Disclaimer: I really want to thank my good friend Tom Powers for reviewing this book. Yes, I am the author of the book, and, yes, I recognize that posting a positive review of my own book on this blog may not be the most objective thing to do, but I’m still glad that Tom found the book so enjoyable!
Review by Tom Powers
The other day, while I was tutoring English at the college where I teach, my colleague Bobbie walked up to me and exclaimed, “I’ve been reading your friend Marc Schuster’s novel, The Singular Exploits of Wonder Mom & Party Girl, and let me tell you – Marc is a brilliant author!” She then went on to tell me that Marc has truly captured the voice of a woman struggling with divorce and addiction – no easy task for a male author who has fortunately not experienced these terrible hardships. Hearing Bobbie’s words, I was immediately reminded that I always enjoy Marc’s writing because he goes outside the boundaries of his own life experiences and builds three-dimensional characters and worlds with which readers can universally identify.
In his heroine Audrey Corcoran, Marc indeed creates a realistic character whose struggle is equally tragic and comedic. It is also the unique manner that Audrey’s story unfolds in the novel that shows Marc deftly playing with time in a complex layering of cause and effect. As these chapters play off each other like shadows and light in a chiaroscurist’s painting, we can sense that Audrey is potentially heading for some sort of breakdown. Through Marc’s writing, however, we are enthralled in reading her journey to the dark side and poignantly reminded how our impulsive choices can destructively reverberate further down the road in our own lives.
Audrey’s vivid characterization is nicely complemented by the people in her life: her two precocious daughters, an ex-husband who insists on Audrey being his best friend, his gorgeous, “younger model” wife, a jazz aficionado love interest who dabbles with cocaine, and a man who goes by the code name “Captain Panther.” Throw into the narrative mix a best friend who helps feed Audrey’s growing coke habit and a boss whose salacious mindset humorously twists the tone of the food magazine for which she writes, and you have a cast of characters who keep Audrey energetically bouncing amongst her complex roles of devoted mother, passionate lover, loyal friend, and confused drug-user.
Marc’s novel likewise works as a cautionary diatribe on our consumerist society, as it shows how the image-driven demands of our mall-culture conflict with the needs of the individual’s search for identity and contentment. Being members of a media-based country that loves the downfall of our real-life tragic heroes of the female variety, particularly Martha Stewart, or on a darker note, Heidi Fleiss, potential readers will be naturally attracted to Audrey’s tale.
To anyone of us, then, who have been either dumped by our spouses, forced to raise children virtually alone, or faced the demands of a merciless, youth-based society and the tyranny of mounting credit-debt, The Singular Exploits of Wonder Mom & Party Girl will undoubtedly speak volumes.