3.5 / 5
"Miranda Ford never expected a simple trip to the drugstore to change the course of her entire life.""
From a producer of Family Guy, a satirical look at a dysfunctional family complete with a stage mom, 9 year-old pageant queen, philandering husband, his girlfriend, and the crazy grandmother
Miranda Miller’s mission in life is to make sure her nine-year-old daughter, Bailey, continues to be one of the most successful child pageant contestants in the southern United States. Lately, that mission’s been difficult. Bailey has been secretly binge eating to gain weight so Miranda will let her retire; and the reality show Miranda been trying to set up for Bailey (and herself) just went to their biggest rival, Starr Kennedy and her tyrannical stage mother, Theresa.
But Miranda’s got an ace up her sleeve. She’s seven months pregnant with her fourth child, a girl, thank God, and Miranda is going to make damn sure that this one will be a pageant champion, too.
Unbeknownst to her, Miranda’s husband Ray, a nurse with a hobby of popping random pills, has knocked up Courtney, the less than brilliant seventeen-year-old orphan granddaughter of one of his hospice patients. With a wife, a mistress, two jobs, three kids (and two more on the way), a mountain of debt, and no real friends, Ray is desperately hoping his life puts itself back in order.
Meanwhile, the Millers’ two boys are being “homeschooled” by Miranda’s mother, Joan (pronounced Jo-Ann), a well-intentioned widow who spends most of her time playing solitaire and planning a murder with Jesus. Yes, that Jesus.
They’re just your typical dysfunctional American family.
If you are a fan of black comedy a la Little Miss Sunshine, this book is for you. With quite a bit fewer brooding characters, mind you. Almost everyone in this book - no matter how smart! - is shallow and acts rather stupidly, when you finally pause to take stock. But it is all very amusing to watch everything play out! I can't say you'll grow to love this dysfunctional "family" of pageant-obsessed Miranda, drugged out nurse Ray, ditzy teen Courtney, or direct-line-to-Jesus Joan (not to mention their poor kids!). But you will certainly want to keep reading - I finished this super quickly, and couldn't put it down until the train wreck resolved itself! In only the way "resolved" could mean, when the author is a producer of Family Guy. I have to say, some of my favorite content of this book came from the back cover, which included quotes from Seth MacFarlane (obvi), Jennifer Garner, Stephen Colbert, and Amy Poehler. Hey, if I was joining a club of sorts having shared this book with the likes of them, I was all in! And I am glad I did. It was a fun ride. You won't regret picking this up for a hilarious summer beach read.
P.S. I received a gorgeous hardcover copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
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