, the two rivals seem to be destined for a final confrontation. But as Taylor plans her next move, she is floored by a more serious blow at home-her husband has been secretly unemployed for the past six months. With her posh lifestyle crumbling, Taylor struggles to maintain her alpha image-but could Marta, who cares little about appearances, be her only true friend?
I made the mistake of reading Mrs. Perfect BEFORE I read the book that comes before this, Odd Mom Out. However I actually quite happy that I did because it allowed me to have a better understand of Taylor when I went back and read the previous book. As someone in a marriage that has seen their share of financial struggles, I could relate a bit to what Taylor and Nathan were going through. Of course we didn't have nearly the amount of problems they were having, but it was understandable how Taylor could have been left out in the dark of how much in debt they were. Granted she should have kept up with her spending and realized that she was a shopaholic and was buying stuff she didn't need. Her husband keeps saying he's trying to help but he's been keeping secrets from her for almost a year. Now they are in deep trouble and stand to lose everything that Taylor has worked so hard to accomplish.
The book shows Taylor trying to do everything to keep up with the lavish lifestyle she's been used to and trying to ignore what is really happening. Eventually though reality finally sinks in and she has to go against what she's supposed to be like and accepts that she cannot afford this lifestyle. It was incredible satisfying to see Taylor completely humbled by the end of the book. She no longer craves a rich life or tries to keep up with appearances. Instead she's come to realize that family is more important and just being together. I really like the complete 180 degree attitude change. Also equally interesting was Taylor's choice in friends. While she does have some true friends who stick by her even when her circumstances change, she soon finds out that most of her "friends" not only abandon her but begin to talk about her behind their back. Therefore she begins to turn the Marta, the one woman she despised like no other. It's quite the kicker to read about that friendship.
What I love best about Jane Porter's book are how incredibly thick they are for a chick lit novels, which is wonderful because it gives more time to build up characterization and expound on the plot. Taylor is a really good character to have a longer book on because she's actually a really complex character with a hidden past she's trying to keep under wraps. While I was reading Odd Mom Out, I was able to look at her in a totally different way than I would have if I hadn't know her back story. It made me pity her while normally I would have hated her. Jane Porter's books are wonderful and this one is no exception. A wonderful read to kick back and relax with.
Mrs. Perfect by Jane Porter is published by 5 Spot (2008)
This review copy was provided by the publisher