Synopses & Reviews
Lesson Plans is a captivating and funny novel centered on the lives of three families, each of which has chosen to homeschool for a different reason. Suzanne Greenberg weaves her tale through the perspective of four characters: Patterson, a Christian surfer; David, an empathetic liberal stay-at-home dad who feels stuck in suburbia; Beth, a full-time mom at loose ends; and Beth's six-year-old daughter, Jennifer. As their stories progress and their lives intertwine, each family's challenges loom larger. In a highly entertaining way, Lesson Plans takes a serious look at the choices parents profess to make on behalf of their children.
Suzanne Greenberg is a professor of English and creative writing at California State University Long Beach. Her fiction, poetry, and essays have appeared in numerous journals, including the Mississippi Review, West Branch, and the Washington Post Magazine. Her collection of short stories, Speed-Walk and Other Stories, was the recipient of the 2003 Drue Heinz Literature Prize. She is the co-author of Everyday Creative Writing: Panning for Gold in the Kitchen Sink and co-author of the children's novels Abigail Iris: The One and Only, and Abigail Iris: The Pet Project. She received her BA from Hampshire College and her MFA from the University of Maryland. She lives in Long Beach, California, with her husband and three children.
"Greenberg (Speed-Walk and Other Stories) sets her first adult novel in Southern California, where several families opt for homeschool instead of public education. The decision to homeschool serves as a commonality for these families, but it's hard to imagine them choosing to spend time together. David, a sanctimonious stay-at-home-dad resents the ordinariness of his life, and indulges his daughters under the guise of letting them learn. After her husband Keith leaves her, Beth Wheeler decides to homeschool her daughter, who has severe asthma and allergies. Patterson and Winter, parents of twins, are the least convincing of the families who decide to homeschool. Patterson is inspired by his newfound Christianity, which is briefly and inadequately explained, while Winter is mostly described in terms of her appearance and her laughable business ideas. When Greenberg displays her satirical sense of humor most often at David's expense it is certainly welcome, and serves as one of the novel's highlights, but the plot often seems driven by a need to push the three families together, rather than by believable character development. It is unclear what makes Beth and Winter decide to co-teach their children and Patterson's attraction to Beth seems highly unlikely he sees her as 'a disorganized, bumbling woman who a good twenty pounds overweight' but their affair is convenient for the plot. (May)" Publishers Weekly Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
This funny, gripping debut novel tells the story of three California families as they struggle with homeschooling.
About the Author
Suzanne Greenberg, whose fiction, poetry and essays have appeared in the Mississippi Review, West Branch, and Washington Post Magazine, is the author of Speed-Walk and Other Stories, which was selected for the Drue Heinz Literature Prize by Rick Moody and was a John Gardner Fiction Book Award Finalist. She is also the co-author of two novels for children, Abigail Iris: The One and Only and Abigail Iris: The Pet Project, as well as the book Everyday Creative Writing: Panning for Gold in the Kitchen Sink. Lesson Plans is her first novel for adults. A New Jersey native, Greenberg lives with her husband and three children in California and teaches creative writing at California State University, Long Beach.