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The Red Book [Kindle Edition]

Deborah Copaken Kogan
3.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)

Print List Price: £7.99
Kindle Price: £3.99 includes VAT* & free wireless delivery via Amazon Whispernet
You Save: £4.00 (50%)
Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
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Book Description

'Destined to be a classic . . . a sharply funny, clear-eyed examination, in the vein of Mary McCarthy's The Group, of the power and burden of privilege, the reality of being a modern woman and the lasting bonds of female friendship.'

Vanity Fair

Can a weekend change your life?

Clover, Addison, Mia and Jane were college roommates until their graduation in 1989. Now, twenty years later, their lives are in free fall. Clover, once a securities broker with Lehman Brothers, living the Manhattan dream, is out of a job, newly married and fretting about her chances of having a baby. Addison's marriage to a novelist with writers' block is as stale as her artistic 'career'. Mia's acting ambitions never got off the ground, and she now stays home with her four children, renovating and acquiring faster than her Hollywood director husband can pay the bills. Jane, once the Paris bureau chief for a newspaper, now the victim of budget cuts, has been blindsided by different sorts of loss.

The four friends have kept up with one another via the red book, a class report published every five years, in which alumni write brief updates about their lives. But there's the story we tell the world, and then there's the real story, as the classmates arriving at their twentieth reunion with their families, their histories, their dashed dreams and secret longings, will discover over the course of an epoch-ending, score-settling, unforgettable weekend.

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Product Description


'Compulsive reading' (Meg Wolitzer, author of The Uncoupling)

'Destined to be a classic . . . a sharply funny, clear-eyed examination, in the vein of Mary McCarthy's The Group, of the power and burden of privilege, the reality of being a modern woman and the lasting bonds of female friendship' (Vanity Fair)


'Compulsive reading' (Meg Wolitzer, Author Of The Uncoupling )

'Destined to be a classic . . . a sharply funny, clear-eyed examination, in the vein of Mary McCarthy's The Group, of the power and burden of privilege, the reality of being a modern woman and the lasting bonds of female friendship' (Vanity Fair )

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 1478 KB
  • Print Length: 481 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 1844089002
  • Publisher: Virago (3 April 2012)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B007TH3G3K
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • : Not Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 3.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #158,375 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Not what it was cracked up to be 23 May 2013
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Think a cast of characters with names like Bucky, Clover, Addison, Trilby...(to name but a few) set the scene. I wonder why this was long listed for Womens Prize. Whilst an OK read - I struggled to find any literary merit amid the overindulgent Harvard grads on their reunion weekend. Privileged but flawed lives and relationships and just shedloads of money, spent on jail bailouts and similar. Even the husband who has a heart attack brought on by financial stress has his family doing OK whe they sell the house in Antibes, move to a cosy (?) place in Venice Beach and she has to go out to work...Your heart bleeds, not! Long but easy to read and totally unmemorable
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Really Bad 8 Oct. 2013
By scotgal
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
This was the local book club choice so I felt obliged to read it to the end even though I was tempted to give up early on. Unsympathetic characters, ghastly Americanisms, gratuitous sex scenes and overall bad writing.
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7 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I loved this book. 8 April 2012
By Jill Meyer TOP 500 REVIEWER
I bought and read "The Red Book", by Deborah Copaken Kogan, on the advise of some good friends - (Hi Betz and Bonnie!) - and was really not expecting much. Oh, maybe a four star look at the typical group of old college buddies - peopled with the standard WASP, Jewish, black, and Asian characters - each described with the short-hand caricatures of age-old womens' novels. And it was set at Harvard, no less, where everyone starts out brilliant!

But Kogan's novel was a much deeper, better written book than any of the genre I've read before. She cleverly and deftly draws her four main characters - Harvard grads who are reuniting for their 20th year reunion - with nary a caricature. (Except, maybe, the WASP character's name. I mean, "Addison Cornwall Hunt"?) By using the form of entries written for the class "Red Book" which describe each character from the basics of address, spouse/partner, job, children, and then going into what has happened since the previous "Red Book" entry five years previously, Kogan is masterful in her introduction to Addison, Mia, Clover, and Jane. But Kogan doesn't end with the main characters. She draws her secondary characters - in most cases family members of the four - as well as other Harvard alumni, who she also sketches by using the "Red Book" entries.

Set in those financially shaky days of June 2009, the four women return to Boston for their 20th reunion. All are involved in relationships - some shaky, some strong - and they are accompanied by their significant others and their children. The women are also accompanied by secrets; secrets they're holding off from each other and from their loved ones. Some secrets are of a financial nature and others are of more personal and intimate nature.
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5 of 7 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Never judge a book... 11 Sept. 2012
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I read a fantastic review of this book and thought it sounded perfect for me. However, I spent most of it wondering when the story would start and getting lost among the characters (and I easily follow Game of Thrones, so this is not a complaint about myriad characters!) When eventually it picked up, was actually quite brilliant for a section in the middle, and then, as the reviewer above states, seemed to completely lose its way. It's kind of like a poor man's "Freedom" in the way the teenage sex/family miscommunication/infidelity dramas are represented, and you kind of get the impression that's the type of ambience the author wants to create. I just didn't get the sense that these people ever had a true, close friendship.

I'm a UK reader, and this may hold more appeal to those who experienced the US college system. It just doesn't translate well. I love other American authors (Ethan Canin is a favourite). However, I ended up caring little for the characters, and ended up reading the last few chapters quickly.
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3 of 5 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Enjoyable Yet Not Brilliant 28 April 2012
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I really enjoyed the first half of this book. The characters are well-described and interesting (although a bit of a "perfect" set -- and maybe not realistic -- with one black, one Asian, one possibly-gay etc, all boxes ticked). The premise is good and very relevant in this Facebook-dominated world: the world we present (in this case via Harvard Red Book entries) versus the reality of the lives we are leading.

The women's relationships and situations feel realistic in many ways, from the experience of motherhood vs. career, the expectations of the Harvard graduates versus the reality of their lives, to the astute perceptions of American culture of the ex-pat journalist (no wonder these feel the most real, considering this character shares a lot with the author).

That said, I got bored about halfway through this book and found the situations got less real and more pat once the characters were established. A rebellious teenage girl giving her mother a parenting speech and (wait for it) grounding herself!?? Felt absurd. Of course we have to have the Repentant Banker who is now unemployed and regretful of her part in the housing crisis. And I won't give away endings but a highly unlikely and less-believable romance blooms (I read in the author's notes that her editor made her change the ending to this romantic, fantasy silliness, complete with tropical island, and it feels that way -- tacked on and unrealistic).

The worst for me was one character finding out about the infidelity of her partner with a woman whose mysterious daughter has no father ever mentioned (I assumed it was the child of the wayward husband), but this is never brought up or asked about?! An editorial oversight?
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Great read - not just a chick lit but a really well written novel.
Bought this as a throwaway beach read but have since recommended it to everyone looking for an easy read with a bit more substance. Read more
Published 17 months ago by Natalie
4.0 out of 5 stars The perfect novel for the nosy!
There was something unnervingly Sex and the City about this novel and though I am not a big fan of the programme, I have watched every episode but am not enamoured by anybody in... Read more
Published 20 months ago by BCT
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant!
I am still reading this book but dread finishing it as I am enjoying it so much. From the title, it sounds as though it may be 'chicklit', which it definitely is not - in fact, it... Read more
Published on 14 April 2013 by Heather
1.0 out of 5 stars Awful
Dreadful book, I was irritated by Chapter 2. The storylines for each character were totally predictable, it was boring and nauseating. Read more
Published on 10 Mar. 2013 by Amazon Customer
5.0 out of 5 stars A really great book
I really loved this book. As someone who is coming up to 20 years since I went to uni, it rang a few bells, and i loved the way that the story was interspersed with extracts from... Read more
Published on 1 Dec. 2012 by e l kilburn
1.0 out of 5 stars Appalling grammar
Not that I'm a purist when it comes to grammar BUT I did find this book littered with grammatical errors.
Some sentences are just ridiculous. Read more
Published on 23 Sept. 2012 by Shopaholic
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