Wednesday, December 9, 2009

A Friend of the Family by Lauren Grodstein

Another book I hear about from the blogosphere, another blog I can't remember! I thought I was going to be better about remembering these things! Whoever it was, thank you for reviewing or highlighting this book. It was so powerful, go sad and so gripping. I give it a B+.

Inside cover:
Pete Dizinoff has spent his whole life working toward an adulthood that would be, by all measures, judged successful. And in nearly every way, he's accomplished just that: A skilled and intuitive internist with a local following of patients, he's build a thriving medical practice in Round Hill, New Jersey. He has a loving and devoted wife, a network of close friends, a comfortable surburban status, an impressive house, a good view from the porch. And most of all, he has a son, for whom he wants only the best. Pete and his wife Elaine, have only one child, and Pete has pinned his hopes on Alec. They've afforded him every opportunity, bailed him out of close calls with the law, and despite Alec's lack of interest, even managed to get him accepted by 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 history so shocking that it's never spoken of, Laura sets her sights on Alec, who falls under her spell. And with that, Pete sees his dreams for his son not just unravelling but completely destroyed. With a belief that he has only the best intentions, he sets out to derail the romance. But he could not have foreseen how, in the process, he might shatter his whole life and devastate his family.

I don't know where to start with this story. There is so much going on, so much pain and real life thrown into the mix, and I was just glued to the pages. I felt so much for Pete and could see myself in his shoes, making the same decisions and feeling the same things that he does. It is just so clear that all Pete wants is for his family to be happy and safe and he feels it's his role to make sure that happens. I wanted to jump in the story and hold a major therapy session with all of the characters in the story and just straighten everything out. There were times I was crying and had to stop myself from reading for a minute to regroup and times where I was shaking or nodding my head along with the characters. It's been awhile since a book has hit me so strongly and while parts were difficult to read, I am so glad I read this book. I would forewarn anyone who reads it, though, that there are some graphic parts that are a lot to stomach, but can not recommend the book enough. The only reason why I marked the book down a bit was because the story is not told in a linear fashion, and why that doesn't normally bother me, at times it was a bit difficult to figure out exactly when everything is happening. I can predict this one book that will stay with me for quite awhile.

I hope to get at least 30 or so pages in a new book tonight before bed. I am going to grab something off of my own shelves now since this is the 3rd library book in a row I've read. I am tired and have to get up early tomorrow, but I am on such a good streak right now reading that I want to start something! Stay safe and warm everyone, wherever you are (We had 50+mph winds today! Brrrr.... ) and Happy Reading!


Literary Feline said...

This sounds like a book that holds a lot of emotional punch. I think I remember reading about it elsewhere, but like you am drawing a blank as to where. I will definitely have to give this one a try. Thanks for the great review, Kristie. Stay warm!

Staci said...

If you had to stop because of crying this is a book I want to read. Sometimes I need those emotional ones!!!

Kristie said...

Staci... it wasn't overly emotional, but there were tough spots. I can't recommend it enough!