It's been a while since I've shared a book review and that's because most of what I've been reading on the T has been ho-hum. That is until I got my hands on "The Red Book" by Deborah Copaken Kogan.
While I was on Cape Cod a few weeks ago with my family my mother was flying through this hard cover book and I had to know what had captivated her with such great force. When I shouted across our beach compound, "What do you have over there?" She answered, "Oh, just this trash book your aunt gave to me. It's awful. I mean really awful. In that amazing way." Ha! After hearing that, of course I asked to have it when she was finished.
Let me tell you, this book is so addicting that while reading it, I forgot to get off the bus three times!
"The Red Book" is named for the annual yearbook-style publication shared at Harvard with their reunion classes. The book contains updates on everything from spouses to jobs to children to world travels and obituaries. Having just gone to my five year college reunion last year and looking ahead to my ten year high school reunion this Thanksgiving, this book came into my life at exactly the right time.
The story focuses on four Harvard roommates: Addison, Mia, Jane and Clover. Over the course of the book we learn about their childhood paths to Harvard, their experiences on campus, their careers, their eventual spouses and children and of course, the drama that bubbles up at their reunion.
I'll briefly introduce you to each character:
- Addison grew up in private school and married her prep school boyfriend, Gunner. Unbeknownst to Gunner, Addison still harbors strong feelings for her lesbian lover from college. The lover who bails her out of jail on the first night of reunion weekend.
- Mia was an aspiring actress who never made it to the bright lights, but did marry a Hollywood film director 20 years her senior. Together they split their time between Los Angeles and Antibes with their four beautiful, perfectly behaved children.
- Jane was adopted by a man doing humanitarian work in her native country of Vietnam. Her father, Harold, brings her home to his wife, Claire, who becomes her superwoman. The friends crash at Jane's mother's house in Belmont for reunion where they rally together to help Jane clean out the house after her mother's passing.
- Clover grew up on a hippie commune in California and applied to Harvard without her parents knowing. She is completely lost in the sea of Ivy League prepsters, but manages to fall in love with the quintessential WASP during her freshman year.
I found myself compulsively reading "The Red Book." I literally couldn't put it down. For those of you, like me, who waste two hours of your life every day on the MBTA, this is the remedy for our commuter ailments!
Reading this book also stirred up the nervous and excited feelings I have about my ten year high school reunion in November. While in college my parents moved from my hometown of Newton, MA to Miami, FL. As such, I haven't had those annual run ins with classmates around Thanksgiving or Christmas for over seven years. The book left me with a million questions - Who will be married? Who will have children or be expecting? Who will have achieved career success? Will I still get butterflies when I see my high school crush? I think we all know the answer to that last question.
"The Red Book" was the best guilty pleasure! The only problem is, now I need another one. Anyone have a recommendation for a new T book?