The Pomeroys seem like the perfect family. Roger has a job in education and has recently decided to get his doctorate. His wife, Georgia, takes care of the family and the finances. Son Vinny has just graduated from Yale, daughter Helen is about to get married, and youngest daughter Patsy has her whole life ahead of her. But behind the carefully constructed image there are some major structural cracks. Roger is in over his head with his thesis; Georgia is swimming in debt and has started committing identity theft against her own children (Helen's wedding is one of the major financial stresses). Vinny was excommunicated from the family's church for attending a non-Sabbath Day Adventist university, and Patsy, after a misunderstanding, has been sent across the country to live with her grandmother. The entire family is sinking, and it won't be long before the hole that they are in threatens to swallow them up entirely.
I had only read Gabrielle Zevin's young adult fiction before, but I really loved what she did with this book. The characters were infuriating and so vulnerable - I just wanted to knock some sense into them, but I knew it wouldn't make any difference. The book spans a number of years - Roger and Georgia grow older, their children have children, things change in the world. I found this to be compulsively readable. The parts about the political environment of the future really scared me, as did most of the financial sections. It's definitely fiction, but at some times it might be easy to think of it as non-fiction, too.
Find it at IndieBound.
Read it with:
American Wife by Curtis Sittenfeld
The Corrections by Jonathan Franzen
Margrettown by Gabrielle Zevin
Start Over, Finish Rich by David Bach