From the back cover:
Born and raised in a college dorm and chafing under the care of “the most annoyingly evenhanded parental team in the history of civilization,” Frederica Hatch is starting to feel that her life is stiflingly snug. But then, into this cozy but claustrophobic world, comes Laura Lee French, a wannabe Rockette and the new dorm mother at the lackluster women’s college where Frederica’s parents teach and agitate.
Further disturbing the peace is the fact that Miss French—in the distant past—had been married to Frederica’s earnest and unglamorous father. Fearing scandal and campus glee, the three Hatches and Laura Lee attempt to keep their secret.
I really enjoyed My Latest Grievance. The narrative is first person, but Lipman still does an excellent job revealing the protagonist’s personality more by showing than telling. Frederica is a sardonically funny, capable, curious (bordering on nosy), and at times obnoxious teenager who has had a very unconventional upbringing and who occasionally finds herself yearning for conventional things, to her parents’ disappointment.
The plot is actually a bit excruciating, since it involves Laura Lee (an annoying, selfish, deluded, melodramatic, amoral, exceedingly indiscreet, and incredibly immature grown woman) arriving and launching a very public affair with the president of the small women’s college at which Frederica and her parents reside, resulting in all sorts of unpleasant ramifications. She does face censure for her mind-boggling lack of sense, though the Hatch family is far more tolerant of her than I would be.
The writing is wry and concise, and the story wraps up with a very satisfying conclusion. I’d definitely read more by this author.