Winnie Parker, mother to an angst-ridden teenage daughter and ex-wife to a successful game show host who left her for a twenty-something contestant, begins a normal day in her hum-drum existence by dropping her car off at the repair shop. After accepting what she believes is a ride to pick up her rental car, Winnie realizes too late that she’s been kidnapped.
What follows is a riveting psychological game of cat and mouse set in the kidnapper’s tropically heated house—kept that way for Cookie, a menacing seven-foot long Iguana headquartered in the kitchen. While desperately seeking to escape—which leads to several violent clashes with her increasingly unstable kidnapper—Winnie also tries to understand why she was taken captive. Is her kidnapper merely seeking a ransom or does he have something more sinister in mind? Does he know that Winnie’s mother is an Oscar-winning actress? Or did he connect her with Jonathan, her famous ex-husband? When the truth reveals itself, Winnie is not only forced to fight for her life, but must also protect the lives of those she loves from the kidnapper’s deranged master plan.
An engrossing, darkly humorous, edge-of-your-seat story, The Care and Feeding of Exotic Pets explores the dynamic between kidnapper and kidnapped, bizarre reptile lore, and the absurdity of the celebrity lifestyle.
Diana Wagman is the author of the novels Bump, Spontaneous—which won the PEN Center USA Award for Fiction—and Skin Deep. She is also a contributing writer to the Los Angeles Times.
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June 1st, 2012
You remember Terran Echegoyen-McCabe and her friend Christina Luna who we discussed yesterday1 and their poster campaign to promote breast feeding in uniform. Well, it seems that they are members of the Washington Air National Guard which compounds the idiocy of their cause. How often will a guardsman need to breast feed in uniform? It appears that their commanders have come to that same conclusion and told the two to shut up about it, according to the Spokesman-Review2;
Capt. Keith Kosik, state public affairs officer for the Washington National Guard emphasized that the issue is not about breast-feeding in uniform.
Rather, he said, military regulations prohibit the use of the “uniform, title, rank or military affiliation to further a cause, promote a product or imply an endorsement.”
“If you look at the press coverage that’s out there right now, it has been misconstrued as a battle against breast-feeding,” he said Thursday. “It leads one to believe they are being persecuted for breast-feeding. The fact is they’re not being persecuted. The fact is breast-feeding was never an issue for us.”
The military has no rules specifically regarding public breast-feeding while in uniform. The real issue is that servicemen and -women are not allowed to use the uniform to further a civilian cause, Kosik said.
Our frenemy, Adam Weinstein of Mother Jones3 couldn’t wait to make the military look like a pack of Neanderthals beating our chests over the outrageous photos of boobies. After quoting a female Marine who said that she wanted her Marines to see as nothing more than Marine, Weinstein puffs out his feminist chest-bone;
The commenter assumes, of course, that the appropriate archetypal image of a Marine is sexless. (Or, at least, boobless.) Which leads to another assumption: that there’s something inherently sexual about a woman nourishing a child with breast milk. Neither of those assumptions holds. No one is asexual (least of all Marines, at least in my experience), and no nursing mother should have to accept a cultural taboo that marks her as a sex object for doing what comes naturally.
I wonder how many Marines would agree that their mission in the greater scheme of things like national security is sexual. It was always my impression that women (and gays, because somehow Weinstein equates breast feeding to the recent repeal of the military’s Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell policy) wanted to be equals with men. We integrated women in the services, we quit booting them when they got pregnant in my early years of service because they claimed that they only wanted to be in the military and serve alongside men (and then, straights).
Service in the military isn’t about sex, Adam, well, at least it wasn’t while I was in the infantry. We were more concerned with battle drills, weapons maintenance and physical conditioning. All of this other crap is ancillary cultural bullshit. It looks to me like the social engineers are just trying to turn the military into one long high school lunch period or college dorms instead of the life-taking, destructive force that is supposed to defend us from foreign and domestic enemies.