Odd Mom Out Review
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There’s nothing conventional about Marta Zinsser. She’s most comfortable in combat boots and T-shirts. She owns a Harley, and she drives an old truck. And when she decided that she wanted to be a mom, she chose to sidestep all the relationship hassles by ordering the sperm online. So when Marta packs up her nine-year-old daughter, Eva, and moves to a posh suburb of Seattle to be close to her ailing mother, she sticks out like a sore thumb—but that’s just the way she likes it.

Eva, however, isn’t so sure. The other kids in school have rich, important dads and moms who go to meetings and wear heels and drink mimosas and lounge by the pool at the country club. All Eva wants is to fit in with the popular girls in school—but they all think she’s a freak.

And as Marta works to keep her advertising agency afloat, while trying to be more like the normal mom that Eva wants her to be, along comes yet another complication—in the form of a tall, gorgeous mystery man.

In Odd Mom Out, author Jane Porter tackles a number of interesting (and even thought-provoking) topics—while, at the same time, managing to keep the tone light and entertaining, in true chick lit style. While telling the story, Porter talks about the challenges of being a single, working mom. She talks about standing out and fitting in. And she talks about mother-daughter relationships. They’re all fascinating topics—and they make for equally fascinating characters. Marta is a hard-working woman who’s just trying to do what’s best for herself and her daughter—and Eva is a typical little girl who’s just trying to make some friends. On their own, they’re good characters—but when you put them together, their differences make for a great story.

Unfortunately, though, Porter builds up a great story, only to leave her readers without much resolution. After a while, she seems to drop all of the interesting issues, trading them in for a rather uninteresting (and somewhat awkward) romance. The other problems aren’t actually resolved. Instead, things between Marta and Eva (as well as between Marta and the other moms…and between Eva and the girls at school) either mysteriously work themselves out or become non-issues. Then everything ends rather abruptly—leaving everyone happy but the reader.

Odd Mom Out had a whole lot of potential. Porter writes with a fun, easygoing style, and her characters had me interested right from the very first page. But she rushes through the mother-daughter story, choosing to focus her energy on the cliché romance instead. While it’s obvious that she’s capable of writing a brilliant work of chick lit, I’m afraid this just isn’t it.

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