How curious can a five-year-old really be? Frannie and Calvin are back, and even more baffled, in this hilarious and heartwarming sequel to Patricia Pearson’s critically acclaimed comic novel, Playing House. Frannie Mackenzie thought she finally had her life on track. Even though she backed into love and parenthood — getting pregnant before she even knew how to spell her lover Calvin’s last name (P-U-D-D-I-E) — the birth of baby Lester seemed to put everything in the right order at last. Ha! When her mother-in-law, Bernice, takes theatrically to her death bed and Calvin can’t deal, Frannie has to step up to the next big challenge: what to make of mortality when you’re pretty sure there’s no afterlife. And Lester, at five, knows just how to test his mother’s verbal and spiritual limits. Spotting a crucifix in a local church, Lester inquires, “What happened to that guy?” There’s certainly no lack of absolutists in Frannie’s life: an atheist scientist bent on disproving God, a near-death experiencer, a suburban shaman, and the whole neo-con coterie of magazine editors at The Moral Volcano who pay her salary. But when it comes down to surveying the landscape of their own beliefs, Frannie and Calvin find that a dying woman and a growing child offer the most lasting lessons on life and faith.
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