cover image Pineapple Street

Pineapple Street

Jenny Jackson. Viking/Dorman, $28 (320p) ISBN 978-0-593-49069-3

Jackson’s clever if tepid debut chronicles the struggles of three women born or married into an old-monied New York City family. Cord Stockton, the family’s middle child, marries Sasha, and the couple takes over the family’s Brooklyn Heights house. Sasha, who comes from a middle-class Rhode Island family, is referred to as “the GD” (gold digger) by Cord’s sisters. Darley Stockton, the oldest, gives up her banking career to be a full-time mom. Georgiana, the youngest, is mainly a directionless party girl with a gig at a nonprofit, where she’s sleeping with her married boss. Tensions come to a head as Darley’s and Georgiana’s fortunes shift and Sasha decides to beat it for Rhode Island. Unfortunately, most of the characters aside from Sasha are underdeveloped (Stockton matriarch Tilda delivers predictably cartoonish lines, like “Sasha, would you like to tell us what it was like growing up poor?”), though Jackson shines in her incisive observations about the ravages of contemporary real estate developments (at the former Hotel St. George, “ghosts of the original remained, the green balconies that once overlooked the swimming pool... now home to a series of elliptical machines where old people and college students climbed to nowhere”). Despite the dusty feeling, this has its moments. Agent: Brettne Bloom, Book Group. (Mar.)