Monday, May 12, 2014

Review: ONCE UPON A NERVOUS BREAKDOWN by Patrick Sanchez

Patrick Sanchez delivers a hilarious, moving, and all-too-true snapshot of a generation of women stretched between extremes, frazzled by time and tides, and determined to make everything work without losing themselves in the process. Jennifer Costas has her hands full. She's the single mother of a five-year-old son; her full-time job is only getting busier; her force-of-nature college roommate recently showed up on her doorstep in need of a place to stay. . .indefinitely; her increasingly cranky "old-world" mother answers the phone every morning with, "I'm not dead," and her newly out-of-the-closet ex-husband is constantly late with his child support payments while he tries to get his new restaurant, Gonads (think gay Hooters) off the ground. She feels guilty about not making "stay-at-home mom cookies" and wary about tip-toeing into the dating scene carrying thirty-six years' worth of baggage. Having it all means juggling it all, and Jennifer's trying desperately not to drop anything. But just when Jennifer thinks she's operating at maximum capacity, her mother's health begins to fail. Faced with taking care of her mother in addition to her son, keeping her career on track, and maintaining some semblance of a social life, Jennifer's in for the ride of her life--one that will challenge her sense of humor, her sense of self, and her sense of sanity.

Reviewed by: Bela
Rating: 4 stars

Review: When I first read the prologue, I was instantly reminded of Fran Drescher’s Happily Divorced; however, unlike the title of the show, Jennifer Costas is not happy. In fact, she has too much on her plate—from dealing with the divorce from her gay ex-husband, to taking care of her 5-year old son, to spending time with her elderly and lonesome mother, to having to put up with all the dating advice from her two friends. Who wouldn’t go crazy?

Jennifer is somebody that anyone can relate to. I totally agreed when she mentioned that mothers that make crafts and bake good all day are clearly the ones who don’t work (this was when her son was bugging her to make cookies from scratch for a bake sale.) Jennifer didn’t have time to wipe her a**.

It was sad how she was the only person her mother could depend on, which only filled her with even more obligation. I find it ironic how parents eventually become the children with their constant petulance and neediness.

Ben seemed like a totally nice (normal) guy, at first, but I agreed with Jen when she didn’t want to add more drama in her life. With all the crap she had going, who would? And what if it becomes a thing? What if he turns out to be gay too? Who would seriously be okay to go to a drag-queen show!?

Her two friends are definitely characters you remember. Desma is a political, vegetarian pain in the neck; and Claire is such a “free lover.” Should Jen be hanging around with these broads?

Some of Jen’s dates were hilarious! I especially liked the one going through the “heterosexual rehab.”  The only thing I didn’t like was that it got too racy sometimes.

I LOVED the sense of humor blended with the sarcasm. This is a real-life story of drama and stress. You can’t help but have a nervous breakdown yourself as you’re reading it. You’ll laugh, you’ll cry, and you’ll feel right at home.