FAMILY VALUES by Lawrence David


Email this review


 Upscale family life in suburban America, seen through the eyes of each reluctant participant, provides the focus for a well- written but uninspired debut novel. Dean Wallace is a rising corporate exec in the info-tech industry around Boston when the story begins in 1970, with the family moving to new digs in refined Concord, a bigger house to befit their station in life. Beautiful wife Sandy, her friendless mother Lilly, and the five kids all have plenty of room, but as years pass they seem able only to get in each other's way. Dutiful eldest son Kyle and next-in-line Blane, the intellectual, are no match for raging number-three son Tom, whose foul mouth and fits of uncontrolled violence spare no one, giving rise to years of family terror and casting a long shadow over the youngsters Hal and Tina. Presiding ineffectually over this seething matrix of wills are breadwinner Dean, whose shining moment of domestic success comes when he stalks and shoots a hapless crow trapped in the house, and homemaker Sandy, too numbed by feelings of inadequacy and by ambivalence toward her mother to notice, much less control, the chaos surrounding her. Lilly eventually goes into a nursing home, where she rapidly deteriorates; Kyle becomes an investment banker; and Tom mellows into an adult underachiever, while sensitive Blane flies the coop into academia and is never heard from again. Caustic views--if somewhat clichÇd--of privileged Americans at home, but ultimately the banality of their existence finds only an echo where one might expect to find a plot.

Pub Date: July 5th, 1993
ISBN: 0-671-73215-3
Page count: 256pp
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1st, 1993


AdultBEETLE BOY by Lawrence David
by Lawrence David
FictionNEED by Lawrence David
by Lawrence David