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Posh

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Set in the private school world of Manhattan's Upper East Side, POSH tracks the lives of a group of teenagers and the adults who hope to control them. It’s a world of over-the-top entitlement and tribal customs, a world of surface interactions and deep needs—a world of private schools and privilege.

 

Griffin is a preparatory school on Manhattan’s Upper East Side with the best students—and the richest parent body—the city has to offer. In this eloquent novel set during...

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2007 Hard cover First edition. New in new dust jacket. Brand new in superb condition, this book is a First Edition, First Printing! Glued binding. Paper over boards. With dust ... jacket. 247 p. Audience: General/trade. Ships with Delivery Confirmation. Read more Show Less

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POSH

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Overview

Set in the private school world of Manhattan's Upper East Side, POSH tracks the lives of a group of teenagers and the adults who hope to control them. It’s a world of over-the-top entitlement and tribal customs, a world of surface interactions and deep needs—a world of private schools and privilege.

 

Griffin is a preparatory school on Manhattan’s Upper East Side with the best students—and the richest parent body—the city has to offer. In this eloquent novel set during one class’s senior year at the Griffin School, among the queen bees and the wannabes, Michael Avery and Julianne Coopersmith begin a relationship.  Their backgrounds are so different—he’s beyond privileged and rich, her mother is a writer who drives a cab—but it’s the rich boy who ends up being the needy one, with an emotional hole they both believe only Julianne can fill. Their parents are not immune from internal torture either—Michael’s mother finds it easier to love her Chinese Crested Hairless than her own child, and Julianne’s mother’s protective instincts have unexpected consequences. 

Fast-paced, gently satirical, yet deeply felt, POSH is a surprisingly poignant and knowing novel distinguished by its spare and elegant prose.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
The pseudonymous Jackson (an "acclaimed short story writer and novelist") plumbs the lives of those who pace the halls at New York City's exclusive Griffin School in this accomplished novel. Varied in age and income bracket, the cast is finely drawn if familiar: Julianne Coopersmith, a middle-class teen with an overprotective mother, attends Griffin on scholarship; Morgan Goldfine, Julianne's best friend whose mother recently died, is awash in grief; Michael Avery, Julianne's boy wonder boyfriend, is Harvard bound; and Kathryn "Lazy" Hoffman, Griffin's headmistress, is having a professionally verboten affair with a teacher. Cracks form in Julianne and Michael's relationship after Michael shows signs of mental instability, though Julianne's loathe to give up on him, even when his symptoms hint at violent tendencies. Morgan mopes her way through the school year, and Julianne's mother strikes up an unlikely friendship with Michael's mother. Kathryn's affair, predictably, becomes public knowledge, sparking domestic and professional upheaval. If the plot packs few surprises, Jackson's rendering of relationships both toxic and positive, filial and friendly is flawlessly executed as she flits from social strata to social strata. The similarity in cover art between this novel and Prep isn't for nothing. (Jan.) Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
VOYA - Sophie Brookover
This pseudonymous satire of a constellation of upper-crusty Manhattan teens, their elite private high school, and their parents skewers all the expected topics-the bubble of wealth and privilege, the brand obsession, the fixation on getting into just the right college. But the novel reveals a surprisingly tender heart at its center. Two characters ring particularly true: Julianne, a scholarship student in love with Michael, her brilliant but increasingly unhinged boyfriend; and Kathryn, nicknamed Lazy, the school's adulterous headmistress, who is at the end of her rope finessing the petty dramas of her students and their parents' ever-more-absurd demands. As Michael's bipolar disorder worsens, so does his treatment of Julianne, and yet she stays with him, for reasons that are at once clichTd and believable. The portrayal of an emotionally abusive relationship is hauntingly realistic. Likewise Lazy's downward spiral of shame, guilt, and frayed nerves results in a believable denouement: She confesses her affair to her loving, steadfast husband, and receives with some relief the news that her contract with the Griffin School will not be renewed. Jackson's fine, brittle prose boasts both the best and the worst that satire has to offer: deliciously zingy "gotcha!" moments that slash deeply at the snobby, hypocritical heart of this world of privilege as well as an inability to believably sustain that lively, incensed tone throughout. Fans of Curtis Sittenfield's Prep (Random House, 2005/VOYA August 2005) and readers several degrees of sophistication above Gossip Girls are likely audiences for this crossover title.
VOYA - Emily Polatsek
For the first chapter or so of Posh I wasn't very impressed. As I got deeper into it, I started to realize that not only did this book have high-quality writing, but it also centered on important issues in the relationships of teens and adults. Julianne deals with her needy and bipolar boyfriend, Morgan tries to cope with her mother's death, and Lazy pursues an affair with a fellow teacher-all topics that the author deals with in a great way by expressing the character's emotions with an extremely realistic style that can choke you up a little bit. I know I certainly believed and could relate to Julianne's relationship with her mother. On a negative note, I wasn't so sure about some of the other characters such as Michael because who knows many eighteen-year-olds who recite poetry off the top of their heads? Overall I thought that this book had a lot more depth than first may have been perceived, especially if you're reflecting on it after you've finished.
Library Journal
An exclusive New York school catering to the rich and powerful, who feel that their children's enrollment is one step toward an Ivy League college, Griffin is the sort of place that allows jaded staff and parents to transmit their troubles to teenagers; here, every drama is amplified. The beleaguered principal, Kathryn "Lazy" Hoffman, contends with school scandals, demanding parents, and her own illicit affair with an English teacher. Meanwhile, scholarship student Julianne is caught in a devastating relationship with her bipolar boyfriend, Michael, much to the dismay of Julianne's mother, Dee, a failed novelist who drives a taxi. Dee forms an unlikely bond with Michael's emotionally distant mother, who pays more attention to her dog, named Boyfriend, than to her own son. Jackson handles the relationship between Michael and his mother with honesty and sensitivity, but the story line seems at odds with the satirical tone of the chapters focusing on Lazy. In particular, a distasteful subplot involving a Saudi prince attending the school falls flat. Jackson is the pseudonym of a noted fiction writer; for larger public libraries.-Christine DeZelar-Tiedman, Univ. of Minnesota Libs., Minneapolis Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
School Library Journal

Adult/High School
This novel about the members of an elite school community is told from multiple viewpoints. "Lazy" Hoffman, headmistress at the prestigious Griffin School in New York City, is having an affair with one of the teachers, despite the fact that she has a prince of a husband. Julianne is a scholarship student whose mother, Dee, is a former novelist who now drives a cab. Julianne's boyfriend, Michael, is the perfect Griffin student-brilliant and Harvard-bound-but also a victim of bipolar disorder. Michael's mother, Susan, seems to care more about her dog than her son. And Julianne's best friend, Morgan, has just lost her mother to cancer. The school year progresses, and each of these situations develops, the most painful of which is the relationship between Julianne and Michael. She feels that she is the only one who understands him, and that she must not, under any circumstances, let him down. The relationship is doomed to end tragically, and it does. There are not any major surprises here, but the book is well written, and the characters are appealing. Some of the themes (and even the title and cover art) are reminiscent of Curtis Sittenfeld's Prep (Random, 2005). Like that book, this novel presents more of an adult than a teen view of high school life, but it will nevertheless appeal to teens, with its strong rendering of the major relationships and its fast pace, aided by lots of dialogue and a smattering of e-mail exchanges.
—Sarah FlowersCopyright 2006 Reed Business Information.

Kirkus Reviews
The classrooms and boardrooms of an elite Manhattan prep school are plumbed for plot and pathos. Troubles are piling up for Kathryn "Lazy" Hoffman, headmistress of Griffin School, grades K-12. She just turned 43, a fact of life she's dismayed about. She's not allowed to smoke in her office, which she perceives as an affront to her authority. She feels guilty about cheating on her loving husband with one of Griffin's teachers, the handsome, WASP-y Doug McNamee, who calls her his "Jewish Princess." Even worse, it's "early admission notification time," so students' mothers are threatening suicide if their offspring are not admitted to Harvard or Yale. Finally, the mother of senior Morgan Goldfine, a generous benefactor to Griffin, succumbs after a long battle with cancer. Somehow Lazy has to transport 99 students to the funeral. Lazy isn't the only member of the Griffin community with tribulations, however. In alternating short chapters, four other main characters reveal their plights: Julianne, the go-to friend of troubled teens, who not only has her grief-stricken best friend Morgan to console but must also reassure Michael, her increasingly paranoid, handsome, intelligent, bi-polar and off-his-meds boyfriend, of her undying love; Julianne's mother Dee, the author of seven critically acclaimed, minimally sold novels who now drives a cab and watches helplessly as Julianne gets drawn into Michael's madness; Susan, Michael's mother, an aloof society matron whose greatest pleasure is sewing costumes for Boyfriend, her Chinese Crested Hairless dog, and who has no idea how to cope with her son; and Morgan, who sends late-night emails into the ether, hoping that her mother will reply. As richer,more powerful egos threaten these flawed but sincere heroines, each woman must come to terms with her own choices. This sweet but thin academic tattle-tale by Jackson, the pseudonym for, according to the publisher, an "acclaimed short story writer," fails to punish the wicked or reward the just.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780312363895
  • Publisher: St. Martin's Press
  • Publication date: 1/9/2007
  • Edition description: First Edition
  • Pages: 256
  • Product dimensions: 5.82 (w) x 8.45 (h) x 0.96 (d)

Meet the Author

Lucy Jackson (a pseudonym) is an acclaimed short story writer and novelist. Her last novel was a New York Times Notable Book. Jackson's fiction has appeared in The New Yorker, Best American Short Stories and many other magazines and anthologies. She lives in New York City.

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Read an Excerpt

Chapter One

KATHRYN HOFFMAN

It falls to Kathryn "Lazy" Hoffman, headmistress of the Griffin School (grades K-12), to notify the ninety-nine other students in Morgan's class about the funeral. (Lazy, a childhood nickname bestowed upon her by her parents when, as a three-year-old, she refused to walk and demanded to be carried everywhere, has stuck to her all these years, like a barnacle to a rock.) She sends out a mass e-mail from her office, wherein she makes clear that attendance at the service is mandatory:

Attendance is not mandatory, but it is my hope that each and every one of you will show your support of Morgan and the entire Goldfine family during this sad time. Remember that we at the Griffin School are a caring, responsible community—a family, if you will. Tomorrow morning, three buses will be waiting outside the school at 9:45 sharp to take us to the funeral chapel. Please make every effort to join us.

—KH

P.S. Any test or quiz scheduled during these hours will, of course, be postponed.

She clicks send and lights up a cigarette, though of course there is no smoking allowed anywhere in the school, not even in her beautiful office with its Persian rugs and burnished mahogany furniture, its stained-glass windows and built-in floor-to-ceiling bookcases. She's the headmistress, for God's sake; if she wants to smoke one or two (well, make that three) lousy Newports in her own private office at six p.m., who's going to stop her? The truth is, most of the time she loves this job, loves being high man on the totem pole, loves the (relatively) generous salary they pay her for keeping the students and faculty in line and for stroking the swollen egos of all those superstar parents—Academy Award winners; publishing and real estate moguls; Emmy and Tony Award winners; painters whose work goes for a million dollars a pop and is part of the permanent collections of the Whitney and the Modern; Pulitzer Prize winners; authors whose books are perched at the top of the New York Times bestseller lists. And then there are the housewives richer than Croesus who arrive in their chauffeur-driven cars with nothing better to do than torment her with their own torment: If Erin doesn't get into Yale, Harvard, or Princeton, I'll shoot myself, Lazy! In the head! I'll blow my brains out and that's no idle threat! Just last night I dreamed that Erin was rejected everywhere except Cornell, and I woke up drenched in sweat! How many times had she heard this neurotic refrain sung by a designer-dressed mother with impeccably styled hair and makeup, and tears in her eyes? And how many times had Lazy reminded a parent that her very own son was a graduate of, believe it or not, the University of Michigan. And that after only three years at Michigan, he went on to Harvard Law School, where he's now a first-year student.

University of Michigan? Are you joking?

"Lunatics," Lazy murmurs, and exhales a perfectly formed smoke ring. And then two more. If these parents don't drive her to her grave, nothing will. Maybe she should quit this job she sometimes fiercely despises; take an early retirement and move to some tranquil little town in Dutchess County or Connecticut where she would grow her own vegetables and herbs and reread all of Henry James and . . . whom is she kidding? This is a dream job, at one of the very best private (or "independent," as they say in the biz) schools in all of America, filled with exceptionally bright, impassioned students; it's a privilege to be surrounded by them day after day as she walks the quiet, carpeted hallways and pops her head into a classroom or two to listen to her faculty with their Ivy League doctorates brilliantly dissecting King Lear or To the Lighthouse or Anna Karenina. And in one of those very classrooms, she can get a good look at Doug McNamee, WASP prince in his Cole Haan loafers and tweed jacket, his pale blue eyes alert and watchful, his graying blond hair a pleasure to her fingers as he pins her to the burgundy leather couch in her office. He's got a wife and she's got a husband, but these things, unfortunately, sometimes happen so let he or she who is without sin cast the first . . . not that she's proud of herself. Far from it. The guilt, in fact, has caused a chronic case of nocturnal teeth-grinding, for which her dentist has already prescribed a plastic mouth guard to be used at bedtime. (Fat chance she'll ever wear that to bed.) But if Bloomingdale's sold sackcloth and little bags of ashes, she'd be there with credit card in hand. And if she were a Catholic, she'd be first in line for confession, absolution, and penance—an act of self-abasement or mortification might very well do the trick for her, Lazy thinks.

Turning forty-three last week was, like all her birthdays after thirty-nine, no picnic, and without Doug to look forward to, she might have been too depressed to get out of bed. But he arrived at school early that morning with a large chocolate-dipped strawberry and a bottle of sparkling wine in hand, and they made love at seven a.m. in the private bathroom attached to her office, Lazy pressed against the pedestal sink, the skirt of her suit yanked above her hips, her heart thumping as she neared orgasm, heart knocking harder and harder at the thought of being caught by a member of the housekeeping staff, though of course the office door and the bathroom door were both locked and she and Doug were safe as could be. Happy birthday, my darling Jewish princess, Doug had murmured, as if she hadn't asked him more than once not to refer to her that way. It's so undignified, she told him. Not to mention the teensiest bit anti-Semitic.

Chapter Two

JULIANNE COOPERSMITH

It was the old tall-dark-and-handsome thing that first captured her attention. That, and the exceptionally smart, articulate comments he offered up in the A.P. English class they were both taking in this, their senior year. One day during the first week of school, he'd spoken at length about Sarah Orne Jewett's The Country of the Pointed Firs, and not once, Julianne noted, had he used the word "like"; as in, "I think this book, like, totally rocks"—just the sort of moronic declaration you might hear in the classroom any day of the week. Now the two of them, Julianne Coopersmith and Michael Avery, are joined at the hip. Before Michael, she had never been in love, had never been attached to any guy at all for more than a few awkward kisses. She is a tiny, sweet-faced blonde, barely five feet tall, barely ninety-five pounds, and people who don't know her well might make the mistake of thinking she is shy. Which, in class, she often is, rarely saying much of anything, even about her favorite books from among the ones they are reading—Portrait of a Lady and The House of Mirth. But she has a good many friends of both sexes, and goes out Friday and Saturday nights to hear music downtown at the Knitting Factory and at the Bowery Ballroom, and then travels uptown to the Jackson Hole on Second Avenue where she sits for a couple of hours picking at a cheeseburger and talking endlessly—with her best friend, Morgan, and whoever else happens to be around—about everything in the world. She never drinks, as some of her friends do, though she smokes weed occasionally, a hit or two, just to be sociable. She and her friends are among Griffin's best students, and most of them hope to attend colleges like Yale and Harvard and Stanford when they graduate. Smaller schools like Haverford, Williams, and Amherst are more her speed, Julianne thinks, or maybe even an arty place like Sarah Lawrence. No matter what, she'll need lots of financial aid wherever she goes. Griffin has given her plenty of help to cover its $23,000 annual tuition, but who knows if the colleges will be so generous. Julianne will just have to wait until April to see how it all shakes out.

She and her mother, Dee, formerly a novelist and currently a freelance editor and part-time cab driver, live together in a rent-controlled high-rise in Chelsea. It's just the two of them—her father has relocated to Houston, Texas, with his girlfriend, who is only in her thirties and has suffered one miscarriage after another these past few years. Julianne feels sorry for her, but her mother does not. This is only one of the many things Julianne and Dee disagree on. Every night her mother kisses Julianne's forehead or cheek and tells her that she loves her more than anything on this planet, which Julianne doesn't doubt for a minute. But not a day goes by that they don't argue strenuously over something—the "disastrous" state of Julianne's room, her habit of lingering on the Internet until two-thirty or three a.m. on school nights, her refusal to drink anything except coffee and Diet Coke, her insistence on taking her cell phone everywhere, even into the bathroom. Sometimes her mother slams Julianne's bedroom door so forcefully that the framed posters of Superchunk and Modest Mouse and Ani di Franco on her wall actually tremble. If only you would listen to me even a little, if only you would clean up that pigsty of a room, if only you would get off that damn AOL and into bed at a decent hour. . . . Sometimes Dee loses it completely and cries, but Julianne has hardened her heart against the sound of her mother's weeping. She's a good kid and knows it—so what if she talks on her cell phone while she sits on the toilet, or uses the floor of her room as a closet, or leaves tiny orange flecks of cheddar popcorn on her pillowcase? So what? She has pointed out to her mother that, in fact, things could be infinitely worse. Think of the possibilities, she instructs Dee: she could be a druggie, high on Ecstasy or coke fifty-two weekends a year; she could be a slut, sleeping with every boy in her grade; she could be a victim of obsessive-compulsive disorder or bulimia, like some people she knows at Griffin. "Well, I'm grateful that you're not," Dee tells her, "because I just wouldn't be able to deal with it. I'm a single mother and I can deal with only so much."

Copyright © 2007 by Lazybones Ink, LLC. All rights reserved.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 3
( 15 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 15 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted March 23, 2008

    Racial Stereotypes Galore :(

    The book is normal chick-lit quality, with terrible racial stereotypes sprinkled throughout. Did the only minority character in the entire book have to be a brown oil heir who mugs the students and whom the principal suspects might blow up the building and probably had something to do with the 9-11 terrorist attacks? Really? Of all of the negative stereotypes possible, this has to be the most damaging. It's SO obvious that the hype surrounding this book has more to do with the mystery of the author and less to do with the actual quality of the content.

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 19, 2013

    I disagree with some of the other reviews here--I liked this boo

    I disagree with some of the other reviews here--I liked this book. It was pure fluff, but as a private school teacher myself, I highly doubt the author intended the readers to take the characterization seriously. That said, it was entertaining and a nice way to spend a few unexpected free hours. I have known many students and parents just like the ones created in "Posh," so although stereotypical, there was still more truth than fallacy here. If you enjoyed "Prep," "The New Girls," and "Schooled," you will also like "Posh."

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  • Posted May 31, 2011

    Awful

    Complete trash. I thought it would be similar to Prep/other "insider" books, but it is pure trash, with characters that seem irrelevant/futile.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted January 6, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    One of my Faves and thats saying something

    I don't know who this author is but she should start making more books. This is a great read 5 stars.

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  • Posted November 13, 2009

    I Also Recommend:

    POSH is compelling reading.

    In POSH, Lucy Jackson takes us into unexpected emotional territory page after page - and makes us care about the privileged. The characters and relationships are deftly and knowingly drawn, resulting in a book that is amusing, disturbing and deeply moving."

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  • Posted September 7, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    prep school and parents

    The whole story kept my full attention! I imagined Posh as some sort of true story. It's sad to say that some prestigoius private schools/universities are not always what they seem. As in to say, people view prep schools as being guaranteed easy access to the top universities in the nation. When, honestly, not all students can get into Hrvard, Yale, or Princeton. Also, the relationship bewteen Julianne and Michael was speechless, in a way. There are alot of people with mental disorders, that needs to take their medication as frequently as possible. My favorite character in the story was Dee. I didn;t like the fact that she allows her daughter to talk to her however she wants, but other than that, she has always had that close mother-daughter relationship with Juloianne ( not as "best friends"). Dee was also a real woman that was going through stuff most divorcees go through. The other thing I liked about Dee is that she's done a great jobinsuring that her daughter was secured and protected at all times. Sadly, there some parents today do not show the type of love and affection their children will need.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 29, 2008

    Good Realistic Book

    The book was a quick easy read with each chapter taken from a character's point of view. Vrey true scenarios, sad sometimes, but overall very well written.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 10, 2008

    A reviewer

    My Darling only child , a daughter has dated a Michael' just like the one from this book for 6 years now. I have often thought this might end badly for either or both , but they both have grown up alot now as they are turning 21 at this point. I still pray they end it but if not I embrace it and books like this help a Mom see things and it helps to know their are other mother's out there that feel the same way I do about my child and the people they bring home to you that because of that they become part of your Family if only for a moment or in some cases such as ours for years.

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  • Posted December 9, 2008

    more from this reviewer

    A delicious satire

    In Manhattan few schools rival the excellence reputation of the exclusive private Griffin High School. The excellence is in terms of its luxurious environs as learning takes a somewhat back seat to test achievement, which the headmistress Katryn The ¿Lazy¿ Hoffman considers education and an affluent environment, the only type of place she can administer though the parents are driving her insane with their absurd demands almost as sublime as that of her husband helping her cope is her affair.--------------------- Scholarship student Julianne Coopersmith feels somewhat of an outsider as almost all her peers are wealthy. She worries about her best friend Morgan Goldfine, whose mother just passed away. Morgan has not been able to move on while Julianne has learned to appreciate her pain in the butt mother whose over-protectiveness has driven Julianne crazy, but is now welcome to a degree. She is also concerned about the recent out of control behavior of her boyfriend, Harvard-bound Michael Avery, whose destructive acts of late have teetered on violence and making Julianne consider dumping him as the mood swings scare her.----------------- This stereotypical satire uses an upper crust Manhattan school as the milieu to lampoon relationships. The two prime hubs, Juliana and Katryn are on the surface opposites, but share a common distaste for the elitist attitude of Griffin even as one cheats on her spouse while the other struggles to remain loyal to her boyfriend. Both feel out of place at the POSH high school. Though similar school days have been in several novels, the dysfunctional relationships that run the gamut make for an amusing look at what vouchers will get the poor though in this case it is a middle class scholarship student who feels out of place.----------- Harriet Klausner

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  • Anonymous

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