Playing House

Publisher: Vintage Canada
Somewhere between single girl Bridget Jones and working mother Kate Reddy is Frannie MacKenzie -- baffled, beleaguered and undeniably pregnant.

The one thought blazing through Frannie’s formerly trendy, savvy, sharp-tongued New York brain is that she wants to keep this baby -- despite her ultra-small apartment and not being completely sure how to spell the father’s name. Being pregnant is so out of character: how will she break it to her boss, her mother, let alone the father, Calvin Puddie (or is it Pudhey)?

Frannie’s problems multiply as she dives headlong into one hilarious complication after another: from being banned from the U.S. and marooned in Toronto, to actually falling in love with her baby’s father. “You don’t find the one, do you?” Frannie muses. “The best one, the Perfect One. You just keep running like Wil E. Coyote, until all of a sudden you’re off the cliff. You fall into your life with the man who is running beside you.”

In Playing House, Patricia Pearson has written a witty, heart-touching look at falling by accident into life’s most profound commitment. She deftly captures the self-doubt, messy bodily fluids and inconceivable love that accompany being a mother, and the trepidation and joy with which two people step across the threshold of parenthood and into a realm that is at once alien and completely right.

From the Hardcover edition.


New life announces itself as a mystery that a mother cannot solve. Something happens, a certain gear-shifting in the body that she notes, but makes no sense of. Especially if she isn’t planning to be pregnant. I shall offer myself as an example. I did not have a basal thermometer handy on my bureau, or any recall as...
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“Hilarious…. Pearson is an award-winning journalist and crime writer, as well as a master of hyperbole and comic characterizations. You see, Frannie MacKenzie, a quasi-autobiographical creation — as a woman and even as a new mother — is the antithesis of super. And you love her, and Pearson, all the more for it…. Pearson's sophisticated storytelling is not only satirical but side-splitting.”
Toronto Sun

“A deft new comic novel by Canadian author Patricia Perason. Frannie seems to be wedged in the literary crawl space between Bridget Jones (single woman, bad habits, looking for love) and Kate Reddy (married, harried working mother of two in the smash British novel I Don’t Know How She Does It).”

“Think Bridget Jones’s Diary and Sex and the City meet Good Housekeeping and Today’s Parent. Vodka tonics meet baby bottles. Designer clothes meet grubby little hands…. I’m partial to Playing House, because Patricia Pearson is the edgiest writer and Frannie is smart, funny and genuinely screwed up — motherhood and the weird transformation it requires of her actually makes her have panic attacks. Unlike the other two mommies, who only made me smile in recognition here and there, Patricia Pearson made me laugh out loud. ”
Ottawa Citizen

“Told in Frannie’s self-deprecating voice, Patricia Pearson’s Playing House is a witty, laugh-out-loud account of, well, angst at the entanglement of commitments that come with an ‘Impending Infant' and with the arrival itself…. Frannie … is a loveable, hilarious protagonist…. By book’s end, I felt as if I had been entertained at a dinner party by Frannie, her exploits and her take on becoming a mother, where I had grabbed the arms of my dinner mates on either side, mothers all, to keep myself from falling off my chair in laughter.... ”
The Globe and Mail, Denise Chong

Playing House is a riotous romp into the territory of 'accidental pregnancy' and childbirth. Like motherhood itself, the book is beguiling and bewildering, engaging and exasperating and, ultimately, a lesson of love.”
—Alison Wearing, author of Honeymoon in Purdah

“Toronto Writer Patricia Pearson’a debut novel is a funny, quirky look at unplanned parenthood....This premise, despite its serious nature, provides lots of laughs and poignancy in the hands of an author who’s obviously very experienced with babies....Throughout the fast-paced fiction, the characters adapt to their sudden, surprise self-imposed family life in a realistic way. However, the plot never loses its sense of humour, even during the more dramatic moments.”
Winnipeg Free Press

Playing House plays the perils of parenthood like a Canuck road movie. It’s a trip.”
Toronto Star

“[A] sharp satire of love, life and Canada…. All the suffering and all the joy is there. These are fully realized characters in what often feels like a half-realized culture. And I’m not talking about Canada, I’m talking about family.”
Montreal Mirror

“The Bridget Jones comparison is accurate, but Playing House is not a wannabe. Rather, it’s fresh, funny and sweet without being sugary.”

“Pearson’s description of her heroine’s journey into motherhood is as painfully accurate as it is funny.”
Literary Review of Canada

“Too well written to be dismissed as ‘chick lit.’”