Sleeping with Ward Cleaver (2008)
Author: Jenny Gardiner
Genre: Chick Lit
Claire Doolittle's life has been a dream. She fell in love with a handsome, smart husband and has five children. Why isn't she happy? After being married for twenty years, Claire has begun to see her husband differently. Instead of the passionate, fun man she married, he has become her father, or worse yet, Ward Cleaver, the father from the old television show, Leave it to Beaver. One day, Claire's receives an email from a former boyfriend, Todd and begins to ponder how her love life has become just a weekly ritual. Claire decides to put the spark back into their relationship When her husband, Jack has to go to Miami on a business trip, and she wants to tag along. Unfortunately, Jack claims that he'll be way too busy to entertain her and tells her to stay home with the kids. Claire then becomes suspicious of Jack's "business trip" when she meets his new protege, a young, hot twenty-something girl. Claire decides that the only way to figure out what is going on in her marriage is to go Miami and spy on her husband. Instead of finding Jack in the arms of another woman, Claire passionately reunites with Jack and the love between them is revived. SPOILER: Todd, the ex-boyfriend, unsuccessfully comes to Miami to try to win Claire over.
Geographical Setting: Fairfax, Virginia and Miami, Florida
Time Period: Contemporary (2008)
Gardiner's use of the first person, allows readers to know all that Claire is thinking. This is important because her actions don't always make sense. She is a very funny main character and uses quirky words to explain normal things and events. Readers will really enjoy this character because she is not only funny, but relatable to other women, especially those who are married and have children. Secondary characters do not stand out in this story, except for the ex-boyfriend, Todd, who lets women into the minds of the sexually needy man. This book's pace is quick and is easy to read, with no jargon or difficult vocabulary to slow it down. Even when dealing with difficult issues of a sex-less marriage and the possibility of divorce, the author weaves light-heartedness and humor throughout to make this story very light in tone. The setting of this story is near Washington DC, during one year.
Read-alikes: Readers who like humor and a quick pace in their romances will also enjoy, Unpredictable, by Eileen Cook. In this story, a woman tries to win back her ex-boyfriend, but first she first has to make sure he breaks up with his current girlfriend. She poses as the new girlfriend's physic to show her that she should break up with her boyfriend. Soon, she becomes entangled in the lie and has to figure out what she really wants in life, her ex or someone new. If readers liked the funny main character and a light-toned storyline that was in Sleeping with Ward Cleaver, they may also enjoy Meg Cabot's Every Boy's Got One. Jane Harris must go to Italy with her best friend to be her maid of honor in her wedding. The only problem is that Jane detests the best man. Soon, problems occur and they must come together to get their friends married. She then finds that there is more to the best man than meets the eye. Readers who enjoy books about the challenges of married and single life, while being humorous may like Godmother, by Carrie Adams. In this face-paced story, Tessa King questions whether she wants to keep her no-strings attached life, or settle down and get married, after seeing her friends deal with hardships and joys throughout marriage. If readers liked the strong central character and comic, light-tones to serious issues, they may enjoy The Girls' Guide to Hunting and Fishing, by Melissa Bank. Throughout this collection of short stores, readers are introduced to Jane, the main character, as she moves from teenager through adulthood. Readers follow lessons Jane learns from defiant teenager to reluctant career girl. In Good in Bed, by Jennifer Weiner, readers meet Cannie Shapiro, a smart, plus-sized woman that finds that her ex-boyfriend had chronicled their sex-life in a national magazine. As she deals with her body-image, love and motherhood, readers see a witty, fast-moving story and a strong, lovable heroine.
Red Flags: Some instances of foul and sensuous language