Title: The Burned Bridges of Ward, Nebraska by Eileen Curtright
Publisher: Little A
Genre: Contemporary, Fiction, Humor, Satire
Length: 252 pages
Book Rating: B+
Complimentary Review Copy Provided by Publisher Through NetGalley
There are no secrets in a small town. For someone like Rebecca, that can get awkward.
Rebecca Meer’s hometown of Ward, Nebraska, is small—so small that she can’t even sneak home after a drunken girls’ night without running into at least three people she knows. But she has bigger problems than her reputation. The head doctor at her fertility clinic is losing his mind, and his wild behavior could cost them the business. Her supersuccessful ex-boyfriend has blown back into town and somehow become her son’s fifth-grade teacher—now her son is asking awkward questions about the end of their relationship. Rebecca can’t even run the PTA’s annual food drive without getting mixed up with criminals. In Eileen Curtright’s astute comedy, we see just how far a stressed-out single parent will go to be the “perfect” mother.
With razor sharp wit and perfect comedic timing, The Burned Bridges of Ward, Nebraska by Eileen Curtright is an entertaining and surprisingly, thought-provoking, novel.
Set in a small Midwestern town, single mom Rebecca “Becky” Meers tries to fly under the nosy town’s radar while raising her son Mitchell. Having just made partner in the local fertility clinic, she works with a slick doctor who keeps her busy cleaning up his messes but his latest misstep might be well beyond any type of damage control. At the same, she is stunned and dismayed to discover that Mitchell’s new teacher is none other than her son’s unnamed father Kevin Holts and his teaching style is unconventional at best and downright destructive at worst. Throw in her unwanted attraction to Hayes Bandercook who just happens to be from one the town’s most notorious families and Becky becomes convinced that a prescription for the newest ADHD drug will solve all of her problems.
Rebecca is a harried working mom who loves her son unconditionally. An unfortunate mishap with the school’s toads puts Mitchell in the crosshairs of the principal and much to her consternation, keeping him out of trouble means discussing his behavior with Kevin in a professional capacity. Although she is thrilled to finally be a partner in the fertility clinic, her social awkwardness and inability to sugarcoat news make for some interesting (and alarming) discussions with some of the clinic’s patients. After discovering her partner is up to his old tricks with one their patients, Becky is often left to deal with their clients on her own which sometimes ends with disastrous outcomes. At the same time, she is also scrambling to stop the good doctor from ruining their business with his after hours shenanigans.
The Burned Bridges of Ward, Nebraska by Eileen Curtright is a laugh out loud funny novel with a cast of well developed, eclectic characters. Although occasionally a little over the top, the storyline touches on a number of topical issues such as the alarming trend of overmedicating students and standardized testing in schools. Zany and irreverent with a satirical edge, Eileen Curtright is nonetheless spot on with her depiction of some of the problems in today’s world and the downsides to small town living. A fast paced and engrossing story that I greatly enjoyed and highly recommend.