Reading The Red Book by Deborah Copaken Kogan is like watching The Big Chill. It is the story of a group of friends who gather back at Harvard for a twentieth reunion weekend. Kogan is clearly exceptionally bright as her writing makes you pause to be sure you knew a hard word or phrase. I love that!
Four women, Clover, Addison, Mia and Jane were roommates at Harvard. They are from different backgrounds and bring different experiences to Harvard. When they meet for their twentieth reunion, they are facing unemployment, fertility, marital issues and financial instability.
Quotes from The Red Book
Of waspish funny names- “You give your kid the odd or stuffy or necessary-to please-the-family first name, and then give him a silly nickname like Boots or Bops or better yet call him by his second name, which is always some historical family name that has significance only to the people who care about such things.”
Upon arriving at Harvard… “She didn’t have the proper tools yet. Or the anthropological understanding of the tribal customs and bylaws.”
“There must be something mentally liberating, she thinks, about unloading to a person who once knew you intimately but would probably never see you again until the next reunion, if ever. A kind of rabula rasa without the blankness of the rasa.”
“Mia claims that buried under Addison’s rampant narcissism lies a tenderhearted kitten, scratching at the walls of her self-importance.”
“Luba was both an unrepentant gossip and a social trolodyte who was- and still is, apparently,- unable to read the subtle hints of verbal cues and body language.”
“… humans need love. It’s not a luxury. It’s a necessity. And they’ll endure estraordinary circumstances in order to get it. That being said, they also need sex, and though the two are often intertwined- love and sex..”
What are you reading and where are you going?