Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Book Review: Reunion by Hannah Pittard

I'll confess that this was the second time I checked out Hannah Pittard's Reunion from the library. The first time, I had to return it before I even had a chance to crack open the cover because someone else requested it (that two week loan period goes by quickly!). This time, I read it in a day and a half so yeah, you can say I liked it. 

Even though Reunion is a quick read, it's not full of levity.  The story takes place during a four-day period when Kate, our protagonist, and her two older siblings meet up in Atlanta to say goodbye to their father, who just committed suicide.  He was a difficult man and all three siblings, as well as many additional half-siblings and ex-wives on the periphery, have damaged or non-existent relationships with him.  His death comes at a time when everyone seems to be in some sort of turmoil and this added pressure causes all involved to reevaluate their own lives.

This book reminded me of why I dream of joining a really cool book club; as soon as I turned the last page, I wanted to call someone and to talk about it so I did the next best thing which is to scroll around online to read what other people thought.  Although the feedback was mostly positive, there were some negative reviews, and as it turns out, many of the things that those readers hated about the book were the things I liked the most. Kate isn't likeable and most of the time, I didn't really identify with her but ultimately, I'm not a reader who wants perfect characters or needs tied-up loose ends. True situations and messy relationships are what keep me interested.

If nothing else, Reunion reminds us that it's difficult to let go of the past, even if it's not really something you want to hold onto. It's hard to admit that sometimes it's easier to lie than to tell the truth, or that you can't always blame other people for your own mistakes. It's inevitable that we all will grow up, but no one ever said it's easy. That's a sentiment that Reunion definitely gets right.

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