Review: A Friend of the Family

I recently finished A Friend of the Family by Lauren Grodstein, and unlike my other reviews I am taking a few days to digest the book before I write my review.

Here is what Goodreads has to say:
Pete Dizinoff has spent years working toward a life that would be, by all measures, deemed successful. A skilled internist, heʼs 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 heʼs 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 itʼs 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.

This was a beautifully written book. It really captured me as a reader. I actually read about half of it, and I couldn’t decide how I felt about it, so I went to put it aside for a few days. I found myself wondering, what was going to happen with Pete, and what was Alec going to screw up next (side note: Alec drove me crazy, seriously buddy, get over your spoiled self). I finished the rest of it in just a few days’ time.

The author does an amazing job of describing life as it may truly happen in a suburban New Jersey neighborhood, and its heart-wrenching to read about their lives as they are completely derailed. You can’t help but think about the fact that all this man ever wanted for himself and his family was a peaceful, happy life (something I think that everyone wants, even if their definitions vary).

The ending was not what I was expecting, but I don’t want to put what I was expecting so I donʼt sway your thinking if you choose to read it (my prediction was actually pretty ridiculous when I think about it now). I know that I donʼt always read the most sophisticated books (coughTrueBloodcoughteenlitcough) but I loved reading this.

It made me think about more than what was just on the pages of the book. I wasn’t a huge fan of the chronological jumps, it was sometimes hard to remember which events appened when, but there was always a well-placed maker within the first few paragraphs that helped you to place it in time.

In keeping with my new tradition, I added another Operation Beautiful note into the book. I made this one a little less gender- and age-specific because I could see a variety of people picking up the book.

What I am reading now: The Violets of March by Sarah Jio and Naturally Thin by Bethenny Frankel (I usually donʼt like reading two books at once, but I needed to break up the nonfictionness with some fun fiction… and I have been super impatient about reading Sarahʼs book haha.)

Up next: A Place of Yes by Bethenny Frankel and Dead as a Doornail by Charlaine Harris

If you have read the book, what did you think? What are you currently reading?

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