Exploring different approaches to parenting a difficult teen that rely less on tough love than a willingness to embrace nontraditional ideas, Lara (Slowing Down in a Speeded Up World) tells the bittersweet story of surviving her ""wild"" daughter Morgan's teen years in a memoir reminiscent of Anne Lamott's Operating Instructions. Fans of Lara's column in the San Francisco Chronicle will recognize mother and daughter, as well as son Patrick, third husband Bill, and Jim, the kids' father, who all share a house. Cameos by Lara's mother, who utters the magical words that get Morgan back on track, and her father, who reenters Lara's life after walking out on the family years earlier, complete the picture. For help with specific problems, parents may benefit more from practical guides. But readers who want the voice of experience to tell them that their kids will be OK will find comfort in Lara's tale of her daughter's encounters with drugs, alcohol, sex and Manic Panic hair dye. Some may disagree with the author's decision to kick Morgan out of the house and allow the girl's boyfriend to sleep in her room, but everyone will applaud Lara's desire to make her daughter feel loved and to ensure that she finishes high school. Readers will also enjoy Lara's good-humored insight: ""Morgan needed a wise TV mommy, one who could laugh at her foibles... and dish out wisdom. What she had instead was me."" Agent, Fred Hill. (Feb. 23) Forecast: Lara's biweekly column for the San Francisco Chronicle has earned her a solid readership that will seek out her take on this timely topic. An author tour and ads in women's and parents' magazines and Web sites will help insure the book's visibility.