by Leslie Carroll

February 2005
ISBN: 0-06-059606-6
Reviewer Graphic Button Avon Trade
Mass Market Paperback

What to expect from Leslie Carroll and her latest, Play Dates? In MiMi the reader gets a typical chick-lit heroine, one who is independent, successful, and searching for Mr. Right. However, MiMi's sister, Claire Marsh, a single-mom, fits into the mom-lit genre. An ex-trophy wife with a six-year-old daughter, she's struggling to maintain the lifestyle sheís used to. Whatever you want to call the book, itís definitely one for New York City fans.

Before her divorce, Claire never had to work; she had a housekeeper to help with the chores and with ZoŽ. She had a husband paying for her designer clothes and their daughterís private school. Now, sheís got a nice uptown apartment, and her parents pay her daughterís tuition fees. However, Claire wants to prove she can stand on her own feet. Being dumped for an older woman with her own business made her come to that conclusion. Claire decides on becoming a tour guide, and while she battles it out with elderly ladies wanting their orgasms at Katzís Deli and destroying the fragile relationship with the French, the reader learns all there is to see of Manhattan.

With no babysitter and a dragon of a second grade teacher, Claire soon spends too much time scheduling her little daughterís dates and visiting the headmasterís office. As a result, she gets fired. MiMi tries to be of help. She loves to spoil her little niece. Of course ZoŽ adores her fun and flamboyant aunt and prefers her company to her mother's, a fact which bruises Claire's already very fragile ego. A new job, new friends, and a hero for a boyfriend come to her rescue.

If a reader doesnít mind a precocious little girl, with a strong voice showcased in several lengthy diary entries, than Play Dates is one book not to be missed. I might have not liked a political remark, and I definitely didnít get all of the pop-culture references, but being led around New York City by a very likable MiMi, a charming ZoŽ, and a very strong Claire is fascinating and fun.

This is a grown-up book. It is very well structured and flows smoothly with clever writing. Play Dates is also entertaining, intelligent, and filled with love. Itís a book perfect to recommend to girlfriends, sisters and mothers.

Reviewed in January 2005 by Kris Alice.

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