The Singular Exploits of Wonder Mom and Party Girl
Editor Staff, Fiction, July 27th, 2011
The Singular Exploits of Wonder Mom & Party Girl (Marc Schuster, The Permanent Press 2011 (PS Books 2009), 293 pages)
A review in which I mostly describe how awesome a writer he is, by Lavinia Ludlow
The Singular Exploits of Wonder Mom & Party Girl is a contemporary tale of a jaded divorcee named Audrey who raises her innocent and precocious daughters as a single mother, all while having to witness her ex-husband move on and assume the role of the “cool weekend parent.” In addition, her career involves overseeing a local coupon book’s production, ironically titled Eating Out, and she somehow finds herself herded into volunteering for the local school’s Good Shepherd Teacher-and-Parent Organization, a committee with a controversial acronym of a name. In short, Audrey is riddled with sarcasm and bitterness, nostalgic for the past, and so low self-esteemed and jaded that she doesn’t realize that her search for gratification in a relationship with a supercilious asshole, and her “just one taste” of cocaine would instantaneously launch her into full-blown addiction.
You may ask (and Marc Schuster is probably wondering) why my lazy ass dragged its feet when it came to diving into his novel The Singular Exploits of Wonder Mom & Party Girl, released by The Permanent Press May 1st, 2011. I can sum it up with a simple: its 2009 debut at PS Books wowed me to such epic proportions that I hesitated to read a revised version for fear of finding it stripped of substance.
I won’t loiter around the revisions too much seeing as The Permanent Press’ version broke the boundaries of its predecessor. The thing about Schuster is that he’s a chameleon of a writer. His writing bursts with personality, even in the most brief and simple descriptions: “Owen lost his virginity at fourteen to a girl with a driver’s license and a banged-up Buick Century. I lost mine in college to a boy who wrote poetry and played raspy punk songs on an un-tuned acoustic guitar.” And damnit, this guy can write: “The spare, spiky Philadelphia skyline glittered in the night and reminded me of the days when I used to dream of being a hip, young urbanite scraping by on the meager earnings of a freelance writer, and though we’d barely driven a half-hour, the sturdy old neighborhood where Owen touched down was light years away from the prefabricated neon sheen of the Golden Mile.”
Schuster presents his material brilliantly through the eyes of a whip-smart and sassy female, never relying on clichéd characteristics that the majority of men assume all women possess. His writing is polished, professional, and reads effortlessly in this classic example of the “there’s something for everyone” tale: well-rounded with comedy, conflict, light fares of sex, drugs, and serio-comic dialogue. Take this one between Audrey and her adolescent daughter: “Are you ever going to get married again?… Because dad says you’re the kind of woman who doesn’t need a man.”
All in all, this is an entertaining read, a must-read. The fact is, Marc Schuster has one of the most refreshing voices in the contemporary literature scene, writing with a style that rivals novelists such as Joe Meno and Brad Listi. I look forward to his sophomore novel The Grievers, forthcoming in May of 2012.
Buy The Singular Exploits of Wonder Mom & Party Girl now: on Amazon.
Find out more about Marc Schuster on Small Press Reviews.