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Book Review: The Privileges, by Jonathan Dee

Our crit's stance on the new novel from Jonathan Dee


The Privileges, by Jonathan Dee

The Privileges, Jonathan Dee’s newest novel, comes with a pedigree of blurbs that any New York Times Book Review reader would drool over. Unfortunately, the cover and title have inspired more than one co-worker to casually ask about the newest teen chick-lit book I’m reading—it looks like a Gossip Girl wannabe and is so misguided that I would have played cruel pranks on the designer if it had been my blood, sweat and tears on the pages. But we’re here to talk about that very thing, aren’t we? So, The Privileges is a very good book. It’s about golden couple Adam and Cynthia Morey, pretty things who married young. Adam goes into stocks and Cynthia becomes a stay-at-home mom. He’s intent on accumulating Fifth Avenue wealth and she’s unfulfilled. The kids are kids: troublesome, adorable, annoying, worth it. The story follows the family as they navigate getting very wealthy and the problems that come with it. But the real prize of the book is, although Dee maintains a tight-wire suspense (Will one of them have an affair? Will the kids have drug problems? Is there insider trading going on?), he never throws the characters to the wolves. They struggle, just like us regular folk, and they come through it in the end, just like us, too.

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