What do you do when you discover that your six-year-old daughter has a better social life than you do? That’s precisely the predicament of Claire Marsh, twenty-something, newly-divorced, and desperate to get out of the house. Lately, she’s felt like little more than the chef and chauffeur for her wildly popular, peripatetic (and insanely over-scheduled) daughter Zoë, shuttling her to ballet lessons, bikram yoga, birthday parties, and—of course—numerous play dates, but she can’t find a minute for a “play date” of her own!
Claire hasn’t been having much fun lately. First, her husband left her for an olderwoman; and now she’s compelled to face life’s little vicissitudes without a soft place to fall, learning how to manage her own money, juggle a job, unclog the toilet, and raise Zoë alone.
The slings and arrows of Claire’s outrageous fortune sting even more sharply when Zoë begins to prefer the company of her fun-loving Aunt Mia (“MiMi”), Claire’s older sister, a bohemian makeup artist who is about to turn thirty and thus far has managed to avoid needing to take responsibility for anything.
In an inventive narrative style that tells the story through the first-person POVs of each of the three related protagonists, PLAY DATES unfolds over the course of a single year in their lives, from Zoë’s entering the second grade in September through her “graduation” the following June. As the months progress, all three heroines experience their own kind of growing pains and, by the following summer, they’ve each taken an unforgettable journey.
Amid laughter and tears, Claire-terrified of being a single parent-learns to lighten up and loosen up, and finds the special kind of “happily ever after” that comes from true self-fulfillment. She even has the opportunity to grab a second chance at love. The free-spirited Mia discovers that, contrary to Kander and Ebb, life is not, actually, a cabaret. Turning thirty, she embraces a series of newfound responsibilities and deliciously surprising discoveries with her unique brand of zaniness and charm . . . and, well, through all the ballet recitals, book reports, yoga classes, birthday parties for classmates whose parents have more money than God, a teacher who seems to have it in for her, a mom who seems to be undergoing some sort of life crisis, and ugh-the horror of being the only girl your age who still wears an Ariel swimsuit, Zoë survives second grade and develops an unforgettable bond with her mother.
A US Weekly magazine “hot book pick”; also featured in the February 2005 issue ofChild magazine. Fans of The Nanny Diaries and Le Divorce will want to make a play date with Play Dates right away!