* The Good Life by Marian Thurm

 

If you were to find a loaded gun in the glove compartment of a rental car and your husband, who has had serious depressive episodes in the past and is currently going through tremendous financial difficulties, told you that the previous renter must have forgotten it and that he will be sure to tell the counter agents about it upon return, would you simply close the glove compartment? Of course not, but the nitwit wife in The Good Life does (with horrible results, needless to say). This is not the only irrational part of the story: said husband, a developer of shopping malls, appears not to have set up a legal structure that separates his business assets from his personal assets, hence his business difficulties force him to uproot his family as well as sell his car. He moans more about the latter than the former, even as his sister lays dying in a hospital. What a wonderful guy! Not that the nitwit is much better. She delays getting a job despite the dire financial circumstances, choosing instead to bemoan the fact that her children will no longer have access to Hungarian lessons in the (gasp!) public schools they will now be forced to attend. She feels demeaned by having to do the laundry in a shared laundry room, alongside (horror!) housekeepers. I suppose the attraction of the book is a voyeuristic look into the world of rich New Yorkers. But surely you will find better books to read this summer.

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