Avery King is a thirty-something graphic designer, happily single, with a strong crush on Elena Walker, manager of her bank branch. Avery’s best friend, Maddie, convinces her she should fill in as the coach of Maddie’s T-ball team of five and six year olds while she convalesces from knee surgery. By Avery’s own admission, she’s not good with kids and has no desire to be around them. Maddie assures her that it will be easy and it will only be for a few weeks. What could possibly happen in a few weeks? As it turns out, Avery is great with the kids. She feels sorry for one small boy, Max, whose mom is too busy talking on her Blackberry to watch her boy play ball.
While she convalesces, Maddie enrolls Avery in an online dating service. Avery is appalled, but, nevertheless, checks out the women who have responded to Maddie’s ad. She narrows the field down to three, and contacts all three, but one appeals to her more than the other two. She discovers Max at her back fence one morning. Imagine Avery’s surprise when Max’s other mother is Elena, the woman of her fantasies and dreams.
Beers is a Lambda Award winner and Starting from Scratch is her seventh novel. She tells the story in the first person and, as difficult as it is to write in the first person, Beers does it perfectly. Her characters, even the secondary characters like Avery’s close friends, her grandmother, and Steve, Avery’s dog, are carefully drawn, and readers come to care for them all. Be prepared to fall in love with Max, Elena’s son, because he will surely pull at your heart strings. The pacing of the book is perfect, slow enough to let the reader fall in love with the characters and fast enough to keep her turning pages. The book is full of humor, angst, tears, joy, love, sadness, and hope.
There were no false steps, no editorial gaffes, and nothing to take the reader out of the story.
This is one of the best books published in 2010.
It was announced last week that Starting from Scratch is one of the finalists for the Lambda Literary Foundations Best Romance of 2010.