Sometimes the wrong decisions can be made for the right reasons ...Peter and Elaine Dizinoff have been friends with Joe and Iris Stern since medical school. Living the perfect life in a wealthy New Jersey neighbourhood, their children have grown up together and their lives are irrevocably intertwined. Until the Sterns are faced with a nightmare they could never have imagined - one that shatters the suburban idyll and forces both families to question everything they have ever believed in. In time, the fragments of their fractured existence knit together once more, but the echo of their heartbreak still lies below the surface. And just when the Sterns have a chance to come to terms with their tragedy, Peter makes a fatal error of judgement that sends shock waves through all their lives, testing their friendship to the very limits and threatening to destroy it for ever.
Amazon Best Books of the Month, November 2009: In A Friend of the Family, Lauren Grodstein, author of the breakout debut novel, Reproduction Is the Flaw of Love, goes to even greater literary heights with a contemporary suburban drama brewing with an undercurrent of violence that, with each turn of the page, takes on the weight of an American tragedy. As the book opens, Peter Dizinoff, a successful New Jersey doctor, is struggling to adjust to the aftermath of his actions as the foundation of his personal and professional life crack beneath his feet. At the center of his troubles is his beloved son Alec, who deflates his father's high expectations when he drops out of college after just three semesters and moves into the apartment above their garage. And when his son begins seeing Laura, the troubled daughter of Peter's best friend who is ten years older than Alec and lives in the tainted shadow of being acquitted for an unspeakable crime when she was 17, Alec's ambivalence to his father's hopes in living a good life turn into a simmering rage. Dizinoff, a man with a clear definition of right and wrong, flips back and forth in time as he narrates the history of events that build their way to a layered, emotionally wrenching climax. --Brad Thomas Parsons