The year is 1969. Dick Nixon was just sworn in as the thirty-seventh President of the United States. Neil Armstrong just took one small step for man and one giant leap for mankind. And notable Palm Springs socialite Maxine Simmons just found out that her husband is leaving her for his twenty-two-year-old secretary. After a public meltdown at Thanksgiving, Maxine finds herself not only divorced, but exiled to Scottsdale, Arizona. However, these desert boondocks will not be her end―only her Elba. The former beauty queen sets her eyes on a new crown: that of the Mrs. American Pie pageant, awarded to the nation’s best wife and mother. Maxine only has one problem: to win the crown she’ll need to find―or build―a family of her own.
Paperback, 350 pages
Expected publication: August 7th 2018 by Inkshares
Three and a half stars: A story with quirky, unconventional characters who learn what it means to be family.
Maxine Simmons is about to make her move. She wants to get an in with Evelyn, the Queen Bee of Palm Springs. On the afternoon of what is supposed to be Maxine’s triumph, disaster strikes. Her husband, Douglas, informs her right before her catered Thanksgiving dinner that he is leaving her for his secretary. The party goes on, but not as planned. Maxine has a very public and embarrassing meltdown, which leaves her reputation and her life in shambles. Maxine is exiled to Scottsdale, Arizona. What can a girl do in 1969 to get herself back on top? Enter the Mrs. American Pie Pageant. The crown is awarded to the best wife and mother. Maxine needs a family in order to do that. Will she be able to return to glory or go down in flames?
What I Liked:
- Mr. and Mrs. American Pie was certainly an unexpected and quirky read. I haven’t read anything like it. It was funny, unique and it had heart, though you had to look hard to find the heart. This is a story about a group of completely different individuals who come together and learn what it means to be family. If you want something completely out of the box this is one to try.
- Maxine is one of the most extraordinary characters I have ever encountered. She is beastly at first. Completely narcissistic, cunning and willing to do whatever it takes to further her agenda. You would think, how could a character like that be likeable? To be honest, for most of the book, she is a total piece of work and there isn’t much about her to like. However, she is downright hilarious. Some of the stuff she does is hysterical. She will make your jaw drop. Then, surprisingly, she makes a sort of turn around, and I couldn’t help but like her. Maxine is a character you need to experience for yourself!
- Then there are Charles and Robert. Charles is a precocious twelve year old boy who is forced to care for himself and his two and a half year old sister while his mother works. Charles is sweet, kind and intelligent. He is absolutely endearing. I loved how he could see the good in people, even Maxine. Robert is unexpected as well. He runs a small tavern in Scottsdale. He is also kind and caring, and he too can see the good in Maxine. I adored Robert and Charles. I appreciated that the book was told with their voices as well as Maxine’s.
- I enjoyed the setting and the era. Even though this took place slightly before my time, I was still able to relate to many of the pop cultural references. I also liked that this took place in Scottsdale, Arizona. Having lived in Phoenix for ten years, it was fun for me to go back in time and see what the area was like almost fifty years ago.
- I was pleased by some of the final developments with the Mrs. American Pie Pageant. Things didn’t turn out as I thought, but that was fine, because it was even funnier the way it went down.
- I was pleasantly surprised by the turn around by Maisey one of the front runners in the pageant. Maisey does something unexpected at the end, which I liked.
- The ending was terrific. There were some shocking developments at the pageant, and then the dust settled. The book flashes forward to 1982. The final narration is from Dawn, Chuck’s little sister. I loved the Epilogue, and I was blown away by how things turned out. It was a fantastic ending.
And The Not So Much:
- As much as I loved the Epilogue, I was left wanting to know so much more. I think a lot of the tedium of the pageant could have been eliminated, and instead I wish that there was more focus on the aftermath, especially how the Hogarth’s made it work.
- I was troubled that there was no further mention of Chuck’s dad in Vietnam. Did they ever learn the truth?
- Maxine is such a conundrum. She does some terrible things, but I liked her because she was so darn fascinating. It made more sense when I got a little background information on her childhood years. I only wish that more details were given so I could have a better understanding of how Maxine came to be the way she was.
- I have to admit, I got bored of the whole Mrs. American Pie pageant. At first, it was fine and even interesting, but then it dragged on and on and on. I think the book would be better if some of the tedious parts of the pageant were taken out and more focus was put upon the characters.
Mr. and Mrs. American Pie is an unforgettable book. I adored the quirky characters and their antics. This is a book about a woman who loses everything, and then manages to claw her way back, finding friends and even a family in unexpected places. This is a book that will make you laugh. Maxine does require extreme patience because she is downright nasty at times, but on the other hand, she is so darn entertaining. If you want a unique book, this is one to try.
I received a copy of this book from the publisher. All opinions are my own, and I was not compensated for this review.