The Red Book Hardcover – 3 Apr 2012
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'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) --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
A college reunion, 20 years after graduation: can one weekend of nostalgia change some people's lives forever? --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.See all Product Description
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Top Customer Reviews
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.Read more ›
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.
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?Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
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 morePublished on 28 Jan. 2014 by Natalie
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 morePublished on 2 Nov. 2013 by BCT
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. Read morePublished on 8 Oct. 2013 by scotgal
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 morePublished on 14 April 2013 by Heather
Dreadful book, I was irritated by Chapter 2. The storylines for each character were totally predictable, it was boring and nauseating. Read morePublished on 10 Mar. 2013 by Amazon Customer
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 morePublished on 1 Dec. 2012 by e l kilburn