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Extended Audio Sample A Friend of the Family, by Lauren Grodstein Click for printable size audiobook cover
3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 3.00 (2,414 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Lauren Grodstein Narrator: Rick Adamson Publisher: Highbridge Audio Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date:
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Pete Dizinoff has spent years working toward a life that would be, by all measures, deemed successful. A skilled internist, he’s built a thriving practice in suburban New Jersey. He has a devoted wife, a network of close friends, and an impressive house, and most important, he has a son, Alec, on whom he’s pinned all his hopes. Pete has afforded Alec every opportunity, bailed him out of close calls with the law, and even ensured his acceptance into a good college.

But Pete never counted on the wild card: Laura, his best friend’s daughter—ten years older than Alec, irresistibly beautiful, with a past so shocking that it’s never spoken of. When Laura sets her sights on Alec, Pete sees his plans for his son not just unraveling but being destroyed completely. Believing he has only the best of intentions, he sets out to derail this romance and rescue his son. He could never have foreseen how his whole world would shatter in the process.

Lauren Grodstein delivers a riveting story in the tradition of The Ice Storm,American Beauty, and Little Children, charting a father’s fall from grace as he struggles to save his family, his reputation, and himself.

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Quotes & Awards

  • “Gripping…[Grodstein] has succeeded in shattering the image of suburban happiness.”

    Chicago Tribune

  • “Horrifyingly plausible and deeply poignant, A Friend of the Family will leave you shaken and chastened—and grateful for the warning.”

    Washington Post Book World

  • “Involving at every level: character, plot, language. one of the more complicated portraits of a father’s love for his son we’ve ever read…Highly recommended.”


  • “Grodstein’s harsh, honest prose makes this haunting tale worthwhile.”


  • “An astute dissector of male aspiration, Grodstein brings great insight into a father’s protective urge for his son in this gripping portrait of an American family in crisis.”

    Publishers Weekly (starred review)

  • “With keen responsiveness to the emotional undercurrents and incremental deepening of stress, Adamson potently communicates the power and intensity of the characters’ conflicts and their implacable decisions. His interpretation of Laura’s crime is particularly moving and compassionate. Adamson is keenly sensitive to the roller-coaster elements of the plot, vigorously capturing a sense of impending doom.”

    Booklist (starred review)

  • “Stunning…She has written a novel that will leave her readers sitting up, sifting the evidence in the dead of night.”

    Boston Globe

  • “Spot-on in its depiction of affection and jealousy among longtime friends; boozy suburban bashes; unrequited love; and adjusting to middle age…A Friend of the Family beautifully captures the ever-striving angst of parents who will take any step to ensure their children’s lives are easier or better. Parents sweating through a teen’s college applications would do well to spend some time with Dr. Pete.”

    USA Today

  • “Unfolds with suspense worthy of Hitchcock…[Grodstein] is a terrific storyteller.”

    New York Times Book Review

  • Selected for the November 2009 Indie Next List
  • A New York Times Bestseller

Listener Opinions

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 by Ellen | 2/16/2014

    " Really enjoyed this book. Typical dysfunctional family story but well done and very entertaining. Illustrated the fine line between encouraging your children and/or controlling them. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 by Emily | 2/11/2014

    " one of those depressing books that makes you wonder why anyone ever gets married and moves to the suburbs. thankfully, real life is not always so bleak! "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 by Adrienne Cregar Jandler | 2/5/2014

    " I thoroughly enjoyed 'A Friend of the Family', my first read by Lauren Grodstein. This gripping story is told from the perspective of Pete Dizinoff, a suburban father, husband and physician, whose life spirals out of control. The interesting thing is that he hasn't made any big or shocking choices, but rather a series of small, ordinary decisions that instead turn horribly wrong. Great book - I'll be reading more of hers! "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 by Sunny Shore | 2/4/2014

    " Great storytelling...a suburban dream gone haywire, about an upstanding New Jersey doctor who goes to great lengths to ensure his son's future. Many baby boomers will relate to Dr. Pete, as their friend and neighbor who brags about the son who is a baseball star or got into MIT...it is all very familiar territory. Perhaps, that's what makes it all the more frightening. With one child, Pete pins all his hopes and dreams onto Alec who cannot live up to his expectations and this college dropout takes up with a friend of the family's daughter, 10 years older than the boy, who has her own serious mental problems. It is too much for baby boomer Peter to bear. This book is a compelling read - one you won't put down till the last page ...a cross between the Bergen county area Harlan Coben thrillers and a Jewish family saga.(They even mention Rockland Bakery!) "

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About the Author
Author Lauren Grodstein

Lauren Grodstein is the author of the collection The Best of Animals and several novels, including Reproduction Is the Flaw of Love, which was both a Breakout Book selection from Amazon.com and a Borders Original Voices pick. She teaches creative writing at Rutgers University.