Synopses & Reviews
This is a story about the year I exploded into flames. Which turns out to be more common than youd think, among forty-something humans. Yea, we can hold it together in our thirties, with a raft of hair products and semi-tall nonfat half-caf beverages and much brisk walking to a lot of interesting appointments. Come the forties, though, cracks begin to appear. One staggers suddenly along lifes path; gourmet coffee splats; the wig slips askew. In other words, my friends, THE WHEELS COME OFF.
Sandra Tsing Loh is the fiercest, funniest, and most incredibly honest and self-deprecating voice to emerge from the “mommy war” debates. In Mother on Fire, she fires away with her trademark hilarious satire of societal and personal irks large and small, including limo liberals who preach the virtues of public school but send their children to fashionable private ones, the proliferation of costly skin-care products that just dont cut it, societys obsession with aromatherapy, her Chinese fathers disdain for her life as an artist, and $10 Target pants (“Are they running pants, exercise pants, pajama pants?”) that are the ubiquitous Mother of Small Children uniform.
Prompted by her own midlife crisis, Loh throws her frantic energy not into illicit affairs, shopping binges, or exotic trips, but into the harrowing heart of contemporary, dysfunctional L.A. life when she realizes that she cant afford private school for her daughter, and her only alternative is her neighborhoods public school, Guavatorina, where most of the kids speak Spanish and qualify for free lunches. In a theater-of-the-absurd-style odyssey, Mother on Fire documents Lohs “year of living dangerously” among pompous school admissions officials, lactose-intolerant, Prius-driving parents, mafia dons of public radio, vindictive bosses, and old friends with new money as she first kisses assand then kicks it.
"Radio commentator and performer Loh (A Year in Van Nuys) has penned a hilarious memoir with the same title as her one-woman comedy show, which ran for seven months in Los Angeles. The story begins as a droll little breeze that soon sucks the reader into a frenzied whirlwind as Loh recounts her harrowing quest to find a suitable kindergarten for Hannah, her four-year-old daughter (Loh habitually calls Isabel, her two-year-old, simply 'The Squid'). Spurned by the local Lutheran school (which deems the precocious Hannah 'not developmentally ready'), Loh vaults from pricey and competitive private institutions to public school settings, discovering that the chances of Hannah making it into the desirable public magnet school are minuscule, and only one in 20 is admitted to the idyllic private school, 'Wonder Canyon,' which costs $22,500 per year. Loh is prone to insomnia, expletives (she's fired from her radio spot for using the F word on air), panic ('panic attacks are my booster rockets') and exaggeration as she grapples with rejection, middle age, friendship, a clueless but lovable guitar-playing husband and a brilliant but eccentric Chinese father. All parents who have searched for an ideal school for their youngster (and even those who haven't) will be snared by Loh's crackling prose." Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
Humorist and radio commentator Loh frantically searches for the perfect kindergarten for her five-year-old daughter in this hilarious and insightful memoir.
About the Author
SANDRA TSING LOH is an NPR commentator, an Atlantic Monthly contributor, and a successful performance artist. She is the author of four previous books.