Saturday, February 27, 2016

elements of style

This is not the Strunk & White version, but the title is inspired by a copy of that book. Elements of Style is a story of the upper echelons of New York socialite society, and what its like to live on the outskirts of that group looking in. One gets the feeling pretty quickly that Wendy Wasserstein knows a little about which she speaks, and if I'm not mistaken has written herself into the story. Her avatar is Frankie Weissman, a nice, well mannered and caring pediatrician who is well know enough to be sought after by the social queen bees, and she takes care of their children.

Frankie's eye is the lens through which we view this twisted group of men and women, but it seems pretty clear that the majority of the movers and shakers are the women, and Frankie has access to their private discussions and plots. And its seems like plots is the right word, for some in any event.

Some have clear sights on moving up the social ladder, and seem prepared to do whatever is necessary to elevate themselves, even at the expense of others. I suppose we already knew that, but its hard to read about it in some ways. As amusing as this book is, and it is funny, its also a little depressing. I guess I'd call it a dark comedy.

Frankie's small group of acquaintances is a loosely knit bunch that all seem to know each other business, but often not directly from one another, but rather through the grapevine of gossip and rumor. There are those that thrive on the rumor mill, and propagate its growth, presumably so that they can feed from it at a later date, and there are others that don't seem to care, and are merely hung out on it occasionally. I've never watched 'Sex in the City,' but from the endless ads and pop culture surrounding it, I think we all know enough about it that I can compare this to that series, with the only caveat that this story doesn't seem as exclusively focused on the women as 'Sex in the City' seems like it is; rather a group of men and women, perhaps 10 years older, with tween age children.

An interesting read, copyrighted in 2006, but is set in New York in the year or so after 9/11. Wendy Wasserstein was an award winning playwright of plays such as The Heidi Chronicles and The Sisters Rosensweig. She died in 2006 of leukemia.

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