“I’ve been asked by just about everyone who’s read The Finishing School: Is it autobiographical? How much of it is true? Did that really happen?” – Joanna Goodman
Good news, readers! A new book for your TBR shelves, and a really good one at that! Joanna Goodman‘s The Finishing School will be available in stores next Tuesday April 11th! Below, you’ll find a letter from the author that answers some pressing questions about this part-contemporary fiction, part-psychological thriller novel.
First, some background. The Finishing School follows Kersti Kuusk, a bestselling writer who attended an elite Swiss boarding school in her teenage years. Her best friend at the time, the beautiful Cressida Strauss, plunged from a fourth-floor balcony with catastrophic consequences in their final year. But the issue was quickly dismissed by officials so not to draw negative publicity to the school. Kersti has never stopped wondering about the incident—was it a suicide attempt? Or was Cressida pushed? When Kersti is invited to the Lycee’s 100th Anniversary, she begins to unearth an underbelly of lies and abuse at the prestigious establishment. The Finishing School is simply unputdownable—it is as clever as it is compelling, and offers a riveting glimpse into a rarefied world.
Intrigued? Here’s a letter from Joanna Goodman to get you a little more on your toes:
I’ve been asked by just about everyone who’s read The Finishing School: Is it autobiographical? How much of it is true? Did that really happen?
The Lycée Internationale Suisse may be a fictional school in Switzerland, but it was inspired by my own experience abroad when I was seventeen. Much like my protagonist, Kersti, I was a middle class kid on a once-in-a-lifetime adventure – very much a fish out of water among the offspring of royalty and international superstars who were my schoolmates. And like Kersti, I was in awe of this strange enclave of wealthy, eccentric kids who had virtually grown up in a parentless world – kids who mostly communicated with their estranged parents via postcards; who’d had siblings kidnapped for ransom; who had been smoking and drinking with adult permission from teachers, principals and parents since the age of twelve. All of this was normal at our finishing school.
Not surprisingly, inspiration for the mystery at the heart of The Finishing School sprang from a series of real life secrets and scandals that unfolded during my year in Lausanne. My own best friend there was a brilliant, beautiful, charismatic girl who, like Cressida, was brazen and rebellious, and had an affair with our married history teacher that ultimately ended in catastrophe. I always knew I’d write about it.
Twenty-five years later, I’ve used that memorable year and the people I met there as a springboard to create a compelling story about entitlement, the power of beauty and status, and the relentless pursuit of approval that afflicts even the most charmed and advantageous among us.
So to answer the question at the top of the page: the book is inspired by real people and events, but (mostly) fiction. And I won’t name names.