JoeAnn Hart takes on the New England social set in her clever debut novel, Addled. When geese descend upon the carefully manicured golf course of Eden Rock Country Club, changes are set in motion that bedevil both blue bloods and employees alike.
After bond trader Charles Lambert brains a goose with a sliced golf ball, the club's already tenuous hold on the traditions and rituals that provide structure to an ever-weakening elitist system is shaken. As Charles' guilt over the dead bird drives him to find his true calling, he distances himself from his wife Madeline, and finds a new respect for his animal rights activist daughter, who sets her sights on turning Eden Rock vegan.
Poor beleaguered Madeline must not only try to figure out a new relationship with her husband and daughter, but also withstand the attentions of a studly young lifeguard who runs the risk of appearing in the club's secret book of lovers (and therefore possible fathers of club children who must, in turn, never marry their unknown relatives), a corpulent gourmand whose probing questions are as far-reaching as his appetite, and the increasing suspicions of fellow members who've taken note of Charles' apparent break with their reality.
But the geese don't cause problems for Eden Rock members alone. The employees gather their fair share of heartache and hilarity when otherwise competent general manager Gerard can't control his staff, including the food-obsessed chef, Vita, who sets her sights on a succulent resolution to the goose problem, and greens manager, Barry, who adopts an orphaned gosling as well as a new, organic view on golf course management.
When the members take things into their own hands employing alcohol-fueled, shotgun-toting midnight raids the feathers fly, and carefully guarded secrets and social boundaries fall like geese from blue skies during hunting season. Addled sings with carefully observed satirical wit and is pure, laugh-out-loud funny. Hart knows her subject as well as she knows her audience, and this accomplished debut makes for a perfect summer read. Kristy Kiernan lives in Naples, Florida, and is a reformed country club employee.