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Jenny Jackson’s 'Pineapple Street' explores the changing landscape of New York’s mega-rich

Jenny Jackson is the author of "Pineapple Street"
Sarah Shatz
Penguin Random House
Jenny Jackson is the author of "Pineapple Street"

Much of the buzz around Jenny Jackson’s debut novel, “Pineapple Street,” relates to the author’s impressive credentials as a book editor. In her years at Knopf, Jackson has established herself as a literary hit-maker for such authors as Cormac McCarthy, Gabrielle Zevin, Katherine Heiny and Emily St. John Mandel. This month, she released a book of her own.

“Pineapple Street” is the story of the old-money Stockton family, a carefully guarded clan of one-percenters living among the fruit streets of New York’s Brooklyn Heights neighborhood. Eldest daughter Darley traded her inheritance and her job in finance for motherhood. Sasha married into the family and struggles to fit in. And youngest daughter Georgiana gets entangled in an ill-advised relationship and tries to come to grips with what it means to be a trust-fund baby.

The novel reads like “Crazy Rich WASPs,” with characters uttering lines like, “Oh no, I left my Cartier tennis bracelet in Lena’s BMW, and she’s leaving for her grandmother’s house in Southampton!” The Stockton girls refer to their brother’s wife as “the Gold Digger,” and there’s lots of talk about real estate, private schools, party themes and tablescapes.

But Jackson deftly describes family dynamics — the secrets and passive-aggressive tactics that are so much a part of this social strata. She also explores the changing landscape of the mega-rich, including a younger generation of socialist-minded millennials who feel guilty about their wealth and want to give it away.

At its core, “Pineapple Street” is a contemporary novel of manners and relationships, a peek into how the upper crust lives. It’s a well-written family drama that would make an ideal summer read.

Suzanne Perez is a longtime journalist covering education and general news for KMUW and the Kansas News Service. Suzanne reviews new books for KMUW and is the co-host with Beth Golay of the Books & Whatnot podcast. Follow her on Twitter @SuzPerezICT.