Laura P. (Atlanta, GA)
The Red Book
This 20th college reunion story (Harvard '89) uses the practice of publishing a reunion book ("THe Red Book") as a foil for the story of 4 college roommates whose lives are very different from the images they choose to project. The characters cover the spectrum of racial, sexual, and national categories, and touch on pretty much every controversial social issue out there - same sex marraige, abortion, pre- and extra-marital sex, sex change surgery, May-December relationships are all there. WIth a boatload of characters, Kogan is able to do very little actual character development, and few of the characters she focuses most on are sympathetic. (It's hard to feel too sorry for the producer's wife who might have to sell her second home in Antibes.) On the plus side, though, the writing is more than competent and it's really hard to put the book down. I would take it to the beach in a heartbeat, but I will not be recommending it to my rather serious book group.
Kathryn K. (Oceanside, CA)
I loved this book!
The Red Book, by Deborah Copaken Kogan is not the typical story about the reunion of best friends from college. Thankfully, neither is it “chick lit” -- a phenomenon that according the San Diego UT (2/12/12) is dying. The characters have depth and are well developed. I liked the fact that they are not cookie cut – all the same. The diversity of persons and the varied life styles, raises the quality of the read and enriches the novel. The plot is refreshingly realistic and interesting. Structured around entries found in Harvard’s, The Red Book, one is drawn into the lives of four friends, 20 years after a 1989 graduation. Like life, the book is at times very poignant -- full of how life just happens and also how we impact what happens. It is wise – and even funny! It will be on my short list for the book discussion groups I lead. I loved this book!
Mary S. (Pinson, AL)
The Red Book is a Great Read
I can’t remember when I have enjoyed a book as much as I enjoyed The Red Book. This is a great story of four intelligent roommates at their twentieth reunion weekend. Kogan expresses so well the feelings of a generation growing older and looking back at their younger selves. I love a book that gives you pause for thought. This will definitely be a great book club read.
Sue P. (Richardson, TX)
Liked It; Not Sure If I Did
I read every word of this in just a few days and while I thought it had some really terrific substance, I also wasn't very engaged by most of the protagonists. Maybe TMI - hard to keep up with. Maybe it's hard for most readers to relate to Harvard Grads. I did like the book and would recommend it.
Sylvia G. (Scottsdale, AZ)
Veritas is both Harvard's motto and the central theme of this novel. In writing their alumni updates for their 20th reunion, four friends employ various degrees of truth and during the reunion are confronted with how their lives have met both the expectations that come with graduating Harvard as well as their own hopes and dreams. Sounding like chic-lit for the middle aged, this novel surpasses that genre with it's good writing, insights, structure and smartness. I didn't put it down.
Diane D. (Blairstown, NJ)
I found this book held my interest from beginning to end, even though (or maybe because) I had no personal knowledge of people who had gone to Harvard. It was good to be able to read their entries for the Red Book and then see how their lives played out at and beyond their 20th reunion.
I felt as if this was a memoir, not a novel, which says a lot for the author's ability to bring her characters to life. I would recommend this book to anyone who would like a peek into the lives of those privileged enough to attend this school.
Sharon B. (Rome, GA)
The Red Book
This is a very good book about a group of Harvard graduates at their 20-year reunion and how that weekend influenced and changed the course of their lives. The characters and storylines grabbed me and I wanted to keep reading until I found out what happened to all of them. What more can you ask for in a book?