Synopses & Reviews
Every afternoon Sean Benning picks up his son, Toby, on the marble steps that lead into the prestigious Bradley School. Everything at Bradley is accelerated—3rd graders read at the 6th grade level, they have labs and facilities to rival most universities, and the chess champions are the bullies. A single dad and struggling artist, Sean sticks out like a sore thumb amongst the power-soccer-mom cliques and ladies-who-lunch that congregate on the steps every afternoon. But at least Toby is thriving and getting the best education money can buy. Or is he?
When Sea starts getting pressure from the school to put Toby on medication for ADD, something smells fishy, and it isn't the caviar that was served at last week's PTA meeting. Toby's "issues" in school seem, to Sean, to be nothing more than normal behavior for an eight-year-old boy. But maybe Sean just isn't seeing things clearly, which has been harder and harder to do since Toby's new teacher, Jess, started at Bradley. And the school has Toby's best interests at heart, right? But what happens when the pressure to not just keep up, but to exceed, takes hold? When things take a tragic turn, Sean realizes that the price of this accelerated life is higher than he could have ever imagined.
"All Sean Benning wants is for his eight-year-old son, Toby, to be happy. But competition is cutthroat at Manhattan's fictional Bradley School, and single dad and struggling artist Sean doesn't fit the Bradley helicopter parent mold. In Hruska's witty, piercingly relevant debut novel, she pulls back the curtain on the lengths to which people will go to produce successful children. After his wife leaves the family abruptly, Sean becomes Toby's sole caregiver, while juggling his day job at a celebrity tabloid and his own pursuit of art. Not only is he the odd man out financially (his in-laws pay the tuition) but when the school suggests that Toby, whose behavior is 'becoming an issue,' should be medicated, Sean learns that he's one of the few parents with a child not on drugs. Though Toby seems normally exuberant for his age, Sean is unnerved by the pressure exerted by Bradley and digs deeper into the use of Ritalin with the help of a sympathetic teacher. When tragedy befalls one of Toby's classmates, Sean becomes even more determined to uncover the reasons behind the medicating of the student body. Hruska perfectly captures the prep school milieu that crackles with rumors, money, and the hunger for success, while creating a wholly sympathetic father-son relationship that ranks love over Ivy League potential. Agent: Stephanie Abou, Foundry Literary + Media." Publishers Weekly Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
In a striking debut novel, a single father and his son discover what lies beneath the gilded façade of
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