Tad Friend’s mother won second place to Sylvia Plath in a poetry contest judged by W.H. Auden while she was still a sophomore at Smith College. His father was president of Swarthmore, a prestigious liberal arts school. Today, Friend looks back on his family:
Wasps increasingly doubt their wider currency. Once the most American of people, we failed at the American necessity: assimilation. So we gaze out from the old game preserves—Bar Harbor, Watch Hill, Jupiter Island—and wonder how it all came to this.
His heartfelt and moving memoir, “Cheerful Money: Me, My Family, and the Last Days of Wasp Splendor,” gives the reader a fleeting look into the vulnerable and rocky world of America’s elite. The New York Times calls it a “winsome memoir,” and the Los Angeles Times touts it as “frequently amusing, carefully modulated, occasionally wearying and unfailingly stylish.”