The Burned Bridges of Ward, Nebraska
by Eileen Curtright
Rebecca Meer’s hometown of Ward, Nebraska, is small—so small that she can’t even sneak home after a drunken girls’ night without running into at least three people she knows. But she has bigger problems than her reputation. The head doctor at her fertility clinic is losing his mind, and his wild behavior could cost them the business. Her supersuccessful ex-boyfriend has blown back into town and somehow become her son’s fifth-grade teacher—now her son is asking awkward questions about the end of their relationship. Rebecca can’t even run the PTA’s annual food drive without getting mixed up with other. In Eileen Curtright’s astute comedy, we see just how far a stressed-out single parent will go to be the “perfect” mother.
A word from the Editor, Carmen Johnson: If you like novels that leave you happy, Eileen Curtright’s The Burned Bridges of Ward, Nebraska gets the job done in style. Single mum Rebecca Meer, the feisty heroine of this modern parenting comedy, lives in a small Midwest town where nothing is private or forgotten. Her job hangs by a thread, an ex-boyfriend returns, her son can’t keep up at school—and that’s just the beginning of her problems. How will she ever keep her life together, let alone make it better?
By the time I finished reading, I realised I’d covered Curtright’s manuscript with ‘LOLs’ and exclamation points—I’d never seen parenting portrayed quite so comically before. But at the heart of this book, I also discovered a deeper story of small-town American life and a mother struggling to protect her son from the cruel forces that rule primary school, and herself from the petty behaviours of her neighbours.
The author told me she wrote this book for the many funny women she knows—and for the many more she knows are out there. Eileen wanted to make those women smile the way mothers sometimes do at the end of a long day, when the children are finally asleep, and they can drop the carefully constructed facade of ‘Mum’ and, in the company of a good book, relish and relive the true joys of motherhood.