Tuesday, April 26, 2011

The Devil in the Junior League

By Linda Francis Lee

Texas socialite Frede (pronounced Freddie) Ware was certain that her husband loved her and wanted to have children with her. After several years of marriage and no babies, followed by numerous trips to the fertility doctors and lots of medical tests, Frede finds out that she has been living in a fantasy. Not only does her husband, Gordon, not want to have kids with her, he had a vasectomy before they were even married. Further, he has been having an affair with his homely secretary. And, as Frede later finds out, he has swindled Frede out of her large fortune, her house, her expensive artworks and has even replaced her fabulous jewelry with fakes. For the first time in her over-privileged life, Frede is going to have to stand on her own two feet.

Only, of course, she doesn't. She turns for help to some old friends and to some new friends and together they manage to pull her ass out of the flames. Only after being rescued does Frede finally leave her warm and cozy rich-girl enclave and set out to find herself. And that is where the story ends.

Frede Ware must be just about the stupidest rich girl there ever was. Why else would she blindly sign whatever paper her conniving husband sets in front of her, signing away her trust fund, rescinding her prenuptial agreement, and even signing over to her hubby her house and expensive artworks? This girl is just too stupid to live. But besides being stupid, Frede is one of the most stuck-up, arrogant, judgmental and all-around-stinkers of a heroine. If a woman shows up wearing a flowered print dress or, god forbid, spike heels, they are written off in Frede's book as NC: No Class. Not-One-Of-Us. This Frede is such a pill who so does not deserve her good fortune that I sort of wished the errant hubby succeeded in ripping her off at the end.
Other than the fact that Frede is a prig and a very unsympathetic heroine, sneering as she does at every little infringement she sees of her precious social code (for instance, she is shocked to see her friend is wearing animal print socks under her slacks), this story was pretty engaging. A behind-the-scenes look at the lifestyles of a particular class of society that was quite interesting. However, I did feel that Frede's husband and his complict girlfriend get off too easy. I didn't find their punishment very satisfying. And as for Frede, she's just lucky her creepy husband only swindled her.

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