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The Social Climber's Handbook: A Novel Paperback

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 247 pages
  • Publisher: Villard (April 26, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0345501896
  • ISBN-13: 978-0345501899
  • Product Dimensions: 8 x 5.3 x 0.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 7.5 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (40 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #744,340 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews Review

Guest Reviewer: Gigi Levangie Grazer
Gigi Levangie Grazer is the author of four novels: Rescue Me (2000), Maneater (2003), The Starter Wife (2006), and Queen Takes King (2010). The Starter Wife was adapted for an Emmy Award-winning USA Network miniseries starring Debra Messing, and later for a television series; Maneater was adapted for a Lifetime miniseries starring Sarah Chalke in May 2009. In addition, Gigi wrote the screenplay for Stepmom, starring Julia Roberts and Susan Sarandon. Gigi's articles have appeared in Vogue, Harper's Bazaar, and Glamour. She lives in L.A. with her two children and three miniature dachshunds.

Molly Jong-Fast writes what she knows, topped with a healthy dose of imagination and a wicked sense of humor. Her first, much praised novel, Normal Girl, published when she was practically a fetus, just twenty-two years old, hit autobiographical notes detailing life as a young New York socialite. Now, our Molly’s all grown up--an Upper East Side mom of three with a financier husband, the perfect raw material to mine for this hilarious satire of life in our brave new economic world--featuring a recessionista-gone-rabid you won’t forget.

It’s the Summer of 2008. The world is on the brink of financial collapse--a disaster for many, but a total meltdown for Upper East Side housewife Daisy Greenbaum. When Daisy learns her husband is privy to dangerous information, she knows it will cost him his powerful position at The Bank, and everything his income provides, from the daily hair blow-outs to their exclusive Park Avenue apartment. Already struggling to keep her family together in the face of Manhattan prep school drama and a persistent mistress nipping at her husband’s well-heeled heels, Daisy can’t let this little economy issue get in her way. To keep her family on top, Daisy will eliminate anything--and, more importantly, anyone--that stands in her way, one body bag at a time. She may even break a nail doing it.

As heads literally start to roll, things gets infinitely more complicated for our Daisy. Molly Jong-Fast unequivocally scores big with this outrageous look at life at the precarious top. Her trademark wit and keen eye shine through, making this twisted tale a hit, and definitely the most fun with recession you’ll ever have.


One of "the month's must reads."--Town & Country

"Required reading."--New York Post

"[A] wickedly satiric serial-killer novel...which somehow calls to mind both Gossip Girl and American Psycho."--Entertainment Weekly

"The pairing of an outsider’s eye with an insider’s zip code has afforded Jong-Fast a certain perspective in her satire. At the same time she’s sending society up, she’s aiming to create characters readers care about."--Women's Wear Daily

"Kudos go to author Molly Jong-Fast for capturing the state of womanhood and married life in its grittiest and for creating believable characters who do things that make people say, you can’t make this stuff up...There is great comedy in this novel. It’s like Conan O’Brien was invited to comment on this funeral for women without options."--Forbes

"Deliciously wicked! Molly Jong-Fast's quick wit and keen eye make her the new queen of comedy. An irresistible read."--Meg Cabot, author of Insatiable and the Princess Diaries series

“Molly Jong-Fast so skillfully conjures an American Psycho for the Bergdorf’s set that it leads one to wonder why more beautiful heads didn’t fall along with the Dow.”—Emma McLaughlin & Nicola Kraus, authors of The Nanny Diaries

"Molly Jong-Fast’s new novel is a razor-sharp, hilarious account of the summer of 2008 seen through the eyes of my favorite serial murderess, Daisy Greenbaum, who’s only trying to keep home, hearth, and her Upper East Side social life intact. I ate up every word."--Gigi Levangie Grazer, author of Queen Takes King 

"As addictive as Valrhona chocolate and every bit as delicious. Molly Jong-Fast's ability to inhabit such a wide range of high and low characters is nothing short of miraculous.  Jong-Fast's prose is hilarious, surprising and very smart. I absolutely loved this book."--Julie Klam, author of You Had Me at Woof

"Molly Jong-Fast's slick, sophisticated romp through the Upper East Side 'haves' is a fast, funny and smart piece of fiction. Read this book!"--Laura Zigman, author of Animal Husbandry

"Snortingly funny, astonishingly observant, The Social Climber's Handbook is the kind of blissfully entertaining novel I wish I could read every night."--Caitlin Macy, author of Spoiled

"Mix two cups Jane Austen, a dash of Fran Lebowitz, a tablespoon of Tom Wolfe, and a pinch of Jonathan Swift; stir vigorously with Freddy Krueger’s bladed glove; set to simmer atop your Viking stove in your Park Avenue duplex, and you will begin to appreciate the delectable dish that is Molly Jong-Fast’s satire. Better yet? Just order in take-out and read this book."--Deborah Copaken Kogan, author of Between Here and April and Shutterbabe

"Molly Jong-Fast is one of New York City’s funniest people, and with The Social Climber’s Handbook—a dark satire of Upper East Side manners, Wall Street crimes, and a little light serial murder—she really puts the dead into deadpan. Like its author, this book is shameless, tasteless and ruthless—and extremely good company."--Rebecca Mead, author of One Perfect Day

"Terrific. Molly Jong-Fast's wit is superb, and the way she portrays the Upper East Side family life is fascinatingly intriguing...This was a book I found difficult to put down once I got into it."--Fresh Fiction

"Edgy...Darkly comic take on the 'greed is good' shenanigans that led up to the recent financial apocalypse."--Kirkus Reviews

“Twisted fun…a campy bloodbath à la Patrick Bateman in Jimmy Choos.”--Publishers Weekly

"No doubt you may be wondering what becomes of Daisy in this quirky novel. Sorry; that would ruin the fun and the story's ending. You'll have to find a copy and see if and how justice is finally served if, indeed, it ever is!"--BookLoons

"A real page-turner and I highly recommend it!"--Coterie Books

"Funny as hell...Irresistible."--Connecticut News

Praise for the author's previous novel:
Normal Girl is a searing, bitchy, funny novel about privilege in wretched excess and the accidental nature of grace.  Molly Jong-Fast is a prodigy.  Parents everywhere should be horrified by this deeply impressive debut.” – Jay McInerney

“Rich in dark comedy and sad pronouncements.  The writing is always taut and effective, precise and assured.”London Times
“[Molly Jong-Fast] has a great ear and a keen eye for the tired and tawdry world she describes here…obvious talent.”  -- The Boston Globe
“Already posted to be as talked-about as Fear of Flying.”  -- Interview 
“An edgy comedy about a 19-year-old rich girl in New York who has ‘more issues than Harper’s Bazaar.’” – USA Today
“So much talent, so young a writer! Hard-edged, savage, funny, brilliant.”  -- Fay Weldon
“If you want to know what goes on in the minds of New York’s young, rich, and famous, read Molly Jong-Fast’s hilarious novel, Normal Girl.” – Susan Cheever

More About the Author

Molly Jong-Fast (born August 19, 1978) is an American author. She wrote about her wild life as a girl in 1990s New York.

She is the daughter of Erica Jong and Jonathan Fast. She is the granddaughter of Howard Fast. She is the author of a novel, Normal Girl,[1] and a memoir, Girl [Maladjusted]. She is currently at work on her third book also to be published by in 2011 Random House called The Social Climbers Handbook.

She has 3 small and very surly children, all of whom like to talk to her at once when she is on the phone.

Customer Reviews

These characters seem like cutouts.
I've had this sitting in my to be read stack for a long time and just can't get past the first couple chapters.
S. Power
It's not even a good fluff read like some books are.
T. L. Crawford

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Dianne E. Socci-Tetro TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on May 23, 2011
Format: Paperback Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
Generally, I love to read about the super rich and the antics they pull to stay that way, but this was a very painful read. It was not funny, not fun, not even very interesting.

During 2008 Iceland's banking system and the whole country's economy crashed and much like a row of dominos, so, essentially did ours. This book follows that summer of 2008 with a satirical look at one very rich family that relies on the big banks and brokerage firms to retain the style to which they have grown accustomed. We meet Dick and Daisy Greenbaum, wealthy, entitled, youngish. They have twin daughters and a lovely home on Park Avenue in NYC. The address is very, very important; at least to them. Dick has a very important job with The Bank. Dick will soon realize that truly tough times are coming, and writes a memo to his boss on how to fix the economy. Unfortunately, his boss does not agree with the memo and starts talking about firing Dick. Well Daisy being the excellent planner that she is, realizes that she may have to get her hands a little dirty to keep her and her family in the style that they are entitled too. Why should she worry about s little murder if it's going to keep her daughters in riding lessons, her husband in mistresses and herself in expensive Birkin purses.

What could have been a funny and thought provoking read, turned into a book that was more than half filled with things that only someone with a strong banking background might find interesting. The rest of the book was a simply sad commentary on the shallowness of the uber privileged. Think "
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Lori Caswell TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on May 6, 2011
Format: Paperback
This story takes place in 2008 when the crap was ready to hit the fan on Wall Street. Daisy Greenbaum's husband is a financial mogul for "The Bank" and he probably knows more about the collapse about to happen than he should and he starts to find away around the impending doom, but his boss shuts him down quite quickly. He needs to keep his mouth shut if he wants to keep his job.

Daisy is as a socialite who lunches and who throws parties and she starts to realize that the life she has become quite accustomed to may disappear and that her husband's past mistress may not be as far in the past as her husband has led her to believe.

Daisy decides she must take her family's future into her own hands to protect them. She will stop at nothing, even murder to protect the one's she loves.

This is a very dark comedic look at the people most of us already hate because of the economic collapse and the huge bonuses still paid to the people in the banking industry.

It was well-written and a fast read. I think with this book the author can stop referring to herself as the daughter of Erica Jong and stand on her own as an author. Her husband works in the financial industry so he was able to provide her with a good insight.

I had two problems with the book. Not one character in the book was remotely likable even the Greenbaum's twin daughters. The other was that one daughter was clearly favored over the other.

Other than that this book had some unexpected turns and was entertaining. It is definitely not a mystery novel and not really chick-lit either. I would definitely put this into some sort of "noir" category. It was with a doubt an interesting story.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the author.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Bonnie Cehovet VINE VOICE on May 4, 2011
Format: Paperback Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
Meet Daisy Greenbaum - social climber extraordinaire! She has eight year old twin daughters (one a mini-me who rides horses and attends an exclusive school where the little girls all wear matching gray dresses, and one a drama queen who attends an equally exclusive west side progressive school), and a husband, Dick, who is second in command in his financial group - and will become first in command, if Daisy has her way. Daisy and Dick are both all about money and social prestige.

What makes Daisy different from other social climbers? Daisy knows exactly what she is capable of, and it doesn't bother her one bit! In fact, what she is capable of started way back when she was still in her teens. She sits on a chic board at MoMa (thanks to an outrageously large yearly contribution), and tries to maintain as close a relationship as she can with Landon Stone, who befriended Daisy only after she found out that Dick was wealthy, and about to become very, very wealthy.

This is a book that is written in two basic voices - those of Daisy, and her philandering husband, Dick. The reader gets a very clear view of these two individuals, who are not all bad, but not all good either. What brings them together is a tragic accident that puts one of their daughters in the hospital.

There are many levels to be found here - some social, some religious, some unique to the city of New York. Add the failure of the financial markets, which literally threatens to take everything away from the movers and shakers, and you have a story.

Very well written until the end, the characters are well defined and believable. The is a very good "fast forward" with one ancillary character from where he is in the story to many years later. For the main characters, we are left hanging. The ending is too loose for my satisfaction.

This is a nice "summer read", but more than that should not be expected from it.
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