I Have a Bed Made of Buttermilk Pancakes, by Jaclyn Moriarty

Every Friday night the adult members of the Zing family meet in their garden shed; btu this is no ordinary garden shed – not a wheelbarrow or hammer or paint pot to be seen. Instead there is a meeting table, filing cabinets and high-tech surveillance equipment. All this is in aid of the Zing Family Secret – a secret so big that it consumes all of their lives.

Cath Murphy is just an ordinary second grade teacher. She loves her job and is also studying law part time, because it is something she has always been interested in. She is freshly over a broken heart incurred when her last boyfreind left for America and thinks she will probably meet someone new soon. None of these things link her to the Zing family in any way, except that young Cassie Zing is in her grade two class this year.

Yet perhaps Cath Murphy is more closely involved in the Zing family secret than she thinks. Cath seems to live a charmed life. She wins scholarships that she has never applied for and she wins every competition that she enters. Is she just lucky or is there some other force at play here?

Tagged as a fairytale for grown-ups, I Have a Bed Made of Buttermilk Pancakes does have a certain fairy-tale feel about it. The Zings are either msiguided or mad, and their zany actions are a pleasure to follow, even while they make the reader squirm. This is not a normal family, nor is it a normal story and whilst it does, in part, have a happy-ever-after feel, it also explores some serious issues. Adultery, family, growing up and dysfunctional families are all explored as is happiness and what it entails.

Part-mystery, part family drama, this one is definitely for grown-ups.

I Have a Bed Made of Buttermilk Pancakes, by Jaclyn Moriarty
Picador, 2004