Book Corner 2020.34


Friends and Strangers by J. Courtney Sullivan

Elisabeth is purported to be a former NYT journalist and published author of two books. Yet what we see is a foolish (gives away a HUGE sum of money to an obviously worthless sister), grossly immature woman (maybe I can just tell my husband [no spoiler] instead of the truth about how [no spoiler]). I really didn’t buy her as a successful adult in any realm.

The babysitter she hires, Sam, for her new baby, is a wide-eyed college senior in awe of everything and willing to see the best in everyone. She’s bowled over by the ‘peaceful vibe’ of Sam’s expensive home and lifestyle. She’s also got hero worship for the president of her college, and she’s buddies with all the Hispanic ladies she formerly worked with in the school cafeteria. Finally, she’s also engaged to and in love with a much older guy in London, Clive, with whom she’s had a whirlwind long-distance relationship.

I didn’t understand Clive or Sam’s enamorment with him. I guess the sex was really hot, though we are thankfully spared most details; and she’s young, so that’s probably all lit takes, but we never really see the appeal. The one thing Elisabeth ever gets right is her first impression of Clive: icky and wrong for Sam.

The plot of the book is our slow discovery of how low Elisabeth really will sink in her selfishness; how long it will take Sam to realize her idols are false; and what will happen with Clive. In the end I was disappointed that it wasn’t more interesting.  )

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