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Parents Behaving Badly

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An uproarious, surprising, and poignant satire of American suburbia and youth sports gone wild

When Ben and Jili Holden must move from Manhattan with their three children back to their small hometown of Palace Valley, California, they are forced to reconcile the parents they’ve become with the dreams they had, the choices they’ve made, and a sex life much more down-to-earth than the epic Ferris wheel tryst of their youth. After reluctantly stepping up to lead his son’s Little League team, Ben is challenged to finally come to terms with the long shadow of his father, a legendary high school baseball coach and mentor who is beloved by generations of players, yet largely a stranger to Ben.

At the heart of the story are the universal experiences and themes of family and community, as Ben and Jili struggle to connect with their technology-addicted children and grapple with issues of marital fidelity—both at home and in the hotbed of sexual tension that is the Little League park. Among an unforgettable cast are Del, an autocratic coach who issues his own Ten Commandments; Liza, Ben’s unrequited high school crush; Logan, a smart-aleck ringer whose preteen talents are eclipsed only by his ego; and Cyn, the sultry thong-wearing team mom with the serpent tattoo. Every mother and father of every boy and girl who have ever participated in youth sports can relate, and in Parents Behaving Badly Scott Gummer brilliantly skewers overzealous parents and lunatic coaches, giving the grown-ups who seek vicarious glory the send-up they so richly deserve.

Publishers Weekly Review

Jan 24, 2011 – In Gummer's humorous if subdued debut, a suburban Little League serves as the nexus for thwarted ambitions, competitive intrigues, marital rifts, and, as an afterthought, kids who might be interested in baseball. Ben Holden, recently returned to his California hometown from New York, becomes a reluctant coach, grappling with his late father's legacy as a revered high school athletic mentor and the ambivalence that comes with middle-aged parenting and a mature, mostly stable marriage. He's appealing and accessible, as are many of Gummer's cast of family members, friends and neighbors. There's the deftly rendered list of things Ben's sister prizes: "their McMansion in the tony, new and also curiously named CascadeForest development of Sacramento, her Lexus hybrid and his Prius, their Pottery Barn furnishings, her Tory Burch Shoes and matching handbags." But too often, these descriptions substitute for character development and depth, and while the slew of subplots—the most dramatic of which involves low-grade sexual tension between Ben and a sexy ultrasound technician—are entertaining, they can't mask the fact that the novel fails to really deliver on the promise of its title.
Parents Behaving Badly
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  • $10.99
  • Available on iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, and Mac.
  • Category: Fiction & Literature
  • Published: Apr 12, 2011
  • Publisher: Touchstone
  • Seller: Simon and Schuster Digital Sales Inc.
  • Print Length: 224 Pages
  • Language: English
  • Requirements: To view this book, you must have an iOS device with iBooks 1.3.1 or later and iOS 4.3.3 or later, or a Mac with iBooks 1.0 or later and OS X 10.9 or later.

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