Mommy Tracked
By Lucia Nelson
Mar 16, 2008 - 11:57:16 AM

Anna, Grace, Juliet, and Chloe are members of a local moms’ group called Mothers Coming Together, where young mothers get together to enjoy themselves and get away from the pressures of everyday life. Though they’re very different on the outside, each is dealing with the same conflicts—work versus family, husbands who do too little (or too much) around the house, and the struggle of raising children in a competitive society.

Anna is a single mother whose son, Charlie, is two years old. She divorced Charlie’s dad when she found out that he was cheating, and she’s been raising Charlie on her own, with a little help from her mother. As a single mom, she can’t afford not to work, so she’s kept her job as a restaurant critic for a local newspaper. When she stops by a new wine shop in her hometown of Orange Cove, she meets Noah, the shop’s owner, and they flirt—something Anna has all but given up on. When Noah asks her on a date, she reluctantly accepts, though she has promised herself that she would focus her energies on raising her son rather than meeting men.

Grace has three daughters, all under the age of six, and a serious body-image problem that has plagued her for most of her life. She scans the room at every social gathering looking for women who are fatter than she is, but in her warped view, all she sees are thin women. She has a loving husband and a happy life, but all she wants is to lose weight—and she’s willing to take drastic measures to get there.

Juliet is a high-powered attorney whose job means everything to her. She spends long hours at the office, much to her husband’s chagrin. He’s a stay-at-home dad, and he feels that she’s missing her twin daughters’ childhood.

Chloe has just had her first child, and her husband isn’t sure how to act. He’s never given up on the fun-loving ways that she adored so much in college, so he frequently leaves her alone with the baby while he spends time going out with “the guys.” Chloe is frazzled and overwhelmed with the stress of taking care of her baby while trying to continue a scaled-back version of her career as a freelance journalist.

MOMMY TRACKED is a humorous, poignant look at young motherhood and its trials and tribulations. The chapters are told from the point of view of each of the women, which adds a perspective that a story told from only one woman’s point of view wouldn’t have. Ms. Gaskell’s characters are realistic, and many women share the same struggles.

Though the uniting characteristic behind the four women is that they are all mothers, they are also struggling with other, similar issues, including work-life balance and tension with spouses, boyfriends, and extended family—especially parents and in-laws. Many of these issues are familiar to women in general, and it’s not difficult for readers to see themselves in Ms. Gaskell’s main characters. They’re not perfect at balancing their lives by any means, but that’s what makes them real. Fans of chick lit and humorous women’s fiction will enjoy MOMMY TRACKED—it’s a fun, fast-paced, and realistic read.

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