Email this review


Hollywood brat goes to boarding school, in a sequel to Fleur de Leigh’s Life of Crime (1999).

Arizona’s salubrious climate is one point in favor of going to school at Rancho Cambridge West. The place is cheap enough, 15-year-old Fleur de Leigh knows, but then her wildly pretentious and famously untalented parents, Charmian and Maurice, can’t afford anything better. And so off she goes, feeling a tad too snazzy in a long purple dress trimmed with shearling (one of her fashionable mother’s more eccentric castoffs), carrying a matching ostrich-skin purse. She’s almost happy to find out that Rancho Cambridge West is filled with misfits just like her, many suffering from interesting if revolting ailments like leprosy, galloping heebie-jeebies, and unintentional pregnancy. Even the flawlessly chiseled face of 17-year-old Brian, the school sex god, is marred by telltale flakes of psoriasis. Oh, well. Fleur’s childhood friend Daisy is there, too, thanks to Charmian, who wangled a two-for-one rate for the girls. Daisy has changed her name to Twyla Flint and swears Fleur to secrecy as she tells the intriguing story of the pot of gold she’s to inherit on her 18th birthday—that is, if the nice man at the Swiss Banque lets her at the trust fund. Ever a troublemaker, Twyla tells other scurrilous tales, loosely based on the Protocols of the Elders of Zion, about Jews controlling the world’s money supply. When Melly, the after-hours maker of delicious matzo brei, is ostracized and hurt, Fleur suddenly remembers her Hebraic forebears (not that Maurice and Charmian are exactly observant Jews) and rallies to Melly’s defense. Lines are drawn and sides chosen, and Rancho Cambridge West struggles with the ugly issue of anti-Semitism. Will Twyla get her money? Fleur her man? (Happily, the psoriasis hasn’t gotten as far as Brian’s perfect bottom.)

A female Holden Caulfield in a hell-away-from-hell. Sometimes funny, relentlessly arch.

Pub Date: April 1st, 2003
ISBN: 0-7432-2608-9
Page count: 320pp
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15th, 2003