cover image Morning Pages

Morning Pages

Kate Feiffer. Regalo, $28.99 (384p) ISBN 979-8-88845-131-1

Children’s book author Feiffer (No Go Sleep!) centers her winning adult debut on a playwright floundering amid family drama and a pressing deadline. Elise Hellman jumps at the chance to write a new play to be helmed by a popular director. Though the script is due in just 65 days, Elise, who divorced her husband, Elliot, two years earlier and raises their unmotivated and withdrawn teen son, Marsden, takes the job while contending with pressure from a friend to lose her “divorce virginity” to a handsome stranger and interruptions from her mother, Trudy. Elsie has made a habit of keeping her distance from Trudy, who taught Marsden curse words when he was in kindergarten, but it’s harder now that Trudy is showing signs of dementia. As Elsie writes her play, which is about a middle-aged woman whose bickering parents move in with her just as she reunites with a love interest from college, she processes various elements of her emotional baggage, such as lingering feelings for Elliot and Trudy’s uncertain future. Feiffer endears readers to her overextended protagonist by capturing Elise’s frustration at being unable to communicate with her family members and the relief of her eventual creative breakthrough. Those in the mood for a lighthearted story that deals with some darker family themes will appreciate this. (May)