Elinor Lipman

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My Latest Grievance

  • 2006 (Hardcover), 2007 (Paperback)
  • Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, Mariner
Formats
  • Hardcover, Paperback, Kindle, iBook, Audio

Born and raised in a college dorm and chafing under the care of "the most annoyingly evenhanded parental team in the history of civilization," Frederica Hatch is starting to feel that her life is stiflingly snug.

But then, into this cozy but claustrophobic world, comes Laura Lee French, a wannabe Rockette and the new dorm mother at the lackluster women's college where Frederica's parents teach and agitate. Further disturbing the peace is the fact that Miss French—in the distant past—had been married to Frederica's earnest and unglamorous father. Fearing scandal and campus glee, the three Hatches and Laura Lee attempt to keep their secret.

Reviews and praise

"Elinor Lipman is a far more serious novelist than she pretends to be or is allowed to be by reviewers....Up there at the top is where this enchanting, infinitely witty yet serious, exceptionally intelligent, wholly original and Austen-like stylist belongs... " Fay Weldon, for Washington Post Bookworld [Read the full review]

"Lovable and psychologically astute...As Lipman's bittersweet farce unfolds, she uncovers a family romance of an usual kind...the dance separating parent, child and fascinating interloper." New York Times Book Review

"If Elinor Lipman were less smart (in the American sense), and if there were any justice in the world of books, her novels would be storming the bestseller lists. They are quirkily romantic, funny, beautifully plotted and written with the sort of painstaking craft that seems effortless....superb...an unalloyed delight." Sunday Times (London)

"[D]elightful.... Lipman's dialogue is consistently mirthful, her entire book filled with witty, quotable bons mots.... but with carefully timed reminders of her characters' painful reality, [Lipman] turns her comedy of manners into something a good deal more moving....[H]er marvelously funny stories take place in a world recognizably our own." The Boston Globe [Read the full review]

"Terrific...Lipman's wit and style are all her own. She is one of the best comic writers around, and the Hatch family is her most memorable creation yet." Sunday Telegraph (London)

"Somebody hand Elinor Lipman an award already. The Massachusetts writer consistently turns out witty, intelligent novels that seem to suffer from Barbara Pym syndrome: They're just so smoothly done, readers tend to undervalue them....Lipman unleashes the satire without ever losing her generosity toward her characters or her sense of comic timing." The Christian Science Monitor

"The snap and crackle of Lipman's dialogue sets a thrilling pace....Letting Lipman run with a character as precocious as Frederica is like handing Tiger a bucket of golf balls. They'll move in ways you never thought possible." Daily Hampshire Gazette

"No one balances seriousness and hilarity better than Elinor Lipman.... Add My Latest Grievance to the list of her excellent works: It's a heartfelt story filled with people you'll be thinking about long after you turn the last page. Frederica is the sort of refreshingly articulate young adult seldom found among the sullen, navel-gazing teens populating modern fiction. ... My Latest Grievance is joyfully witty; this is not-to-be-missed reading that'll leave you wishing you could enroll at Dewing College, if only to meet the Hatches." Bookpage

"Harkening back to her The Inn at Lake Devine (1998) days, Lipman—known for her wit, sharp societal observations, and lovely command of language—has created a novel of warmth, wisdom, love, and redemption that is funny and fun to read. Frederica Hatch narrates, and if Eloise, of Plaza Hotel fame, were older,kinder, and more outwardly directed, Frederica would be her soul mate. Lipman skillfully matches the cadence of Frederica's growing up with the developments of the story to create moments to cherish and characters to adore." Booklist

"In the late 1970s, Frederica Hatch is the enchantingly outspoken daughter of brilliant college professors at a minor all-girls college in Massachusetts. ...Lipman creates that rare blend of no-nonsense compassion and believable, offbeat innocence that is completely irresistible. ...Highly recommended." Beth E. Anderson, Ann Arbor District Library, for Library Journal (Starred Review)

"Frederica Hatch—the articulate, curious, and naïve narrator of Lipman's eighth novel—proves the perfect vehicle for this satiric yet compassionate family portrait. As in previous novels, Lipman addresses sensitive issues (anti-Semitism, adultery, dementia) with delicacy and acerbity. She also nails the shifts and moods of an angry teenager, a grandmother in denial, a philanderer in hiding and a campus in shock. By the end, a smart young girl learns compassion for a world that can be grotesquely, hilariously, disturbingly unfair." Publishers' Weekly