Synopses & Reviews
Pete Dizinoff has spent years working toward a life that would be, by all measures, deemed successful. A skilled internist, he's built a thriving practice in suburban New Jersey. He has a devoted wife, a network of close friends, and an impressive house, and most important, he has a son, Alec, on whom he's pinned all his hopes. Pete has afforded Alec every opportunity, bailed him out of close calls with the law, and even ensured his acceptance into a good college.
But Pete never counted on the wild card: Laura, his best friend's daughter — ten years older than Alec, irresistibly beautiful, with a past so shocking that it's never spoken of. When Laura sets her sights on Alec, Pete sees his plans for his son not just unraveling but being destroyed completely. Believing he has only the best of intentions, he sets out to derail this romance and rescue his son. He could never have foreseen how his whole world would shatter in the process.
Lauren Grodstein delivers a riveting story in the tradition of The Ice Storm, American Beauty, and Little Children, charting a father's fall from grace as he struggles to save his family, his reputation, and himself.
"In her wonderful second novel, Grodstein (Reproduction Is the Flaw of Love) traces a suburban crisis and gives especially perceptive attention to the father-son bond. Pete Dizinoff has it pretty good an internist with a successful practice, loving wife, nice house in a safe New Jersey suburb and his best friend living close by but there's some nasty muck beneath the surface. Some years back, Laura, the daughter of Pete's best friend, Joe, was suspected of murdering her baby upon birth. Now in her early 30s, Laura's returned to town after several years of leisurely work and travel and is seducing Pete's college dropout son, Alec, who is also back in town, pursuing the life of a painter in his parents' garage. Laura does not fit into Pete's idea of what's best for his son, but when Pete intervenes, things spin wildly out of control. Add to this a malpractice case, and Pete senses his life is falling apart. An astute dissector of male aspiration, Grodstein brings great insight into a father's protective urge for his son in this gripping portrait of an American family in crisis." Publishers Weekly (Starred Review) (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
"[S]uch an incisive diagnosis of aspirational America that someone should hand out copies at Little League games and ballet recitals....Horrifyingly plausible and deeply poignant, A Friend of the Family will leave you shaken and chastened — and grateful for the warning." Ron Charles, The Washington Post
"Stunning....An unqualified success....Grodstein's sentences are finely made and precisely fitted to one another and her story....If there's any justice in the world, A Friend of the Family will be her breakout book....She has written a novel that will leave her reader sitting up, sifting the evidence in the dead of night." David Thoreen, The Boston Globe
Pete Dizinoff, a skilled and successful New Jersey internist, has a loving and devoted wife, a network of close friends, an impressive house, and, most of all, a son, Alec, now nineteen, on whom he has pinned all his hopes. But Pete hadn't expected his best friend's troubled daughter to set her sights on his boy. When Alec falls under her spell, Pete sets out to derail the romance, never foreseeing the devastating consequences.
In a riveting story of suburban tragedy, Lauren Grodstein charts a father's fall from grace as he struggles to save his family, his reputation, and himself.
Grodstein delivers a riveting story in the tradition of The Ice Storm, American Beauty, and Little Children, charting a father's fall from grace as he struggles to save his family, his reputation, and himself.
About the Author
Lauren Grodstein's books include the novels
and Reproduction is the Flaw of Love
and the story collection The Best of Animals
. Her pseudonymous Girls Dinner Club was a New York Public Library Book for the Teen Age.
Her work has been translated into German, Italian, French, Turkish, and other languages, and her essays and stories have been widely anthologized.
Lauren teaches creative writing at Rutgers-Camden, where she helps administer the college's MFA program. She lives with her husband and son in New Jersey.