Nina Browning has everything. She lives in a house that cost over 4 million dollars, a handsome and extremely successful husband, a son who was recently accepted into Princeton and she gets to spend most of her nights going to charity galas and “making a difference” in the ritzy part of Nashville’s scene. While at one of these galas, Nina’s life is completely upended when she’s shown a photo that her son supposedly shared from a party. This makes her take a hard look at her marriage, her values, her parenting and questioning whether or not she is actually raising a child with morals and values or if he is becoming the manipulative liar that she’s realizing her husband to be. When she meets Lyla, the girl from the picture and her father Tom, she becomes more convinced that she’s not living in concordance to her values and at the same time she needs to face a moment from her own past to become the woman she once was, and wants to be again.
I read this book in one sitting. As a high school teacher and also mother of two sons and one daughter, the story captured me. The plot itself is highly interesting and not knowing who is telling the truth was also highly compelling. My complaints lie in the fact that all the rich people are bad and entitled and all the poor/average wealth people are COMPLETELY without fault. Listen, I’m not rich and I never will be. I went to a fancy private school (even though my family was definitely not wealthy) just like the character Lyla, and stayed in mansions with my friends silently vowing to never let them sleep over my house. Some of those kids were complete assholes and their parents were worse. Some of them were great people and so were their parents. I think it’s a little sloppy to present almost all of the wealthy characters in the same broad brushstroke. That said, the book had me thinking about how I can continue to try and raise my children with integrity and respect for others, even when no one is watching.