Synopses & Reviews
Tad Friend's family is nothing if not illustrious: his father was president of Swarthmore College
, and at Smith his mother came in second in a poetry contest judged by W.H. Auden--to Sylvia Plath.
"'Grievances in my family are like underground coal fires,' Friend confides, 'hard to detect and nearly impossible to extinguish.' But a remembrance of his mother that appeared in the New Yorker brought many of those tensions to the surface; shortly afterward, his father accused him of being 'a prisoner of Freudianism' for dwelling on the theme of emotional distance. Nevertheless, Friend pushes forward, combining family history and memoir as he recounts his youthful efforts to prove 'my family was not my fate' and break away from the 'cast of mind' circumscribed by his WASP upbringing the firm handshakes, the summer homes, the university clubs. Friend knows exactly how privileged he is and recognizes that readers won't easily feel sorry for someone who can spend more than $160,000 on therapy. ('My birthright in wherewithal,' he quips, 'seemed to me almost perfectly balanced by my birthright in repression.') Instead of asking for sympathy, he works at showing how his efforts at emotional integration have begun to pay off, including the relationship with his own wife and children, in a story of cross-generational frustration and reconciliation that transcends class boundaries. 8 pages of b&w photo." Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
Part memoir, part family history, and part sociological study of the WASP world, "Cheerful Money" is a captivating examination of a cultural crack-up and a man trying to escape its wreckage. photo insert.
As a young man, Friend noticed that his illustrious family tree was full of alcoholics, depressives, and reckless eccentrics. Part memoir, part family history, and part cultural study, "Cheerful Money" offers a captivating examination of the rise and fall of the American WASP world.
About the Author
Tad Friend is a staff writer at The New Yorker, where he writes the magazine's "Letter from California." Prior to that, he wrote regularly for Outside, New York, and Esquire, and wrote travel stories from all seven continents. He plays golf and squash and watches a lot of television. He lives in Brooklyn with his wife, Amanda Hesser, and their children, Walker and Addie.