The Playgroup by Nelsie Spencer
A Novel

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Before she signed up for the mommy role, Ellie Fuller was a stand-up comic, a good best friend, and on her way to substantial success in the TV world. Then good-looking Peter came along, and she was quick to succumb. Marriage redefined her personal landscape with a vengeance, and with what now seems like super speed, she's become a constantly nursing, sleep-deprived, double-stroller pushing mother of two on Manhattan's Upper West Side. Ellie loves her life. Doesn't she?

She's about to find out.

Day One of pre-school for her daughter, Ahnika. As Ellie gathers with the other moms on the stately steps of Park Avenue Playgroup, she meets ice princess Missy Hanover. Missy is tall. Missy is tan. Missy is the kind of woman who looks gorgeous even in running clothes. And, to Ellie's surprise, Missy looks vaguely familiar. They must have met before. But where?
Missy decides that she and Ellie should be friends-close friends. As the school year progresses, Ellie finds herself pulled deeper, sometimes unwillingly, into Missy's Upper East Side world.

From the rarefied, moneyed land of Hermes scarves and elaborate birthday parties for three year-olds, into the hidden reaches of a married woman's mind and the secrets of Ellie's past, The Playgroup shows what really goes on when the kids are in school.


About Nelsie Spencer

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Nelsie Spencer moved to New York from Southern California in 1979 to study acting at The Neighborhood Playhouse. Her play, My Heart Belongs to Daddy, in which she co-starred and co-wrote with Laury Marker-Sacks, was lauded by critics throughout the country. In 1998 Nelsie started getting up before dawn (while her children slept) to work on an idea she had for a book. The Playgroup is her first novel. She is currently working on her second, a coming-of-age novel set in Southern California in the early 70's. She lives in New York City with her husband and two children.
Published December 13, 2004 by St. Martin's Press. 367 pages
Genres: Literature & Fiction. Fiction

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Kirkus Reviews

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Since no New York novel about contemporary women is complete without a severe eating disorder, however, it’s breathlessly revealed that Ellie used to be bulimic (details and symptoms included) but 12-stepped her way to nutritional correctness, thanks to a model pal.

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Publishers Weekly

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Initially feeling both "superior and intimidated" in the company of the glitzy playgroup mothers ("they all know each other and they all speak French"), Ellie becomes friends and then, improbably, lovers, with Missy Hanover, a beautiful heiress who maintains her irresistible self-possession throu...

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