Monday, July 28, 2014

May Contain Nuts

By John O'Farrell

Alice and David, like most parents, want the best for their three kids. So their youngsters lives are filled with activities designed to give them a leg up in life. Music lessons, language lessons, dance lessons, fencing lessons and on and on. Their oldest child, Molly, will soon be done with grade school and ready to move on to middle school (or whatever the equivalent is in England). But Molly, an otherwise bright eleven-year-old, is poor at math.
Her parents have their hearts set on a select local private school. This school has a rigorous entrance exam and Molly did not get a passing score in the math section of the practice test. Despite Alice and David's efforts to tutor her, Molly is not improving and is becoming sullen, nervous and anxious from all the pressure.
Alice, who is a small, thin woman, gets an idea. What if she dresses up as a child and takes Molly's entrance exam in her place? David thinks it is a super idea and helps his wife bone up for the exam. Only one problem, though. Molly inherited her poor math ability from her mother. And now Alice is enduring the same struggle Molly was, trying to prepare for the math section of the test.
Will Alice manage to get enough math under her belt to ace the math section of the test? Will she be able to fool the test proctors  and pass herself off as her own daughter? Or will she and David come to their senses and realize the terrible example they are setting for their children, that it is OK to cheat to get what you want? One can only hope.

This was a funny and enjoyable book, often laugh-out-loud funny. At one point, Alice loses a little weight and gets her gray hair dyed and buys some cute, preteen outfits and models them for her husband who reacts thus:
"You look fantastic. Except . . ."
"Except what?"
"Except I fancy you."
"I'm really sorry but I fancy you. And seeing as there is no way I could fancy you if you looked eleven, it simply can't be working."
The only real drawback to the story was that the latter part gets a little preachy. I did find that a little annoying as I don't much care for preaching. Or preachers.

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