“The Lucky Sperm Club” by Rebecca Eckler is about Amanda, a 20-ish woman who had a child with Slade, a wealthy guy who dumps Amanda when he hears she is pregnant. With her court ordered child support, Amanda and her daughter Clover are doing okay until the day that Slade, on his mother’s urging, offers to pay for Clover to attend a ritzy private school. She also finds out Clover stands to inherit millions from her grandmother. At this point, Amanda and Clover are introduced to life among the “Richie Riches” and Amanda strives to keep up and stay grounded.
I live in an older neighbourhood that is pretty middle class, but is adjacent to some of the hoity-toity-est real estate in the city. While my children go to a public school with children of various socio-economic backgrounds, a large percentage of them are from very wealthy families. Unlike the kids at Summit Prep (the fictional school in the book) my kids don’t wear a uniform, but some of the mothers at our school do have an unofficial uniform of head to toe Lululemon, exquisitely styled, flawlessly highlighted hair and luxury SUV’s. I know more than a few women that remind me of the “Richie Rich” moms in the book. It was not surprising that this book really struck a chord for me, a first generation Canadian who gets a little itchy around the WASPy-ness that I encounter daily upon drop off and pick up.
Rebecca Eckler’s writing is unpretentiously honest, self-depreciating and funny. I have read her previous non-fiction books (Knocked Up: Confessions of a Modern Mother-to-be, Wiped: Life with a Pint-Sized Dictator and Toddlers Gone Wild: Rants From a Mommy Brain) and would often find myself rolling my eyes about some of the things Eckler complained about in her books, for example, she had a night nanny for her newborn, yet still had trouble coping; could life really be that hard? Yet I always go back for more because she makes me laugh and is painfully candid in her writing. I did wonder just how much of this book was based, however loosely, on her life given how good she is at writing about herself. Although according to an interview in the Financial Post, Eckler maintains the book is pure fiction.
The Lucky Sperm Club touches on a lot of topics that will resonate with parents; where to send your kids to school, children’s struggles with ‘class- consciousness’, parents wanting to keep up with the Jones’, and our own innate need to fit in with the group. It made me laugh out loud, cringe, scoff and often get a little angry. To me, the sign of a good book is when you run a gamut of emotions like this while reading. Now while I say it’s a good book, I do so with a caveat: it ain’t winning any great literature prizes. At times I found the lead character Amanda quite one dimensional and the story itself was predictable but I liked it anyway. It is a fluffy, fun, brain candy kind of book to read. Eckler has referred to herself as a “chick-lit mother writer” and that is exactly what you get. Take this book to the beach, take it camping or to the cabin, take it on a plane; just don’t take it too seriously!