5 of 8 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars
The Harvard girls, 21 Nov 2010
Rona Jaffe's "Class Reunion" belongs to the genre of the American novels describing the lives of one age cohort in one institutional context - this time Radcliffe College, once upon a time the girls' college at Harvard. Erich Segal wrote the famous "The Class" telling about the Harvard College boys. For a person, who lived four years in the Harvard community as a foreign scholar, the book brings back vividly the atmosphere in Cambridge, Mass. Still,I think the best novel of this kind is "The Officers' Wives" by Thomas Fleming , a story describing the West Point Class 1950 wives and their destinies during the war time in Korea and in Vietnam.
Rona Jaffe introduces in "Class Reunion" four types of girls anf four types of life histories, which are intertwined with the US history and the questions apparent in the American society. The 25th college reunion is important in the US, because then you are able to look back into your lives and have in hands some kind of evaluation about everybody's successes and failures. This is a very typical way to narrate the story.
Rona Jaffe tells the stories of Emily , a Jewish girl, Annabella, the Southern beauty, Chris, the intelligent student from New York with family problems and Daphne, the perfect girl, but not so perfect after all, and their Harvard College boys. As you notice, in these kinds of books you have to have a Jew to tell that Harvard like the other Ivy League institutions have hidden ethnic or religious quotas, a southern belle to describe the difference between the North and the South, a person with social defects in the family history and a person with hidden secrets. With the boys comes into the picture homosexuality etc.
I like this book, because the story could be true, although it is mere entertainment. As a Harvard alumna it brings into my mind some nostalgic feelings: the Harvard Yard, Widener Library, the Charles River banks and the brick dormitories...