This was one of those rare books that, although I didn’t particularly hate anything about it, I just could not force myself to continue. I could not connect with any of the characters in any way, and none of them were interesting, except one fringe character, a 13 year old boy who exploits his father’s death in the 9/11 attack with a sort of cynical pragmatism. Even the plot was uninteresting, because who cares about developments in relationships between boring characters?
DNF at 40%. Audiobook, purchased via Audible, based on a recommendation from Books on the Nightstand, who seem to be hit and miss for me. Christina Traister does try to infuse some liveliness in the characters.
I dithered about this book for a while. There was something bugging me about it and then I realized. I pretty much called every single one of the endings for the characters. I didn't really like the character (Lindy) who was bisexual being portrayed as "slutty" and the poor girl/woman (Annie) who sat around harboring same lame crush on a guy (Colin) that didn't want her. I was more interested in the married couple (Catherine and Owen) but even after a while I tired of them. I think this book was a mash up of The Big Chill and I will be the first to say I was not a fan of that movie. Probably because even as a child I had no patience for selfish people (which I counted a ton as while watching that movie).
I had liked I think maybe 1 or 2 of Scotch's prior works. But the later stuff has not been doing a thing for me. I think if this had been shortened a bit, or maybe just didn't include this manic pixie girl (Bea) as this bigger than life character we never get to really see as readers it would have worked better. I just had a hard time with people who have been sporadically in touch through 20 years to all of a sudden make a sojourn back to a house they stayed at during college. Don't get me started that one of the characters is as popular as Martha Stewart and another one is a world famous musician. You don't get the sense at all from the little introduction chapter we get on these people that these are the careers they would fall into or want to do.
I don't know who I disliked the most out of the characters: Bea, Colin, Annie, or Lindy. It's pretty much a toss-up for me. I didn't care for the character of Bea based on what we see about her during some other character's flashbacks. Bea to me is very manipulative. I didn't get some wise woman living in a young woman's body. We are told constantly that Bea lived on the edge and was IMHO way too close to her friends from college. We get some bare insight into this character about finding out she's an orphan. But I ultimately didn't like how she chose to treat Annie like a small child who had to be protected.
Annie was aggravating. I never got a handle on this character either. I think that her unrequited crush on Colin and her ridiculous propelling of him onto a pedestal is what made it so hard to like this characters. Plus Scotch introduces the husband via Annie's character who you don't care for at all, but then you learn some things so you end up having some sympathy for him, and then Annie proceeds to make terrible decisions throughout the book.
The character of Lindy is a popular musician who is a lesbian some of the time but has sex with men still. I am still confused by this whole character. Did Scotch not want to have a bisexual character? Cause it made me confused why Lindy I think identifies as a lesbian though she is attracted and sleeps with men. Seriously someone help me out here, I just didn't get what was going on and what was Scotch trying to portray with this character at all. I also hated the whole Lindy can't be monogamous thing that was going on either. I know that one of my friends who is bisexual and happily married with kids now said it used to tick her off when people thought her identifying as such meant she slept around. I think ultimately I was confuse though because a secret is put out about why she really went about sleeping with the character of Colin and I just wanted to tell her to go see a therapist.
Colin I found to be gross.
Catherine and Owen were ultimately the only two characters that seemed to be fully fleshed out. I wish that Scotch had stuck with them more honestly. I was more interested in this atypical marriage which is becoming the norm (wife works and husband stays home) and seeing how Owen is feeling unfilled at this role. Heck, this is what a lot of mothers feel as well, so it would have been great to see these two acknowledging that things are not working out and how to fix it. There's just a lot of drinking, fighting, and acting crazy.
The writing was okay, though I got really confused while reading. Maybe if the book had been told in a linear fashion (start off with them about to graduate, then go to the wedding, then hit 17 years later or whenever it was they all received letters). Instead we have characters flashbacking and being in "present" time while reading chapters.
I honestly think the multiple POVs throw this book off too. We start off with Bea, then go to Annie, Lindy, and after that I believe it's Catherine, then Owen, and finally Colin. Then we beep bop around for the whole book. The last chapter made me roll my eyes a lot too. I think I was supposed to get a feeling of well being instead of annoyance that made me feel like none of these people learned a thing. We also don't equally stick with characters. Most of the book belongs to the women characters. And honestly, after two rounds of Lindy, I was pretty much done with her.
The book mentions that this is about 6 friends (a 6 pointed star) who go to Penn and I can tell you that no one calls the University of Pennsylvania Penn. If you say Penn, most people think you are talking about Penn State. I was so surprised when I realized this book was supposed to take place in Philadelphia and then I put two and two together and was like oh she mans University of Pennsylvania. And can I say that besides some random talk of cheese-steaks, I did not get Philly from this book. Let alone these people who had lived at a house nearby the university for a number of years