The Red Book

Deborah Copaken Kogan. Voice, $24.95 (368p) ISBN 978-1-4013-4082-7
As readers of photojournalist and author Kogan’s second novel learn, Harvard doesn’t content itself with the alumni mags and e-mails and letters other colleges make do with: before big reunions, it sends out a bound crimson book containing alumni updates on their lives, a reunion cheat sheet that gives Kogan both her title and structural framework. That exasperated sigh you hear, from those of us who didn’t go to Harvard, carries through the first pages, which feature the entries of Kogan’s four main characters: WASPy Addison Cornwall Hunt, an artist and trust funder living in Williamsburg, Brooklyn; black, commune-raised Lehman Brothers managing director Clover Pace Love; Jewish ex-actress and stay-at-home mom Mia Mandelbaum Zane, splitting her time between L.A. and France; and Boston Globe journalist Jane Nguyen Streeter, born in Vietnam, raised in the American suburbs, and based in Paris. Their entries are obviously written to impress and to cover up; real life is what happens before and after, which, in this case, means these class of ’89ers’ 20-plus years of friendship and the three days that constitute their 20th reunion and the bulk of Kogan’s book. What starts out feeling like a marketing-driven “women’s” book—the perfect read for a mani-pedi—turns out to be a smart, funny, engrossing, and action-packed meditation on women’s lives, growing up, having and not having it all, class and the expectations that come with having gone to Harvard, love lost and found, infidelity and sexuality, and finally, loss and lying, especially to yourself. Agent: David McCormick, McCormick & Williams. (Apr.)
Reviewed on: 01/16/2012
Release date: 04/01/2012
Hardcover - 583 pages - 978-1-4104-4916-0
Downloadable Audio - 368 pages - 978-1-4013-2637-1
Open Ebook - 199 pages - 978-0-316-33095-4
Paperback - 361 pages - 978-1-4013-4199-2
Open Ebook - 368 pages - 978-1-4013-4280-7
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