Arts & Events
Single Mom Seeking: Playdates, Blind Dates and Other Dispatches from the Dating World is a spunky, sexy, page-turner of a book about Berkeley author Rachel Sarah’s search for a good man. I got to practically witness it being written as her story unfolded, since Rachel and I are in a writing group together.
Rachel Sarah was living in New York City when her ex-boyfriend, Eric (who she describes as being bipolar and alcoholic) walked out on her and their six-month-old baby girl, Mae. He ends up moving abroad, leaving Rachel devastated. A few months later, around the time the WTC falls, she’s slowly begun to accept that she’s now sole parent to lively, biracial Mae. Problem is, Rachel, a vibrant, adventurous young woman, also discovers her libido’s back—and in high gear. With a bit of trepidation she’s already begun flirting with everyone from her apartment building manager to the local UPS man, with mixed results.
One day she tells some friends, “I want to meet someone,” and they set her up on the first of many blind dates. Even though in the long term she wants a man who will stay, in the short term she realizes that she definitely doesn’t want to kiss her sex life good-bye just because she’s a single mom.
Rachel is ever conscious of the impact of her dating adventures on her growing daughter. Balancing our needs as single moms with those of our children is a constant juggling act, yet Rachel manages both mothering and dating with grace and style.
When a friend of a friend, Victor, becomes a boyfriend, it’s not long before Rachel finds that he’s more interested in smoking pot with his old buddies than cuddling with her on a holiday visit to his family home, so she says goodbye. With every man she meets she assesses his suitability as father-material, and Victor clearly didn’t measure up. As much as she wants a satisfying love life, Rachel (who wants to be for Mae “the kind of mother I never had,”) is first and foremost conscientious of her daughter’s well-being.
She decides to pack her bags and move back to the Bay Area, her childhood home. Here, she quickly hooks up with other single parents and establishes herself as a freelance writer and a columnist for a Jewish newspaper.
With the encouragement of her girlfriends she boldly enters the world of online dating, and writes with insight, detail, and humor about the broad-ranging results which ensue.
Single Mom Seeking makes no pretense about being anything other than a fast-paced, sexy story of one woman’s search for her own Cinderella ending.
Its strengths are its dialog, its honesty, and Rachel’s devotion to Mae. She writes,
When a man meets my child, it’s a true test. Will he bend down on one knee and talk to her face to face? Or will he ignore her as she hovers at his legs, and look into my eyes instead?
Also, I think there’s something brazen about telling readers that your hormones are raging and damn it, you’re going to do something about it. If some of the passages lean a bit toward descriptions that are on the um, racy side, well, that’s what helps make it a page-turner.
I have to say, I truly admire Rachel’s gumption in writing her book. As a single mom also, I pretty much figure the chances of my meeting someone new who wants me and my kids (we’re sort of like a package deal), is just too remote. So unlike Rachel, I don’t even bother looking.
But more than that, Rachel Sarah wrote a book about her life while raising a child on her own. Now, that is what I truly admire.
Single Mom Seeking:
Play Dates, Blind Dates
and Other Dispatches
from the Dating World
By Rachel Sarah
Published by Seal Press, 2006, Emeryville. $14.95.
Rachel Sarah will launch her new book with a reading and party sponsored by Black Oak Books at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 11 at the Jewish Community Center, 1414 Walnut St.