Class by Lucinda Rosenfeld

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The story is uncomfortable and excellently handled by Rosenfeld (I’m So Happy for You); it invites questions about faithfulness and philanthropy, one’s obligation to those less fortunate, and what it means to be middle-class in an unequal society.
-Publishers Weekly

Synopsis

A satirical novel about a mother whose life spirals out of control when she's forced to rethink her bleeding heart liberal ideals

For idealistic forty-something Karen Kipple, it isn't enough that she works full-time in the non-profit sector, aiding an organization that helps hungry children from disadvantaged homes. She's also determined to live her personal life in accordance with her ideals. This means sending her daughter, Ruby, to an integrated public school in their Brooklyn neighborhood.

But when a troubled student from a nearby housing project begins bullying children in Ruby's class, the distant social and economic issues Karen has always claimed to care about so passionately feel uncomfortably close to home. As the situation at school escalates, Karen can't help but wonder whether her do-gooder husband takes himself and his causes more seriously than her work and Ruby's wellbeing.

A daring, discussable satire about gentrification and liberal hypocrisy, and a candid take on rich and poor, white and black, CLASS is also a smartly written story that reveals how life as we live it--not as we like to imagine it--often unfolds in gray areas.
 

About Lucinda Rosenfeld

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Lucinda Rosenfeld is the author of the novels What She Saw..., Why She Went Home, and I'm So Happy For You. Her fiction and essays have appeared in the New York Times Magazine, The New Yorker, Creative Non-Fiction, Slate.com, Glamour, and other magazines. She lives in Brooklyn, New York, with her husband and two young daughters.
 
Published January 10, 2017 by Little, Brown and Company. 352 pages
Genres: Literature & Fiction, Humor & Entertainment. Fiction
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Critic reviews for Class
All: 4 | Positive: 2 | Negative: 2

Kirkus

Good
on Oct 05 2016

From its James Baldwin epigraph...to the final pages, in which Karen decides not to inquire about the fate of young Jayyden to avoid appearing “like one of those well-meaning, college-educated white liberals who fetishize the deprivations of the underclass,” this book takes dead aim and doesn’t miss.

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Publishers Weekly

Good
on Jun 23 2017

The story is uncomfortable and excellently handled by Rosenfeld (I’m So Happy for You); it invites questions about faithfulness and philanthropy, one’s obligation to those less fortunate, and what it means to be middle-class in an unequal society.

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NY Times

Below average
Reviewed by Sloane Crosley on Jan 20 2017

For satire to run as it should, the reader needs specificity of detail and the sure presence of the author behind the curtain, in full control of the seemingly chaotic experiment. Both are missing here, and as a result Karen feels more one-dimensional than the subjects of her scrutiny.

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NY Times

Below average
Reviewed by Sarah Lyall on Jan 16 2017

...a series of skillfully executed set pieces...it can be exhausting to be always inside Karen’s brain, with its ricocheting emotions and kamikaze self-analysis. The unexamined life is surely not worth living, but the overexamined life — that’s a different kind of hell.

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