Sunday, August 14, 2011

Family Affair by Saxon Bennett

Publisher:                 Bella Books

Saxon Bennett is known for writing books that contain zany characters and putting them into outrageous situations that she makes seem almost normal.  This book exceeds her normal quotient.

Family Affair opens with Chase Banter in an upset state because her partner Gitana went to the doctor to get a pap smear and came home pregnant.  The doctor mixed up the charts and accidently artificially inseminated her.  Chase likes their life living in the middle of nowhere and not having to deal with people.  She focuses on her successful career writing lesbian romances, which she calls "moist mound" stories, and Gitana runs a nursery.  A child is going to upset everything.  Once it's clear that Gitana wants to keep the baby, Chase sets herself on a program of becoming a more responsible and serious person, in other words, an adult.  She is determined that "Bud" the baby will have a totally normal upbringing, a full life and a successful career.   

Once you meet the people in Chase and Gitana's life you realize what a task she's set for herself.  Gitana's twin sister Graciela, also a lesbian, is sleeping her way through the community, for which their mother Jacinda refers to her as "The Demon" and keeps trying to drown her in holy water.  Chase's best friend Lacey James is sleeping her way through the men until she discovers she wants to try a lesbian affair.  Chase encourages her and says she wants a new toaster oven if Lacey converts.  Instead she receives a toaster oven, refrigerator and dish washer – all stainless steel.  It was quite a conversion.  And there there is Addison who Chase meets when she starts attending parenting classes.  Addison is 9 years old going on 60, refers to herself as a "pre-adult" and ends up being a mentor to Chase.  

Chase struggles to grow up while dealing with a mother who wants to be a detective, a writing group with quirky personalities and shocking revelations from her friends, including instructions about some interesting things you can do with a mango.  As the days pass and "Bud's" arrival gets ever closer Chase has to hurry to remake herself into the woman-father she wants to become.

This is a funny book.  Chase would be entertaining enough as she tries to learn how to deal with adults and children, eat the right foods, not curse and to dress properly.  Her attempts to be a mature parent are hilarious.  Bennett can't stop at that however.  She has to include two dogs that are constantly bowling people over, an amazing number of friends who keep discovering that they are suddenly lesbians and numerous situations that will have you laughing.   

Underneath it all there is a serious story though.  Just what is a family?  What decides who will be the people closest to you?  Is blood more important than friendship?  Why shouldn't a woman in her late thirties find that the person who truly understands her is a 9 year old and that they like to do things together?  If people care about and take care of you as you do for them, isn't that what family is really about?

Family Affair is a light entertaining story that ends up delivering a more serious lesson.  You won't find a book that shows any more clearly the power of love.

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