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Best Friends, Occasional Enemies: The Lighter Side of Life as a Mother and Daughter

Best Friends, Occasional Enemies: The Lighter Side of Life as a Mother and Daughter


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In Best Friends, Occasional Enemies, New York Times bestselling author Lisa Scottoline and her daughter, Francesca Serritella, are the best of friends—99.9% of the time!

They're number one on each other's speed dial and they tell each other everything—well, almost everything. They share shoes and clothes—except one very special green jacket, which almost caused a catfight.
In other words, they're just like every mother and daughter in the world. Best friends and occasional enemies.

Now they're dishing about it all: their lives, their relationship, and their carb count.

Lisa on Being a Mom: Motherhood has no expiration date. Francesca lives in the city, and I worry about her all the time. My daughter moved out, so why am I still lactating?

Francesca on Being a Daughter: My mother is always right. Just ask her.

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781250013866
Publisher: St. Martin's Publishing Group
Publication date: 09/18/2012
Series: The Amazing Adventures of an Ordinary Woman , #3
Pages: 320
Sales rank: 453,942
Product dimensions: 5.50(w) x 8.20(h) x 1.10(d)

About the Author

LISA SCOTTOLINE is the New York Times bestselling author of more than thirty novels, including the Rosato & DiNunzio legal thrillers (beginning with Accused). Her standalone novels include Save Me, Don’t Go, and Dirty Blonde. Scottoline has won an Edgar Award and Cosmopolitan magazine’s “Fun Fearless Fiction” Award; multiple Earphones Awards for her nonfiction book recordings; and a “Paving the Way” Award from the University of Pennsylvania. She has served as the president of Mystery Writers of America and teaches a course on justice and fiction at the University of Pennsylvania Law School, her alma mater. She lives in the Philadelphia area.

FRANCESCA SERRITELLA graduated cum laude from Harvard University, where she won the Thomas Temple Hoopes Prize, the Le Baron Russell Briggs Fiction Prize, and the Charles Edmund Horman Prize for her creative writing. She lives in New York with only one dog, so far.

Scottoline and Serritella write a weekly column, “Chick Wit”, for The Philadelphia Inquirer. The columns have been collected in Why My Third Husband Will Be a Dog; My Nest Isn't Empty, It Just Has More Closet Space; and Best Friends, Occasional Enemies, among others.


Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Date of Birth:

July 1, 1955

Place of Birth:

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania


B.A., University of Pennsylvania, 1976; J.D., University of Pennsylvania Law School, 1981

Read an Excerpt


The Occasional Enemies Part

By Lisa

Daughter Francesca and I are very close, but that doesn’t mean we don’t fight.

On the contrary, it means we do.

So if you’re currently fighting with your daughter, or merely fussing from time to time, you’ve come to the right place.

Let’s start with the notion that the no-fighting model isn’t the best for mother-daughter relations. I know so many women who feel bad, guilty, or inferior because they fight with their daughters, and they needn’t. To them, and to you, I say, flip it.


Flip that notion on its head. If you fight with your daughter, you raised her to think independently from you, and to voice her own views.


You’re a great mother. Know why?

Because the world doesn’t reward the timid. Especially if they have ovaries.

In my opinion, conflict between mother and daughter is normal and good. Not only that, it’s love. I say this not as a social scientist, which I’m not, but as a real-life mother, which I so am. So if your daughter is fighting with you, here’s the good and bad news:

The good news is you raised her right.

The bad is you have a headache.


Just kidding.

Francesca and I are best friends, but at times, we’re at odds. Enemies, only momentarily. Like most mothers and daughters, we’re so attuned to each other’s words and gestures that even the arching of an eyebrow can convey deep meaning.

If somebody plucks, we’re in trouble.

We never have really huge fights, but we have car rides to New York that can feel as if they last cross-country.

Wars of words.

We go on and on, each replying to the other, swept along in a girl vortex of words, during which we parse every nuance of every syllable, with special attention to tone.

Tone is the kryptonite of mother-daughter relationships.

As in, “I don’t like your tone.”

Also, “Don’t use that tone with me.”

And the ever-popular, “It wasn’t what you said, it was your tone.”

It was ever thus. Francesca and I got along great from the time she came out of the egg, and I used to tell her that she wasn’t allowed to whine, but she could argue with me. In other words, make her case for whatever she wanted.

Never mind that she was three at the time.

Oddly, this turned out great. She was the Perry Mason of toddlers, and more often than not, she was right. Or she felt completely heard, which was often enough for kiddie satisfaction. She argued for punch balls from the gift shop at the zoo, dessert before dinner if she ate all her dinner, and the wearing of Cinderella outfits on an almost daily basis, complete with tiara.

What girl doesn’t want a tiara?

Another thing I did when she was little was to let her vent. I had no idea how I came upon this idea, but I used to give her the chance to say anything she wanted to me, without interruption, for a full minute.

And I mean, anything.

She was even permitted to curse at me, though she didn’t know any profanity at that age. It got only as rude as “butt face.”


She’s still permitted to argue with me and vent her anger. And she accords me the same permission. Even though we’re writing books together and we adore each other, we can still get mad at each other. And that valve releases the pressure from the combustible engine that is the mother-daughter relationship.

It’s just hot air, anyway.

Bottom line, we’re close, so we fight, and the converse is also true. The conflict strengthens us, because it’s honesty, hard-earned.

And the more honest we are with each other, the closer we are. You’ll see exactly what I mean, in the pages that follow.

So enjoy.

And watch your tone.

BEST FRIENDS, OCCASIONAL ENEMIES. Copyright 2011 by Smart Blonde, LLC, and Francesca Scottoline Serritella.

Table of Contents

Introduction 1

The Occasional Enemies Part 5

We Are All Ferraris 8

All's Fair In Love and Wardrobe 12

Empowered 16

Picture Day 20

Can This Marriage Be Saved? 24

Meow 27

Holy Moly 32

Cover Me 35

Mother Mary and The Retirement Village 38

The Suburbs Are Killing Me 41

The Mothership 45

Brush Off 49

Love and Worry 52

Getting It Straight 56

The Heart of a Gambler 59

Clipped 62

Mother Mary Hears The Worst 65

Half-Full 69

Mother Mary and the Terrorists 72

Twit-Willow 75

Grainy 78

In Which We Lose Angie, and Nothing's Funny 81

Banana Fanna Fo 86

Mousetrap 89

Pilgrim's Progress 92

You Can't Touch This 95"

Security Complex 98

Mousetrap Part II-This Time It's Personal 101

This Old Homebody 106

Little Dog, Big Pill 109

The Flying Scottolines Reach Out 113

Don't Look Now 116

Mousetrap Part III-Modicum or Solace 119

Accommodating 123

Home Team 126

Running on Empty 129

Control Issues 132

My Daughter Moved Out, So Why Am I Still Lactating? 136

I Refuse To Dress Up For The Mall 139

Mother Mary and The Christmas Standoff 142

Busy Signal 145

Twas The Night Before 148

Prepare for the Best 151

Join Me 155

Rewarding, or Why Free Is Dumber Than You Think 158

Can't Start A Fire Without A… 162

Cold Comfort 166

Lunatic 169

Darwinian 173

The Moon and I 177

Big and Me 180

Birthday Wish 183

Life in the Not-So-Fast Lane 187

It's Not The Heat 190

Moms Say the Darndest 193

Not Under My Roof 197

Uncle Sam 200

Mathlete 203

Oprah and Einstein 206

Toys in the Attic 209

Hardwired 212

Bank Angst 216

Tempus Fugit 220

History Lesson 223

iLisa 226

Oh, You Don't Know 229

Home, Sweet Gym 233

The Right To Vote 236

The Einstein Workout 239

Remembering Joy 243

911 247

If a Tree Falls in a Driveway… 250

As Seen On TV 254

In Which We Get A Woman President 257

The Hardest Job in the World 261

This Land Is My Land 264

The Four Seasons 267

The Best Friends Part 271

Acknowledgments 277

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