Friend of the Family
- Narrated by: Rick Adamson
- Length: 9 hrs and 12 mins
- Unabridged Audiobook
- Release date: 11-10-09
- Language: English
- Publisher: HighBridge, a division of Recorded Books
Regular price: $20.27
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When the Sterns' oldest daughter, Laura, commits a horrific and ineffable act, the Dizinoffs stand by their side, despite Pete's disgust and judgement. Laura, 17 at the time, escapes incarceration, but is sent away for psychiatric help. Now she's 30 years old, and has returned to New Jersey. Pete watches in horror as she and Alec, now 20, begin to date. Alec is not living up to his father's plans for him: he's dropped out of college, living at home, and spending his free time with a woman his father considers to be a criminal and a murderer.
Among narrator Rick Adamson's talents is creating extremely distinct voices for each of the characters, whose long exchanges sound genuinely like conversations between different people. His portrayal of these characters so appropriately reflects Grodstein's depiction of them that it's impossible not to get sucked into the story. He transitions smoothly from Pete's stern voice to Elaine's delicacy, and again from Alec's bratty adolescence to Laura's coolness. His ability to speak in Pete's voice is especially convincing, adding to the complexity the listener feels towards the protagonist, who despite making mistakes never seems unrational. Adamson puts us in Pete's psyche so effectively that even his worse flaws are subverted in his sense of logic and morality, so that he is never rendered unsympathetic. Pete's life is not everything he wanted it to be, but given the sacrifices he's made for his family, why can't Alec be the son his father wants him to be? Erin Ikeler
Customer ReviewsMost Helpful
By Susan on 11-24-09
I enjoyed A Friend of the Family although I did not care much for the main character. But the setting and circumstances are fairly interesting. I thought it was a good novel that kept me wanting to listen.
3 of 3 people found this review helpful
By Victoria on 01-21-10
boring and sad.
This book was well written, but it was a lot of effort for little reward. The hyper-controlling father was a little much to take, especially as there was no background given to indicate what could have made him such a freak. His own father dies, but that's it. He just dies. No relationship explored that might give the reader an indication of why he's such a bad father (because ultimately, this is a father-bashing book).
The infanticide seemed like it was going to be explored, but it wasn't really. Discussed much amongst the characters as a great scandal, or a great mystery, but not really explored. Why does Laura kill her baby? We never find out why. Because she was 17? What made her so screwed up when the rest of her siblings turned out so 'normal'? Because she was daddy's favourite? Was there abuse? Is this why she started having sex with random strangers in an alley behind the library every weekend? The causes of her bizarre behaviour are never speculated upon, although the protagonist certainly seems obsessed with her.
It is all a baffling mystery that the author does not suffiently resolve at all.
The book and the characters just left me cold.
2 of 3 people found this review helpful