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By all appearances, Amanda Bright has it all. Her degree from a prominent university opened the door to employment at the N.E.A. She left the workforce two kids ago, taking on a new job as mother while her husband Bob is a government lawyer.

The honorable occupation of stay-at-home motherhood is losing its shine for Amanda. The clutter of toys and mountains of laundry make a neat home impossible. The marriage is strained by the family's need to keep up with the Joneses in their DC suburb. Maintaining the lifestyle to which she is accustomed is difficult on Bob's single government salary.

Amanda's already hectic world is turned upside down when Bob heads an investigation into the business practices of a large technology company. Suddenly, Bob is on national television and Amanda finds she's a big fish in the shallow DC society pool. The attention has Amanda missing the notoriety of her old job and reconsidering the future of Amanda Bright@home.

This Danielle Crittenden novel is the first ever to be serialized in the Wall Street Journal. There are similarities to Bridget Jones's Diary and Sex and the City as described other places, but Amanda Bright@home is deeper and more honest in its portrayal of one woman's life.

It's quite easy to relate to Amanda struggling in her world where you are what you drive and children are doomed to failure if they aren't accepted to the right preschool. Readers will compare some of the fictitious characters to people in their own lives.

Kirkus Reviews doesn't take too kindly to Amanda Bright@Home, calling it "humorless policy-paper material." Possibly, but any political messages transmitted through the novel won't register on the radar of most pleasure readers. This Crittenden novel is entertaining and that's all that matters on my bookshelf.

Amanda Bright@home
Danielle Crittenden
Book Review by Amy Coffin
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