Parenting as a competitive sport
In Lucinda Rosenfeld’s Class, which satirizes privileged, perfectionist Brooklynites, “parent is both a verb and a competitive sport,” writes Sarah Lyall in a New York Times review.
Karen who works for a non-profit, and her husband, a housing advocate, send their child, Ruby, to a public school where whites are a minority. But uber-liberal Karen is dismayed by Ruby’s black classmates with “beaded braids, buzz cuts and neon backpacks” and oddly spelled names. Their daughter is bullied.
She forges documents to send Ruby to Mather, the white school a few blocks away. The new school “has raised hundreds of thousands of dollars from parents at an auction and is considering hiring a meditation coach,” writes Lyall. For “arts enrichment,” fourth-graders go to “La Bohème” and, for the third grade, a “kid-friendly version of ‘Schindler’s List’” performed by “an experimental puppeteering troupe.”
At a Mather PTA meeting, an extended exercise in passive-aggression disguised as compassionate listening, a plan to buy Ziploc bags as an anti-lice measure is jeopardized when one of the mothers announces that she feels “uncomfortable directing PTA money to the plastics industry.” . . . the “arts enrichment” program includes a fourth-grade trip to “La Bohème” and, for the third grade, a “kid-friendly version of ‘Schindler’s List’” performed by “an experimental puppeteering troupe.”
Whatever the demerits of the “unexamined life,” writes Lyall. Karen’s “over examined life” is “a different kind of hell.”