Cheerful Money by Tad Friend
Subtitled Me, My Family, and the Last Days of Wasp Splendor, Cheerful Money is the New Yorker staffwriter Tad Friend's memoir about his waspy Northeastern upbringing. The book examines the author's entire family, providing detail and often humurous insight into the decling caste.
Reviewer: Jane Juska
"Be reassured: Tad Friend does fall far enough from the tree to give us a delightfully rendered account of not only his self-discovery but an examination of "The Last Days of Wasp Splendor." It is gorgeously written..."
Reviewer: Heller McAlpin
"...a suave, sharp-witted, generally intoxicating but occasionally sobering expose of his native culture....Friend is one of the least whiny and most incisive insiders to chronicle this privileged world, and he does so with style and soul."
Reviewer: Marie Aranat
"Friend's book is a fascinating mix of cultural, family and personal history. And yet, although Friend writes dazzlingly about his relatives and ancestors, he is less successful in writing about himself....It hardly matters. "Cheerful Money" absolutely sings in the chapters that count. This is a memorable hymn to a vanishing America."
Reviewer: Tim Rutten
"Friend's recollections of WASP America in the throes of decline are frequently amusing, carefully modulated, occasionally wearying and unfailingly stylish. Friend is one of those journalists with an admirable eye for the telling detail, and his writing is at its best when he makes his point by allowing them to accumulate evocatively."
Reviewer: Ellen Wernecke
"Cheerful Money: Me, My Family, And The Last Days Of WASP Splendor functions as not only a chronicle of Friend’s determination to put the anxieties of his upbringing behind him, but also as WASP taxonomy—a bird-watching guide for people."
Reviewer: Francine Du Plessix Gray
"Friend’s often engaging work is too crowded...Yet these shortcomings, however diminishing, do not manage to sink “Cheerful Money.” The author’s warmth and pleasant wit, his reliably graceful prose style, usually manage to carry the day."
Reviewer: Marjorie Kehe
"In the hands of a lesser writer, a book like this could read like the empty lament of a poor little rich boy, a tale likely to elicit little sympathy from readers without Friend’s resources or options....But Friend’s talents are well suited to his material. He broadens his tale into the chronicle of an entire slice of society and not just that of one cluster of families."