Barbarians at the PTA: A Novel (Hardcover)
Desperate Housewives Meets Mean Girls in this Heartfelt and Hilarious Debut Novel about a Mother-Daughter Duo Facing Cliques, Cyberbullying, and Snobs in a Wealthy NYC Suburb
Victoria Bryant is starting over. After a rage-inducing scandal and the realization that her dreamy fiancé is faker than a faux Fendi purse, she moves her psychology practice and 10-year-old daughter, Rachel, to Mayfair Close, an idyllic Westchester, NY, suburb known for its manicured lawns and excellent schools.
The transition is initially seamless; several PTA moms befriend Victoria, her already busy practice booms, and Rachel finds a group of friends. But before anyone can say “helicopter mom,” in walks Lee DeVry. Wealthy, glamorous and perfectly toned, the PTA president is everything Victoria is not.
Vic tries to fit in with Lee and the other SUV driving, athleisure-wearing mothers. At first, she manages to balance the demands of her practice, single parenthood, and her budding romance with Jim, a handsome school administrator. All seems well until Rachel is suddenly targeted, first by the girls at school, and then by an anonymous cyberbully. As Rachel spirals, becoming isolated, playing hooky, and exhibiting signs of depression and disordered eating, Victoria vows to find out who has been messing with her daughter.
After she learns a secret that will help her rescue her child, Vic faces the ultimate dilemma: should she expose the bully publicly, despite the potential consequences to her professional reputation and relationships with Rachel and Jim?
A hilarious, sharp, and hope-filled debut, Barbarians at the PTA will have you cheering for badass moms everywhere who go to the ends of the earth for their children—and will leave you wanting more from Dr. Stephanie Newman.
About the Author
DR. STEPHANIE NEWMAN is a psychologist-psychoanalyst, a visiting scholar-clinical supervisor at Columbia University and faculty member at PANY, the institute affiliated with NYU School of Medicine. Dr. Newman has over 20 years’ experience providing insight-oriented talk therapy for those with anxiety, depression, and relationship, health, and workplace difficulties. She is a co-editor of Money Talks, the author of Mad Men on the Couch, and a regular contributor to Psychology Today online. Barbarians at the PTA is her first novel.
Praise for Barbarians at the PTA:
**One of Bustle's Top 25 Books to Read in June**
"A sharp, hilarious read you won’t be able to put down!" ―Star Magazine
"Stephanie Newman brings a psychologist’s unsparing insight and a 'Mrs. Maisel' style irreverence to this timely tale of cyberbullying, maternal love, and mean girl moms in a posh suburb. Her debut is the real real." ―Wednesday Martin, Ph.D., New York Times bestselling author of Primates of Park Avenue
"Stephanie Newman's well-paced, splendid debut explores the complicated and heart-breaking challenges of fitting in ... at any age." –Christina Kelly, author of Good Karma
"Suburban life is seemingly perky, but in truth it can be dark and unforgiving. It’s a place where one can feel alone and utterly judged. In Barbarians at the PTA, Newman exposes the exclusivity and vindictiveness of 'perfect' suburban life. A must-read!" ―Lybi Ma, Psychology Today
"Dr. Newman has expertly blended a page-turning beach read and anti-bullying campaign into the perfect debut novel. Smart and sassy, sensitive and insightful, Barbarians at the PTA showcases the shallowness and wrath that can manipulate popularity and behavior and highlights the fact that some mean kids are raised by meaner 'role models.'" ―Dr. Nancy Berk, entertainment writer, author of College Bound and Gagged, and podcast host/producer of Entertaining Insights
“Mean girls? Try mean moms. In Newman's summer-read debut novel, psychologist Victoria, the mom of 10-year-old Rachel, learns in the middle of her wedding that her husband-to-be is cheating on her. She remains single. Then she moves her psychology practice and her daughter to a New York suburb, where she squares off against Lee, the evil PTA president. Social-media bullying plays a big role in Newman's funny, knowing, and caring tale. Rachel endures awful posts, such as, ‘What’s your BMI? Like 1000?’ Who is the mysterious person, using the screen name BucketBeast, behind such cruel taunts? Could it be the same person who tried to make it look like Rachel brought an e-cigarette to school? As Rachel falls into depression, the question arises: Will Victoria wind up with her nice-guy Prince Charming? Despite the usual disclaimer that ‘any resemblance to actual events or locals or persons, living or dead, is entirely coincidental,’ readers will still find themselves wondering how much of this all-too-relatable story was inspired by Newman's practice as a clinical psychologist.” ―Karen Springen, Booklist
"With 'Mean Moms' stories being so popular, it’s difficult these days to write a book that will stand out in this genre. Mean moms spawn mean daughters; what’s left to say? Author Dr. Stephanie Newman, a clinical psychologist, does have something new to say, and takes a fresh approach into the material. In Barbarians at the PTA, her second book (the first puts the characters of Mad Men on her couch), Newman’s protagonist is also a psychologist. When the bullying starts, Dr. Victoria Bryant observes it in a detached, clinical way that lets her give reasonable advice and respond in a restrained manner .... it’s always satisfying to see bullies get their comeuppance, and for that payoff, it’s definitely worth taking on these Barbarians." ―Jami Deise, Chick Lit Central
Praise for Dr. Stephanie Newman's previous book, Mad Men on the Couch:
“Fans of the show will absolutely want to read these spot-on diagnoses of the major characters, but even casual or non-viewers of the show will greatly enjoy the ways in which Dr. Stephanie Newman has illuminated the trends and values of our current culture by looking at the way life once was a few decades ago. In sum, a smart, thoughtful and most of all, fun book.” ―Barry A. Farber, Ph.D., professor at Columbia University and author of Rock 'n roll Wisdom
“Dr. Newman takes this fascinating, compelling and award-winning TV show and skillfully analyzes both the psychological and broadly social messages implicit in it.” ―Irwin Hirsch PhD, professor and author of Coasting in the Countertransference
“This fascinating book presents us with a double gift. Not only does it offer a sophisticated and entertaining analysis of the characters in Mad Men, it also provides invaluable insights into the variety of personality types that we encounter off screen in our daily lives. A treasure for Mad Men fans and a delight to read, this book also serves as a splendid introduction to modern psychoanalysis.” ―Ted Jacobs, MD