Jerseyans’ Write Stuff

New Jersey authors publish books on topics ranging from life in the Jersey ' life in pre-Nazi Germany.

In Carpool Diem, fired corporate exec Annie Fleming is catapulted from boardroom to playroom. Her first priority is helping her daughter land a spot on the elite local soccer squad. No small task. In Montclair resident Nancy Star’s droll satire, Fleming discovers that loud-mouthed soccer moms and ambitious coaches require some of the same cutthroat tactics used in the corporate world.

Debra Galant, who lives in Glen Ridge, continues to excel as a suburban satirist with the observational chops of a skilled reporter (which she was, writing a New York Times Jersey column before founding the newsy website She follows up her debut, Rattled, with the somewhat darker Fear and Yoga in New Jersey. Her heroine, Nina, a yoga teacher, tries to keep her life as balanced as a yoga pose while dealing with a suspicious mother, a prepubescent son, and an unemployed husband.

Tracy Beckerman writes the syndicated newspaper column “Lost in Suburbia.” In her irreverent collection of essays, Rebel Without a Minivan: Observations on Life in the ‘Burbs, the New Providence resident finds the humor in her personal transformation from chic city chick to wife and mother in the Jersey ‘burbs. Along the way she battles mall moms, cappuccino baristas, and the dreaded DMV.

Pamela Redmond Satran knows that most self-help books for women are full of pie-in-the-sky. So in 1,000 Ways to Be a Slightly Better Woman, the Montclair resident serves a more down-to-earth humble pie of attainable goals. How to lose two pounds by, oh, next summer; or how to be a sexual, um, demigoddess. Striving to be not perfect but “good enough” turns out to be good enough.

In Good Neighbors, Bad Times: Echoes of my Father’s German Village, Princeton resident Mimi Schwartz, professor emerita at Stockton College, details her consuming 12-year quest to discover the truth behind her father’s nostalgic stories about his German boyhood in a time before Hitler, when “everyone got along.” In Confessions of a Former Child: A Therapist’s Memoir, psychologist and Sea Girt resident Daniel J. Tomasulo reflects on his boyhood fantasies and struggles and traces the links between his own life and his insights into the lives of his patients.

Like Pippa, the heroine of her debut novel, The English American, Morris Plains resident Alison Larkin was adopted at birth by a British family and eventually sought out her American birth mother (Tennessee for Larkin, Georgia for Pippa). Larkin, who became a standup comic in New York, first developed The English American as a one-woman show. Here she takes a fuller yet still humorous look at the cognitive dissonance of her “British/red neck” roots.

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