Troy Patterson
February 14, 2003 AT 05:00 AM EST

The Hazards of Good Breeding

type
Book
Current Status
In Season
author
Jessica Shattuck
genre
Fiction
We gave it a B+

Do we really need another novel about disgraced WASP-hood — one more record of crack-ups at the country club? When the book is as wised up and witty as Shattuck’s debut, then sure we do. After graduating from Harvard, Caroline is lingering at home ”in the greater, preppier Boston area,” where her divorced father reserves his energy for building dioramas, her brother has developed into an uncommonly skeptical 10-year-old, and her friend Rock Coughlin Jr. has been at loose ends since getting laid off by the organic farm. Though Shattuck makes too much of Caroline’s liaison with a filmmaker documenting her social circle, her lively analysis of blue-blazered blues and Tupperwared dinners helps her stake out a corner of Cheever country to call her own.

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