Pixie Kitchy was once Miss New Jersey. Now she’s married to a dentist, an ex-quarterback in turtled golf pants. Her ten-year-old daughter, Mitzie, wears Bo-peep pincurls and twirls baton. Her sixteen-year-old son, Ezra, the person who knows her best, is caught up in his fling with the podiatrist’s daughter. And Pixie is consumed by the past. She confides, “I was a housewife, and I became dangerous. Sometimes it’s the only way possible to regain footing in the world.” In this high-wire mixture of absurdity and pathos, hilarity and darkness, one American family finds out that there is no such thing as the perfect American family, and, for better or for worse, they come together and start anew.
I’ve only read one other book by Julianna Baggott, The Madame. That book ended up being something totally different than I was expecting, which is exactly the case with The Miss America Family. Though in this case it’s because I bought it a long time ago on my Kindle and didn’t look up the description again before starting to read it.
I liked Ezra’s sections so much more than Pixie’s. I think I would have enjoyed either a book about Pixie or a book Ezra, but not really both in the same book. It was weird to have a teenager’s coming of age juxtaposed with his middle-aged mother.
Which is not to say this was a bad book. I enjoyed reading it and it went quickly. I guess one thing you can say about Julianna Baggott is you never really know where the book is going to go until you arrive there. She gives little away and the twists and turns are always surprising.
Not my favorite book though and I think I enjoyed it a little less than the Madame. I have one of the books from her Young Adult series, so I will give that a try. Perhaps that is more her cup of tea.