A Friend of the Family by Lauren Grodstein
Algonquin Paperbacks - General Fiction
315 pages, including a note from the author and discussion questions
For a switch, I'm going to tell you a little about a book I received unsolicited from Algonquin Books and why I'm not going to read it.
A Friend of the Family tells the story of a successful doctor's fall from grace. A neighbor's daughter is involved, somehow and the book describes his struggle to regain his family and reputation, evntually revealing how he managed to screw up his life. The story is billed as a suspenseful tale, "superb storytelling", "powerful", "hard to put down". There are plenty of positive adjectives in the form of quotes from various publications on the back of the book.
So, why am I not going to read the book? There are two reasons. I read about the book when Algonquin sent me a catalog, earlier this year, and it did appeal to me, at first. I like the idea, the fact that it's supposedly very suspenseful and written with skill. But, not long after the book was released, I read a few reviews that actually gave away a crucial bit of plot and at least one trusted friend described it in particularly negative terms. Both occurred months before an Algonquin publicist sent me a copy of the book.
When A Friend of the Family arrived on my doorstep, I had a vague feeling that it was a book I'd written off, but I couldn't remember why. And, guess what? I went to look at a review or two and found the same spoilery mess, all over again. I'm as guilty as the next gal when it comes to occasionally spilling the beans, although I try not to publish spoilers and I post warnings if I know I've written something that may potentially spoil the reading for others. But, wow. Lots of spoilers out there and they totally, completely ruined the book for me. I knew I wouldn't be able to get through 300 pages knowing what I knew. So, I'm not going to read the book.
If you're interested in A Friend of the Family, I highly recommend that you avoid reading the reviews -- instead, either read the cover blurb or flip through the book to see if the style grabs you.
And a quote before I part with my copy of a totally different book:
In the ensuing silence, I have time to contemplate the word cute--how dismissive it is, how it's the equivalent of calling someone little, how it makes a person into a baby, how the word is a neon sign burning through the dark reading, "Feel Bad About Yourself."
--from Will Grayson, Will Grayson by John Green & David Levithan
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