Party boy from L.A. who never had to grow up spends a long hot summer drying out in the Hamptons—in a dishy debut that feels like a roman à clef.
Stylish, aging garmentos Irma and Sam Raider, formerly of Brooklyn, now billionaires in La-La Land, threaten to cut off their 38-year-old life-of-the-party son, Harry, recently saved from a cocaine-induced coma in a Beverly Hills hospital, if he doesn’t straighten up. Before Harry even arrives to visit in East Hampton with nebbishy Wall Street trader Freddy Ackerman (son of Sam’s former partner) and his down-to-earth artist wife Jessica, matrimonial traps have been set by Harry’s former high-school friend, Chas Greer, a onetime male model who has transformed himself into the ultra-suave personal shopper and confidante to desperate Manhattan ladies. Chas’s clients need husbands. Fat, lovelorn rich girl Penny Marks wants to be as sought after as her druggie, glamorously anorexic sister Bunny, but she hasn’t got the discipline. Horsy old-guard Waspy Milly Harrington, who actually had to go to work at a Wall Street firm to maintain her family’s fortune, wants a Jewish husband to replace the love of her life, who jilted her for marriage to a nice Jewish girl and numerous offspring. Chas, moreover, is tired of scraping by and plans to extract a cool million for his matchmaking efforts so he and boyfriend Juan can live in style. Thus, the pins are in place, poised to be knocked down one by one by the childish exuberance of Harry, who’s not as stinky as the other rotten eggs around him. Goodman-Davies knows her turf; she sounds all the petty outrages and vulnerabilities of the very rich and very unhappy. Making heavy use of excessive plotting and vulgar, over-the-top party scenes at the close, she manages to match Harry with the one character the reader hadn’t thought of.
Insipid summer fare for the very bored.