Cover image for sMothering
French, Wendy.
Personal Author:
First edition.
Publication Information:
New York : Forge, [2003]

Physical Description:
301 pages ; 22 cm
General Note:
"A Tom Doherty Associates book."
Geographic Term:
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Central Library FICTION Adult Fiction Central Closed Stacks
Grand Island Library FICTION Adult Fiction Open Shelf
Kenmore Library FICTION Adult Fiction Open Shelf
Lancaster Library FICTION Adult Fiction Open Shelf
City of Tonawanda Library FICTION Adult Fiction Open Shelf
Julia Boyer Reinstein Library FICTION Adult Fiction Open Shelf

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First there was Bridget Jones. Then came the Nannies. Now meet Claire McLeod, a twenty-something American girl living in Portland, Oregon. Claire's got big problems: her mother's a tyrant, her sister's a lesbian, her father's in Omaha.
Claire's peaceful, if dull, existence is shattered when her mother arrives in Portland for an unexpected--and unwelcome--visit. Armed with a sharp tongue, a critical eye, and enough Weekender Wear to make anyone nervous, Mom has mysteriously left Dad at home in the Midwest. It's not enough that Claire's job as a telephone survey-taker is excruciatingly irritating and her boyfriend has dumped her. No, now, embarrassed by her dead-end job and flatlining love life, she must also bear the weight of Mom's critical eagle eye while trying to close the rift between her mother and her sister, solve the riddle of her missing father, climb a shaky corporate ladder, stalk a cute coworker, reinvent herself, and maybe--just maybe--find a little happiness.
By turns tender and insightful--but always hilarioulsy funny--sMothering is a novel you can't put down.

Author Notes

Wendy French was raised in Vancouver, Canada, where her parents unwittingly cursed her writing career by providing a happy and stable childhood. In an effort to overcome her unfortunate beginnings, she sought artistic torment at the University of Victoria, but despair eluded her. Although she earned a B.A. in Writing and English in 1994, she didn't suffer for a moment. Hoping for worse luck south of the border, she moved to Portland, Oregon, with her husband, but happiness continued to stalk her, day and night. Finally, she conceded defeat, abandoned her quest for misery, and began writing humorous women's fiction. sMothering is her first novel.

Reviews 2

Booklist Review

Twenty-three-year-old Claire feels bitter and jaded in Portland, Oregon. Her telemarketing job offers little satisfaction, she has few friends, and her boyfriend has dumped her. So when Claire's overbearing mother arrives for an unannounced visit, Claire is loathe to open her cramped apartment and lackluster life to her mother's criticism. Even worse, Claire must act as mediator between her lesbian sister and her homophobic mother. As the visit progresses, though, Claire's long-suffering tolerance of her mother turns into mild astonishment as her job, love life, and family bonds transform, partially under her mother's influence. With its hot-pink cover, wacky mom, and cynical, young female narrator, French's first novel fits neatly into the formula shared by similar witty, single city-girl novels. But that familiarity shouldn't deter readers weary of the genre. French asks deeper questions about trust and boundaries while deftly offering up all the usual delights: acid wit, farcical misunderstandings and plot twists, and a few existential questions about moving up versus selling out. --Gillian Engberg Copyright 2003 Booklist

Publisher's Weekly Review

Claire McLeod works at a lousy telephone survey job, has just been dumped by the perfect guy, is unfairly suspected of having an affair with her toadlike boss and has a refrigerator whose contents resemble a science experiment gone awry. To make matters worse, her overbearing mother appears on the doorstep of her tiny Portland, Ore., one-bedroom, having mysteriously left Claire's eternally patient father back home in Omaha. While it's nice having her laundry done and her linoleum scrubbed with a toothbrush, 23-year-old Claire could do without the constant digs at her appearance, her apartment, her faltering career path and her single status; she'd gladly skip the dozens of embarrassing phone messages left with the office's smirking receptionist. But even worse is trying to negotiate a reconciliation between her mother and her once-favored older sister, now divorced and living with her girlfriend. Though Claire is determined to get her life back under control, it's nearly impossible with the maternal force of nature living on her couch. Despite her scattered life and hand-wringing self-doubt, Claire is surprisingly mature for a post-adolescent, and female readers of all ages should relate to her great love for her family, as well as to her occasional desire to throw them all out a window. French's novel stands out from its fluffy chick-lit sisters with snappy humor ("What looks good?" Claire's enamored boss asks at lunch. "The employment section," she thinks), charged family dynamics and a plot twist that will throw readers for a loop. Though there's nothing new here, this debut is warm, tender and more substantive than most of its type. (Nov.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved



Mother comes to visit . . . I could only hope that other mothers were like her, a combination of idiosyncrasies and careful manners, wrapped in a department store wardrobe of navy, black, and gray. Sensible shoes and pearl earrings. Restless hands and perennial hiccups. I hoped that every mother was a knit-purl-knit-purl kind of woman, producing countless stitches of tiny sweater sleeves and collars for her nonexistent grandchildren, just in case. I looked past her annoying habits with the practiced disdain of a twenty-three-year-old daughter; a roll of the eyes or an ambivalent shrug performed on cue. I looked past the feminine hygiene products cushioning the cardboard walls of her care packages and the spontaneous long-distance etiquette lessons, which usually took place on my dime. I could even look past her cheerful insistence that anything could be fixed with a strand of dental floss or a piece of slightly chewed gum and a little ingenuity. What I couldn't look past was her presence in my doorway at seven-thirty on a Thursday morning, suitcase in hand. Excerpted from SMothering by Wendy French All rights reserved by the original copyright owners. Excerpts are provided for display purposes only and may not be reproduced, reprinted or distributed without the written permission of the publisher.

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