Monday, November 26, 2018

Book Review: Go On, Girl

By Sara Steven

Executive, wife, and mother of an outgoing first-grader, Sydney Clayton crushes her day-to-day obligations at work but flounders in the cutthroat world of parental politics.

She manages to avoid the local drama until she’s faced with an ultimatum: join the Forest River PTA or risk her daughter becoming a social outcast. Sydney reluctantly becomes treasurer, and takes the recently vacated position of the president’s sidekick. If protecting the children’s freedom of speech, one best friend ban at a time, isn’t complicated enough, Sydney and her husband receive an unexpected offer for their house they don’t think they can refuse.

Embroiled in the deception and manipulation rife among the elementary school moms, Sydney struggles. Should she sell the home she worked so hard to build in a town where betrayal runs rampant? Or should she stay put to avoid the fallout from uprooting her child? As Sydney focuses on what is best for her daughter, and lets go of her judgments, she finds friendship can develop in very unexpected ways. (Synopsis courtesy of Goodreads)

While my personal experiences with the PTA involves the occasional after school sign-up or yearly volunteer work at the carnival, I have noticed the subtle nuances that come from the higher-ups on the Association’s social ladder. It’s well known that in order to feel as though you’re part of the scene, it’s a good idea to join the PTA ranks. In fact, I was once cornered by a friend of mine who insisted I join and told me that it was “for my own good”.

There are a lot of subtle and less-than-subtle nuances when it comes to Sydney’s experiences with her daughter’s PTA. A lot of reading between the lines where her participation is concerned. In joining, she’s giving her daughter a sort of immunity from becoming an outcast and not feeling as though she belongs. But in order to achieve that, Sydney has to become the lackey, doing anything and everything required of her, not to mention maintaining her full time job and her household. The politics of it all is nothing short of overwhelming.

Go On, Girl was a constant tipping of the scales, never really in favor of one decision over the other. Should Sydney continue with the PTA, no matter how much it disturbs her life? Or, should she say screw it, and walk away, knowing what that could potentially mean for her daughter? Thrown in are the glimpses of humanity from various women on the PTA, only further diverging the scales, so you never really know how to make the right decision. As is often seen in real life, the image people portray rarely matches up to what’s really going on beneath the surface, and there is plenty of mirage-like quality to the characters and the individuals who make this PTA what everyone thinks it is, even though none of us have a clue of what’s behind the veiled facade.

In my own life, I managed to sidestep my friend when someone else had garnered her attention, and whether I’d lost out on an opportunity deemed “for my own good”, I’ll never know for sure. There are a lot of dramatic antics that are several degrees above what I’ve experienced, that really add to the fun and chaos that makes Go On, Girl tick, from one veiled moment, to another.

Thanks to Hilary Grossman for the book in exchange for an honest review.

More by Hilary Grossman:

1 comment:

Janine said...

Great review! I have no experience with kids or PTA but I really enjoyed this book.