THE SOCIAL CLIMBER'S HANDBOOK by Molly Jong-Fast

THE SOCIAL CLIMBER'S HANDBOOK

KIRKUS REVIEW

Young Manhattan matron comes up with a unique solution to emerging threats to her family’s future.

There is something just a bit off about Daisy Greenbaum. In spite of her incredible wealth, good looks and bright twin daughters, she does not quite fit in among skeletal lady-lunchers in her Upper East Side social scene. While she manages for the most part to mask her inner rage, filling her dull days with charity projects, the burgeoning 2008 financial crisis finally offers her long-dormant inner sociopath a chance to run free. Her husband Dick is a Wall Street math whiz who has figured out how to make a killing in credit default swaps. But Dick, although deeply flawed, is beginning to fret over the long-term financial and ethical implications of his work for The Bank (think Goldman Sachs). He can see the end coming and wants to go to the authorities. But when he reaches out to his boss John, a preppy tool who has none of Dick’s scruples, John threatens to ruin him for even thinking of exposing them. Enter Daisy, who, unbeknownst to Dick, drugs and murders John while making it look like a suicide. So Dick gets promoted. Daisy is then vexed to discover that Dick’s former mistress, the Lady Petra Kingly, is once again sniffing around her husband. Trophy wife to a much-older man who is about to get caught running an elaborate Ponzi scheme, Lady Petra sees Dick as her only chance at a lucrative future. Dick, while no longer interested in Petra, fears that she will reveal his secrets. Daisy once again takes matters in hand, just as Dick starts to realize, with an appropriate amount of gratitude, what she is up to. Meanwhile, an ambitious young blogger, Candy Ross Rose, sees a career-making opportunity in taking down The Bank. She fixates on seducing none other than Dick Greenbaum. Big mistake. Jong-Fast’s edgy follow-up to Normal Girl (2000) seems meant to be a broad social satire about the über-wealthy, but it’s held back by the underwritten Daisy, whose murderous impulses are the most interesting thing about her.

Darkly comic take on the “greed is good” shenanigans that led up to the recent financial apocalypse.

Pub Date: April 26th, 2011
ISBN: 978-0-345-50189-9
Page count: 240pp
Publisher: Villard
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1st, 2011




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