This smoothly written coming-of-age debut by former GQ editor Parish is filled with dynamic but flawed young characters. Acquiring a fat bank account and pursuing hedonistic excess are 18-year-old Tom Alison’s main goals in life. He is a graduating high school senior, but his arrest for smalltime dope dealing spurs Columbia University to yank its admission offer. Tom helps his spunky single mother, Diane, run her Princeton, N.J., catering service while waiting to attend St. Andrews University in Scotland and befriends schoolmate Clare Savage, the son of a financier fleeing prosecution for insider trading. Clare decides to follow Tom to St. Andrews, where they have a mutual friend studying fashion design, but before leaving, the two take a side trip to Long Beach Island to visit Tom’s best friend, another drug dealer. Once enrolled at St. Andrews as an economics major, Tom, true to form, takes up a hard-partying lifestyle fueled by cocaine binges. When Clare’s father, Michael, shows up, Tom sees his big chance to make a connection with the disgraced but still-powerful figure. Readers may not find these characters either sympathetic or particularly interesting, but Parish shows promise as a storyteller, moving the plot along at a good clip. (June)
Reviewed on: 03/31/2014 Release date: 05/29/2014 Genre: Fiction
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