The Hazards of Good Breeding by Jessica Shattuck
A Novel

No critic rating

Waiting for minimum critic reviews

See 3 Critic Reviews



"Reading Jessica Shattuck's pitch perfect first novel is like spying on the children and grandchildren of John Cheever's Wapshots."—Los Angeles Times

This "richly appointed and generously portrayed" (Kirkus Reviews) debut novel tells the story of a WASPy, old-Boston family coming face to face with an America much larger than the one it was born in. Told from five perspectives, the novel spans an explosive week in the life of the Dunlaps, culminating in a series of events that will change their way of life forever.

Caroline Dunlap has written off the insular world of the Boston deb parties, golf club luaus, and WASP weddings that she grew up with. But when she reluctantly returns home after her college graduation, she finds that not everything is quite as predictable, or protected, as she had imagined. Her father, the eccentric, puritanical Jack Dunlap, is carrying on stoically after the breakup of his marriage, but he can't stop thinking of Rosita, the family housekeeper he fired almost six months ago. Caroline's little brother, Eliot, is working on a giant papier-mâché diorama of their town-or is he hatching a plan of larger proportions?

As the real reason for Rosita's departure is revealed, the novel culminates in a series of events that assault the fragile, sheltered, and arguably obsolete world of the Dunlaps.

Opening a window into a family's repressed desires and fears, The Hazards of Good Breeding is a startlingly perceptive comedy of manners that heralds a new writer of dazzling talent.

About Jessica Shattuck

See more books from this Author
Jessica Shattuck is the author of The Hazards of Good Breeding (a New York Times Notable Book and a Winship/PEN Award finalist) and Perfect Life. Her writing has appeared in The New Yorker, The Believer, Wired, Mother Jones, and Glamour, among other publications. She lives in Cambridge, Massachusetts.
Published April 17, 2004 by W. W. Norton & Company. 304 pages
Genres: Romance, Literature & Fiction. Fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for The Hazards of Good Breeding

Kirkus Reviews

See more reviews from this publication

Caroline's mother Faith—a nervous, pretty, and sheltered divorcée—spends the novel at a girlhood friend’s home on Pea Island, afraid of facing her young, unsupervised son, and in the company of a terrifying Frenchman who encourages her to go skinny-dipping.

Feb 01 2003 | Read Full Review of The Hazards of Good Breeding:...

Publishers Weekly

See more reviews from this publication

It is Rosita, a symbol of strength and resilience amid the flaky denizens of her adopted country, who becomes the center around which the anxieties and obsessions of the principals revolve, and she is perhaps too easy a symbol.

| Read Full Review of The Hazards of Good Breeding:...

Entertainment Weekly

After graduating from Harvard, Caroline is lingering at home ''in the greater, preppier Boston area,'' where her divorced father reserves his energy for building dioramas, her brother has developed into an uncommonly skeptical 10-year-old, and her friend Rock Coughlin Jr.

Feb 14 2003 | Read Full Review of The Hazards of Good Breeding:...

Reader Rating for The Hazards of Good Breeding

An aggregated and normalized score based on 24 user ratings from iDreamBooks & iTunes

Rate this book!

Add Review