📚 You’ve Been Volunteered by Laurie Gelman

Reviewed Jul. 2019

Narrator: Laurie Gelman
Length: 6 hours 35 minutes
Publisher: Macmillan Audio⎮2019

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Summary

In the eagerly anticipated follow-up to Laurie Gelman’s "irreverent and hilarious" (The New York Post) hit Class Mom, brash, lovable Jen Dixon is back with a new class and her work cut out for her.

If you’ve ever been a room parent or school volunteer, Jen Dixon is your hero. She says what every class mom is really thinking, whether in her notoriously frank emails or standup-worthy interactions with the micromanaging PTA President and the gamut of difficult parents. Luckily, she has the charm and wit to get away with it - most of the time. Jen is sassier than ever but dealing with a whole new set of challenges in the world of parental politics and at home.

She’s been roped into room-parenting yet again for her son Max’s third grade class, but as her husband buries himself in work, her older daughters navigate adulthood, and Jen’s own aging parents start to need some parenting themselves, Jen gets pulled in more directions than any one mom, or superhero, can handle.

Refreshingly down-to-earth and brimming with warmth, Dixon’s next chapter will keep you wondering what’s really going on under the veneer of polite parent interactions and have you laughing along with her the whole way.

The Audiobookworm's Review

Rating: 4.5 Stars

Well, it looks like Laurie Gelman heard my plea in 2017 for a follow up book to Class Mom. I was so excited to see that You've Been Volunteered had been released recently. It wasn't even on my radar until I discovered it had already been released. This was an instant purchase for me. As soon as I knew it existed, I paused everything else I was listening to and immediately started You've Been Volunteered.

I remember thoroughly enjoying Class Mom but I didn't realize it had been nearly 2 years since I heard it. I love hearing funny books, but not all humor strikes a chord with me. My brand of humor largely revolves around snark and sarcasm (make of that what you will), but that makes me the perfect listener for Laurie Gelman's work, even if I am probably not the target audience for her Class Mom books. But Gelman writes in a way that allows you to enjoy her characters and appreciate their experiences, even if you don't have first-hand experience with them. I'm sure that parents will probably have a more intimate connection to these books and therefor a greater appreciation of them, but they aren't written in a way that excludes anyone. It's not as if they are an inside joke between parents that flies over the heads of those without children.

My only complaint with You've Been Volunteered was that it wasn't long enough. It was even shorter than Class Mom. Unlike Class Mom, I do feel that You've Been Volunteered could have been an hour or two longer, allowing for further development of the secondary storylines. I get it that the Class Mom books are supposed to be short and sweet, which they definitely are, but they still leave me wanting more!

I was [selfishly] a little bummed that You've Been Volunteered jumped forward a couple of years and put Max in third grade. I felt that we missed out on so much in first and second grade, because you know the action didn't stop in the Dixon household. After finishing Class Mom, I was hoping that Gelman would pick up the next book with Max in first grade. I definitely had a moment of "Aw, he grew up so fast!" when learning that Max was already a third grader. It may have been an unrealistic of me to hope that Gelman would write a book for every grade, but can you blame me for wanting more of this series?!

You've Been Volunteered is lighthearted and fun. Listening to it felt like catching up with a friend I haven't seen in a while. Technically, I guess it can be heard without having heard Class Mom, but I definitely recommend binging both books one after the other for the best experience.

Narration review: Unlike last time, I was aware that Laurie Gelman (the author) was narrating this audiobook from the get-go and I was still blown away by her performance. It makes me wonder how much of Jen Dixon's life is inspired by Gelman's own, because she definitely connects with the material in a way that makes me think she may have lived it. That's absolutely one of the silver linings of having an author narrate her own audiobook. If all authors were able to pull off a performance like Gelman, I would have very little hesitancy regarding author narration. ♣︎

2 Comments

    1. As a rule, I always think you should read the first one, particularly in this case. Not because it provides critical information you need for the second, but just because it was so funny and I don’t want you to miss out on it. The plots occur independently, but #1 introduces you to the Dixon family and provides a lot of background information. There were secondary characters in #2 that were introduced in #1 and I had trouble remembering them because I read the two books so far apart.

      I really do recommend reading both of them. But technically, you probably could read this one without having read the first, just because this isn’t a “serial” series. That’s hard for me to definitively say though, because I did read them in order. -Jess

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