A Friend of the Family
By Lauren Grodstein
“These days, when people ask how I’m doing — some of them still ask, you’d be surprised — I shrug and say, ans manfully as I can, ‘Much better than you’d think.’ And this is true.”
Dr. Pete Dizinoff has cultivated a comfortable and successful life for himself and his family. His patients can find comfort in knowing that although he may not be the specialist who will cure them, he is an internist with a passion for getting to the bottom of a malady. He and his wife have shared celebrations and tragedies and their relationship has thrived but now Pete is at a turning point in life.
His son, Alec, who has ditched school to become an artist is falling for Pete’s best friend’s daughter. Under normal circumstances this would be a good thing but Laura was once accused of killing her own child. Did she do it or didn’t she? Pete was always there to support his best friend but now that his son could be jeopardizing his future to be with this woman he will stop at nothing to keep them apart.
Through flashbacks the reader learns about Pete’s life along the years and the moments that marked him. He is settled comfortably in suburbia and is greeting middle-age as a successful doctor with a content life so how is it that things can all of a sudden go so wrong? Little by little Pete disregards the very things that have made him who he is all in order to prevent his son from forming a relationship with Laura. He lies, he threatens, he disregards his work and so on. You see his fall from grace coming and you want to shout a warning but there’s nothing to do but keep on reading.
I was so impressed with how the flashbacks were handled because they seemed to be woven so seamlessly within the current storyline and there was never a moment where a reader could feel disoriented with what was happening. It actually really made it feel as if we were simply having a conversation and Pete was telling us how events happened.
The ending also worked very well for me because the entire time I felt undercurrents of some other passions at play and I was certain I knew how events were going to pan out but it didn’t go in the direction I expected it and I liked that a lot. I know I’m being cryptic but I don’t want to spoil this. This is an outstanding family drama to put on your reading list.
Source: Advance Review Copy