A Friend of the Family

In A Friend of the Family (published in November 10, 2009), the author, Lauren Grodstein, speaks about a contemporary suburban drama that, with each turn of the page, takes the reader on the weight of an American tragedy. As the book opens, Peter Dizinoff, a successful doctor from New Jersey, is struggling to adjust to the aftermath of his actions as he sees his personal and professional life cracking beneath his feet. At the center of these troubles is his beloved son Alec, who deflates his father's high expectations when he drops out of college after just three semesters and moves into the apartment above their garage. And when his son begins seeing Laura, the troubled daughter of Peter's best friend who is ten years older than Alec and lives in the tainted shadow of being acquitted for an unspeakable crime when she was 17, Alec's ambivalence to his father's hopes in living a good life turns into a simmering rage.

I picked this up this book from the new fiction shelf, in the library right across the street from my home. It is a well written novel, being pretty much a string of flashback memories that presents the current position in life of the protagonist, Dr. Pete Dizinoff. With elegant prose, Grodstein beautifully conveys the struggles of family even as the protagonist is forced, through his own arrogance to finally question his moral compass and the decisions that have bought him to this time and place. It is really a wonderful novel.


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