Sonderbooks Book Reviews by Sondra Eklund

Sonderbooks Stand-out 2005
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I don't review books I don't like!

*****= An all-time favorite
****  = Outstanding
***    = Above average
**     = Enjoyable
*       = Good, with reservations


*****Confessions of Super Mom

by Melanie Lynne Hauser

Reviewed September 13, 2005.
Dutton, New York, 2005.  306 pages.
Available at Sembach Library (MCN F HAU).
Sonderbooks Stand-out 2005 (#1, Light-hearted Fiction)

I LOVED this book!  I don’t normally give five stars to something light and fluffy, but this book was life-changing—I now know how to answer my son when he asks me what superpowers I would most like to have.  Okay, it also helped that Super Mom was exactly my age and short like me—only an inch taller.  And she’s the mother of two, and people keep calling her cute.

Every superhero has an origin.  For Super Mom, it was a Horrible Swiffer Accident.  There was an awful stain on the bathroom floor that she couldn’t get out, so she rashly mixed every cleaning chemical she owned and put them in the Swiffer reservoir, without turning on the exhaust fan.  When she woke up hours later, strange things began happening to her.  Her hand was textured like the bottom of a Swiffer.

Her super powers are truly awesome.  She can squirt the most powerful cleaning fluid known to woman from her fingers.  After her son puts a Spiderman comic where she’ll step on it, she figures out how to position her hand to squirt the fluid across a room, against stains or evildoers.  She can clean up messes with super speed.  (Unfortunately, she can’t always resist cleaning things, which can get embarrassing.)

She has Super Hearing, able to hear nefarious plots, even able to hear what her fifteen-year-old daughter Instant Messages to her boyfriend, and able to get information from the sound of the scanner where she works as a cashier at a grocery store.

She has a Merciless Gaze, which shames the most hardened offender into confessing.  She can look in a child’s eyes and know the truth about him.  There’s no point in trying to fool Super Mom.  In extreme circumstances, she can even put people in Super Time Out.

But my favorite of her super powers is her Super Mom Sense.  She can sense when a toddler is about to wander into a street.  She knows when teenagers are about to buy drugs.  She knows when a child safety seat has not been installed correctly.  She goes through the town helping children.

However, like all superheroes, she does have an archnemesis.  The main employer in town is a self-made millionaire whose company makes Patriot Pops—sugary cookies in the shape of American heroes—and somehow all the kids playing the American Justice video game (with characters like the Lincolnator shooting at terrorists) can’t get enough Patriot Pops.  The scheme gets more sinister than that, meaning Super Mom needs to do something to save all the children of America.

Super Mom is, naturally, a single mom (who does more than they?), so she also gets a Nerd Scientist Love Interest, which adds some fun to the book.  After all, it’s embarrassing when that cleaning fluid starts to leak.

I love the part where she’s invited to apply for membership in the Justice League of America.  Her son informs her that’s completely cool, and definitely more prestigious than the Avengers.  (I have to put in apologies here to my own son, who is a huge Marvel fan and would definitely pick the Avengers over the JLA.  I’m afraid Super Mom’s son was taken in by the glamour of Superman and Batman and Wonder Woman.)

Confessions of Super Mom is full of hilarious bits like that, and a complete delight from start to finish.   This is the book that changed all my superhero fantasies forever.

For those of you who read this book, when you finish go to my Book Discussion Forum and enter your opinion in the poll I posted!

Copyright © 2005 Sondra Eklund. All rights reserved.

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