To the shock of his family and community, George Woodbury, an affable teacher, and beloved husband and father are arrested for sexual assault at a prestigious prep school in Connecticut. While he awaits his trial in jail, his family is left to pick up the pieces.
His wife, Joan, a trauma nurse, is unable to triage her emotional reactions, and vaults between rage and denial. Daughter Sadie, the consummate overachiever, finds herself paralyzed on her boyfriend’s couch with a bong, while a local author attempts to exploit her story. Their son, Andrew, a lawyer in New York, assists in his father’s defense while wrestling with the unhappy memories of his own teen years in high school. Unfolding over a one-year period, the novel focuses on the Woodbury family as they struggle to support George while privately grappling with the possibility of his guilt.
With exquisite emotional precision, Whittall explores issues of loyalty, truth, and the meaning of happiness through the lens of an all-American family on the brink of collapse.
Trigger Warning: sexual assault on minors, drug use