In a striking debut novel, a single father and his son discover what lies beneath the gilded façade of a tony Upper East Side private school: an endemic of over-medicated children.
Every afternoon Sean Benning picks up his son, Toby, on the marble steps that lead into the prestigious Bradley School. Everything at Bradley is accelerated—3rd graders read at the 6th grade level, they have labs and facilities to rival most universities, and the chess champions are the bullies. A single dad and struggling artist, Sean sticks out like a sore thumb amongst the power-soccer-mom cliques and ladies-who-lunch that congregate on the steps every afternoon. But at least Toby is thriving and getting the best education money can buy. Or is he?
When Sea starts getting pressure from the school to put Toby on medication for ADD, something smells fishy, and it isn't the caviar that was served at last week's PTA meeting. Toby's "issues" in school seem, to Sean, to be nothing more than normal behavior for an eight-year-old boy. But maybe Sean just isn't seeing things clearly, which has been harder and harder to do since Toby's new teacher, Jess, started at Bradley. And the school has Toby's best interests at heart, right? But what happens when the pressure to not just keep up, but to exceed, takes hold? When things take a tragic turn, Sean realizes that the price of this accelerated life is higher than he could have ever imagined.
Bronwen Hruska, the publisher of Soho Press, has worked as a journalist and screenwriter for twenty years. Her articles have appeared in the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, More Magazine, Entertainment Weekly, Cosmopolitan, the Village Voice, and the San Francisco Chronicle. She has sold an original screenplay to Columbia Pictures and an original television pilots to NBC, CBS, Lifetime, and Sony television. She lives in Manhattan with her two sons.
"Page turning, socially compelling, and ringing with truth. layered between the stories of a private school over-medicating their students, celebrity journalism, and a crumbling marriage, lays the tender love of a father for his son."
– Randy Susan Meyers, author of 'The Murderer's Daughters'
"A compelling story about families in a particular segment of society that illuminates the larger human condition."
– Library Journal (starred)
"A fast-paced, crystal-clear, and funny exploration of a subject that, thanks to Hruska, can finally be openly talked about. A kind of Kramer v. Kramer meets Erin Brokovich in a dark dystopia with baby pharmaceuticals packed in lunch boxes set in the most treacherous world there is: New York City private schools."
– Jennifer Belle, author of 'High Maintenance' and 'The Seven Year Bitch'
"A smart, sexy thriller balanced on top of a real-life horror story: the irresponsible over-medication of our children by our schools."
– Madison Smartt Bell, author of The Color of Night
"What starts off as an entertaining romp through the world of privileged parents and private schools, spins itself into a harrowing tale. A deftly, unexpectedly terrifying first novel."