by Nelsie Spencer
Copyright Year: 2003
Publisher: St. Martin’s Griffin
Format: Trade Paperback
No. of Pages: 368
No. In Series:
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From Publishers Weekly Spencer aims for edgy in a debut that tosses addiction and a steamy lesbian love affair into the standard metropolitan-mommy fiction mix. Ellie Fuller, a former stand-up comic and recovering bulimic, adores her sweet, libidinous husband, Peter, and their two darling children. But when the West Side Manhattan couple decide to enroll their three-year-old in an exclusive East Side playgroup, Ellie’s seemingly perfect, post-12-step life begins to unravel. Initially feeling both ‘superior and intimidated’ in the company of the glitzy playgroup mothers (‘they all know each other and they all speak French’), Ellie becomes friends and then, improbably, lovers, with Missy Hanover, a beautiful heiress who maintains her irresistible self-possession through a full staff and an old-money prestige unavailable to Ellie’s self-made husband. As Ellie spends more and more time with Missy, she lies to hide her bulimic past as well as her working-class background, alcoholic mother and incarcerated father. Spencer deftly chronicles Ellie’s growing desperation as she deceives her lover and her husband, increasingly neglects her kids and struggles to resist her desires to binge and purge (‘the toilet bowl was calling her-hungry, begging to be fed’). Though it’s sure to be compared to The Nanny Diaries for its setting, subject and relentless class-consciousness, Spencer’s sex-filled debut isn’t as funny: there are smirk-worthy descriptions, but the cattiness grows wearisome. Spencer, like her protagonist, is a former stand-up comic, but the book feels more like a study of attraction, lies and self-destruction than a fun, light read. Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc. –This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title. Review Advance praise for The Playgroup ‘Riveting from start to finish. Nelsie Spencer takes you inside Ellie-a place by turns bright, funny and sharp, then dark, sharp and cutting-but always surprising, always exciting. You’ll love Ellie. You’ll laugh with her, worry for her, be infuriated by her, challenged by her, and time and time again be lifted by her great spirit. Reading this book is like having an entire relationship-and it’s far less expensive. ‘-Dennis Drake, Screenwriter, Down With Love ‘Nelsie Spencer has achieved something very difficult. She has written a commercial book and a smart book. Ellie is so fresh. . . both brazen and vulnerable and perfectly of her moment. She reminds me of Isadora Wing in Fear of Flying. ‘-Ellen Pall, author of Corpse de Ballet ‘The Playgroup is Bridget Jones’s Diary meets The Nanny Diaries for the Upper West Side mom. ‘-Ally Sheedy, Actor, High Art ‘What a book! Once I picked up The Playgroup I didn’t talk to my husband or play with my children or do any of the other dozens of things that I should’ve been doing until I read the very last word. ‘ Pamela Hogan, Documentary Filmmaker –This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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