Sunday, November 25, 2012

Frozen by Carla Tomaso

Publisher:              Carma Press

What is your worst nightmare?  Carla Tomaso has come up with a worse, but funnier one.

Elizabeth always had a difficult relationship with her self-centered domineering mother Helen.  Now she’s in her forties, alone, suffering from low self-esteem and, frankly, looking forward a little bit to when the old woman finally dies.  Helen is sick, crippled and possesses a sizeable fortune.  In Elizabeth’s mind, death would be a kindness to both women.  When Helen dies, Elizabeth discovers that her mother has concocted the ultimate “gotcha.”  Helen has found an experimental process that not only freezes a person to bring her back, but regresses her age to an earlier point.  If Elizabeth wants to inherit her mother’s estate, she has to agree to adopt Helen as a child and raise her.

Elizabeth believes she’s been given a second chance with her mother.  She can raise the baby properly and create a better person than Helen was in her past life.  They will have the loving relationship that they never really had before.  All will be right with the world.  Imagine her surprise when she gets to the facility and discovers that Helen has only been regressed to the age of ten, still has all of her memories and, worse, her attitudes.  What follows is a hilarious and slightly scary story of what happens to both women as the years progress.  Think of a slapstick version of The Omen.

Carla Tomaso has a different sense of humor.  It might not appeal to everyone, but that would be a shame.  She takes on some of society’s biggest taboos and twists them, including gender rivalry, infidelity, and murder.  Tomaso approaches the subjects from a decidedly altered viewpoint.  This allows the reader to consider some serious issues while laughing at the situations.  She manages to do this without changing her characters, which many authors would find the normal course.  There is no happily ever after second chance for this mother and daughter.  Elizabeth is always rather hapless in knowing what to do about her mother and Helen never becomes endearing.  Helen managed to ruin the one true relationship in Elizabeth’s life and tries to do it again.  In the end Elizabeth will come to realize what she should have done differently the first time around and that some scientific discoveries should not be explored.

Suspend your sense of propriety.  Feel free to giggle at things that you know you shouldn’t.  Frozen is an enjoyable, if sometimes guilty, pleasure.

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