Tuesday, July 04, 2006

Tracey Bateman's Claire Knows Best ~ Reviewed

Claire Knows Best
By Tracey Bateman
Published by Warner Faith
ISBN: 0-466-69606-4

Claire Everett's life is finally on the tight track. She is connecting with her four ki9ds and getting along with her ex-husband and his pregnant wife. She's even attending church regularly. Now that she's dating Greg, the cute widower two doors down, her world should be in order. So how come life has suddenly become such a juggling act?

A tornado rips through her roof, forcing Claire and the kids to move. Greg suddenly decides on a new career, and Claire's not one bit happy with his choice. And adding confusion to the chaos: Van, the local contractor, begins paying Claire too much attention; her teenage daughter's rebellion is creating big challenges; and her writing career is cooling off instead of heating up. When panic attacks threaten to make her a prisoner in her own home, Claire finally breaks down and hires a life coach to help her sort it all out. But is a life coach truly the answer?

Can Claire finally let go and admit that it is God directing her steps, or will she try to create her own destiny and insist that CLAIRE KNOWS BEST?

I don't like present tense writing, and Claire Knows Best is written in present tense. Funny I didn't discover that until page 226 of this 288 page story. Bateman managed to suck me into Claire's world from the first line: "I have a bad habit of laughing at the wrong time." Yeah, don't we all? I had to read on … and on … and on. The plot is hilarious, and the characters are some of best I've read—flawed but striving for a foothold. Claire is at odds with everyone, except perhaps her youngest son. Little boys are a mother's blessing. I loved the way Claire held firm with her rebellious daughter, but her thoughts had me laughing out loud as a mother—I've had some of those same thoughts about my own kids.

Bateman reveals a very real woman dealing with life's problems. The plot is not predictable and has enough twists to satisfy any reader. Funny and tender, Claire Knows Best receives a high recommendation from this reviewer. Any writer who can make me forget I'm reading present tense is truly a master! Bravo, Tracey!

Reviewed by Ane Mulligan

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