Five words from the blurb: Harvard, graduates, lives, twentieth, reunion
The Red Book was longlisted for the Women’s Fiction Prize last week. I hadn’t heard of it before, but it sounded as though it had the potential to be a good read. Unfortunately the plot was too gentle for me, but I can see it appealing to fans of quiet books that focus on relationships.
The plot revolves around the special book that graduates of Harvard University receive every five years. This book details the private lives and accomplishments of each graduate, showing how their lives have progressed since they received the last installment. The Red Book concentrates on four women who were roommates when they studied, twenty years ago. It focuses on their relationships; detailing numerous affairs, the grief of lost loved ones, and the problems of motherhood. It was basically chick-lit for the slighter older woman.
The initial section of the book was fantastic. Each character was developed fully, with an interesting back story and a range of flaws. Unfortunately as the book progressed I began to lose interest. The plot was too ordinary and I failed to form an emotional connection to the characters. If I’d been to Harvard University then I might have enjoyed some aspects of the book more, but as a UK graduate the details left me cold:
This sort of story has been told many times before and I’m afraid that other authors have done a better job. It lacked the depth and insight required to raise this book to the next level. I read the first 200 pages, but in the end I couldn’t force myself to read the remaining third.
The thoughts of other bloggers:
…the ultimate lessons of friendship, love, life, marriage and death were moving, if sometimes overwrought. Nomadreader
The main problem with the book comes down to lack luster (and in some cases, just bad) writing. Redrunninghood
It was hysterically funny at times. From the TBR pile