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Body count climbs in black comedy

April 27, 2011
By Amy Phelps, letters@graffitiwv.com
The world of Upper East Side wealth is examined in a twisted, black comedy that calls to mind “American Psycho” in “The Social Climber’s Handbook” by Molly Jong-Fast.

It is 2008 and the world that Daisy Greenbaum knows is about to collapse. Her husband, Dick, knows that things aren’t going well at the Bank and that the economy is going to collapse thanks to subprime loans and disappearing and reappearing debt. Daisy continues to raise their twins Avery and Easton in their world of privilege, fights the other yummy mummies over invitations to the best children’s parties and getting her children the best therapist and watching as her husband worries and has affairs right under her nose. When it begins to look like Dick may lose his job because of what he knows, Daisy knows she can’t let that happen or the world she and her girls are accustomed to will disappear. But what no one realizes is what Daisy is capable of. Not just an affair with her husband’s boss, she’s capable of murder. And she’s done it before. Dick’s boss “commits suicide” and Dick gets a promotion. But from out of the woodwork comes one of Dick’s former mistresses, Petra, whose marriage to a much older English Lord has produced a title, a Ponzi scheme and nothing else. Petra wants Dick back for financial reasons.

When she comes to him with blackmail and he turns her down, she goes to Daisy threatening to ruin her. And that’s something you don’t do to Daisy if you want to live.

Daisy eventually confesses her deadly secret to her husband, though he doesn’t believe it at first, and the two seem to be getting along. Or it could be that Dick is completely terrified of her. But not so terrified to not end up having another affair, this time with a wanna-be blogger, whose boyfriend is investigating the Ponzi scheme and wants to prove her worth. And her disappearance will not go unnoticed.

Meanwhile, the sister of Daisy’s first murder victim suspects and is trying to get anyone to listen. As the economy collapses, is Daisy’s time in the Upper East Side up?

This is a dark, tongue-in-cheek book about upper class high society ladies of New York, their philandering husbands, their spoiled children, their over-priced houses and their determination to get there and stay there, no matter what they have to do. Despite the fact that Daisy is a murderess, her sheer determination comes off as likable and you want her to stay in her world of wealth, or at least bump off the competition along the way. What “American Psycho” did for ‘80s Wall Street, “Social Climber’s Handbook” does for late ‘08 Upper East Side. If Hollywood doesn’t already have this one in production, they should be.
 
 

 

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