I am now a good bit into Janny Scott’s The Beneficiary and I can’t decide if I like it. Maybe I am just but one of the rubber neckers or gawkers alluded to in the book who attended the funeral? (No, I didn’t attend the funeral.)
Right or wrong, page six of the book left a bad taste in my mouth that continues to linger the further I get into the book.
Page six is where one finds the snarky criticism of her late father’s caterer. Who also happens to be my favorite caterer and the caterer many families including my own have used for years. It was just unexpected and somewhat unnecessary in its meanness.
Her late father had undoubtedly given instructions for his funeral down to the catering. It was his last big party, after all. And his money paid for it…but I guess it meant less for the heirs, right?
I think the author loved her father, but she certainly didn’t seem like him a lot of the time. This book if you distill it down is less about the familial history (which is truly fascinating) and more of a huge middle finger directed at her late father, and what is left of Philadelphia society.
Personally, I would take the old guard even at their dragon-y best over the ludicrous Oscar Wilde and Richard Brinsley Sheridan worthy characters who literally mug for the cameras today.
Now in fairness to the author obviously she didn’t choose to be born into quite literally The Philadelphia Story.
If you grew up on the Main Line, you grew up in awe of Ardrossan. It was a beautiful property. Now it’s getting carved up into McMansions and I have my doubts the great house will survive in perpetuity, sadly.
I was lucky enough to be on the property at different times growing up. Those times I was there was for non-profit events like parties for organizations like The Philadelphia Orchestra.
The great house, or mansion, was glorious and sort of like going to a dinner party hosted by Dickens’ Miss Havisham. You would have to watch your heels didn’t catch in a frayed side of an oriental rug. But it was a marvelous house. I especially liked the beautiful terraces I remember out back which lent itself to the garden party type benefit I went to one time with my parents.
There are some videos on YouTube about the estate:
Now of course, developers are laying claim to Ardrossan. Which, needless to say, is a giant bleck to me.
Anyway, my people aren’t the author’s people so I can’t say I share her experiences. This book sometimes reads like therapy and revenge rolled into one. But seriously? How hard a life has the author had had? Her family money made her very existence possible, didn’t it? It opened all the doors she is now kind of thumbing her nose at it, and that is kind of sad.
I appreciate the delving into her fascinating family history and I hope by the end of the book the phrase that keeps running through my head dissipates.
That phrase is poor little rich girl, sadly.
But hey it is sure ripping open the dusty volumes of dirty family laundry, right?