April 27, 2012

The Red Book

The Red Book
by Deborah Copaken Kogan
publisher:  Voice, Hyperion
published:  April 2012
source:  publisher

Have you ever filled out a questionnaire before a reunion at your high school or college?   You are asked your new address,  occupation,  spouse,  children, and possibly a paragraph or two more about your life.

Of course you wouldn't air your dirty laundry in what you write.  Or would you?

The Red Book is printed every five years after graduation from Harvard.   This novel has pages from the twentieth anniversary report of the class of 1989.    After a few of these pages, we meet the four main characters,  some spouses, and kids.   Then more alumni pages pop up throughout the book to give us an opportunity to meet other characters.

There's so much between the lines in the alumni pages, and even more behind the scenes.   I felt like a voyeur reading the book.  So much sex!  So many secrets!   This is a perfect beach book.  

I'm so glad I didn't read the reviews before picking up this book --- other reviewers complained about the heartless characters, complained about not being able to remember all the many names.  It wasn't that hard to remember everyone.  Sometimes when I read other books, I have to make a list of character's names ... but not this one.  All I had to do was turn back a few pages to find the alumnus' report.

Humor while watching children in a bounce house:
"Wouldn't it be great if there were a moon bounce for grown-ups?"
Clover laughs.  "Its called sex, Jane."
Two pages include an IM conversation.   There's a letter from someone's mom.    Oh there's so much more, more, more.   It all ties together.    These characters are people-types I don't know down here in the South.  They're elite, rich, jet setters, brilliant.

After I finished the book, I checked for more information about the author.  Deborah Copaken Kogan herself  went to Harvard,  was a photojournalist in France and Afghanistan, and juggled work and kids.   She knows wherfore what she writes. 

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