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The Ivy Chronicles    by Karen Quinn order for
Ivy Chronicles
by Karen Quinn
Order:  USA  Can
Viking, 2005 (2005)
Hardcover, CD
* *   Reviewed by Mary Ann Smyth

Ivy Ames is downsized from her high powered executive job, her marriage dissolves and she is left a single mother with two small children to raise. Big adjustments must be made to her lifestyle, such as to: sell their expensive apartment on Park Avenue, move into a smaller one on the lower East Side, move her girls from a private school to a public one, find gainful employment, and learn to live without a man. What's a girl to do?

Not giving in, Ivy starts a consulting company (employee of one) to help parents get their little ones into the most exclusive kindergartens in New York City - in the belief that, if they want their darlings to get into Ivy League schools, they must start by enrolling them in prestigious kindergartens. Life becomes a maze of pretentious parents demanding that their marvelous offspring be denied nothing in their quest for the best for their kids' futures. Described with tongue-in-cheek (that probably isn't far from the truth), parents parade through Ivy's life demanding that she work miracles.

Life becomes even more chaotic as Ivy tries to pacify everyone, including: Maria's single father (did he whack her mother?) who has ties to the MOB; wheelchair-bound John Henry's gay mothers; maid Ollie's brilliant son Irving; and Ransome's dynamic mother, who ignores the little monster for starters. Then there is Ivy's love life (two, count 'em, two men!) and her extremely wealthy friend who sounds almost too good to be true.

The Ivy Chronicles is a fun book. I whooped out loud at times. Cheered Ivy on. Told her she was doing the right thing. Then told her that what she was doing wasn't nice. I loved Ivy's carrying her Barney's shopping bag everywhere with her, so people would conclude she had just gone shopping there (it's hard to come down a peg or two in life). And I wondered just how much truth there was to this story.

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