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My Latest Grievance

Elinor Lipman


List Price: 14.95*
* Individual store prices may vary.

Other Editions of This Title:
Digital Audiobook (11/30/2008)
Hardcover (4/1/2006)
Compact Disc (5/1/2006)
MP3 CD (5/1/2006)


My Latest Grievance stars the beguiling teenager Frederica Hatch, the "Eloise of Dewing College." Born and raised in the dormitory of this small women's college and chafing under the care of "the most annoyingly evenhanded parental team in the history of civilization," Frederica is starting to feel that her life is stiflingly snug. That all changes with the arrival on campus of a new dorm mother, the glamorous Laura Lee French, the frenetic center of her own universe.

Mariner Books, 9780618872350, 256pp.

Publication Date: May 8, 2007

About the Author

ELINOR LIPMAN is the award-winning author of eleven novels, including The View from Penthouse B and The Inn at Lake Devine; one essay collection, I Can’t Complain; and Tweet Land of Liberty: Irreverent Rhymes from the Political Circus. She lives in New York City.

Conversation Starters from

The book is narrated by the adult Frederica Hatch as she looks back at a tumultuous teenage year. Does the author make the combined sensibility — age sixteen viewed through the eyes of the narrator’s present self — work?

Why do you think the author made Dewing a lackluster institution rather than a top-notch college?

Frederica asks on page 1, “Were they types, my parents-to-be? From a distance and for a long time, it appeared to be so.” Does this serve as a warning? A prediction? A wink from the author? An apology?

Laura Lee French’s ex-husband is a distant cousin. Would the story have unfolded in the same way if she had not been a relative?

Marietta Woodbury and her mother are rude to Laura Lee upon first speaking to her on campus. Did this meeting resonate with you and signal trouble ahead?

The affair between Laura Lee and President Woodbury is anything but discreet. Did their public carrying on amuse or offend you?

The professors Hatch are passionately committed to righting wrongs and to each other. In what ways do they let their daughter down?

What turning point triggers Frederica’s more sympathetic and respectful view of her parents?

One could say that the Blizzard of ’78 is a character in My Latest Grievance. Did the author succeed in conveying the power of that historic storm and effectively put you there?

Did you find any character less than fully developed? What else did you want to know about him or her?

Laura Lee French, narcissist extraordinaire: is it possible to feel sympathy for this character?

Chapter 33, “Emeriti,” the epilogue, brings the reader to the present. How well does the jump forward in time wrap up the story?