Thursday, July 14, 2016

Julie's Review: In Twenty Years

 photo In Twenty Years_zpsko0kueor.jpg

Author: Allison Winn Scotch
Series: None
Publication Date: July 1, 2016
Publisher: Lake Union Press
Pages: 455
Obtained: author
Genre:  Contemporary Fiction
Rating: 4/5
Bottom Line: Does the past always shape who we become and can you go back to those friends who shaped you into who you are?
Grab, Just get it at the library, or Remove from your TBR list? Grab!
Summary: Twenty years ago, six Penn students shared a house, naively certain that their friendships would endure—until the death of their ringleader and dear friend Bea splintered the group for good. Now, mostly estranged from one another, the remaining five reluctantly gather at that same house on the eve of what would have been Bea’s fortieth birthday. But along with the return of the friends come old grudges, unrequited feelings, and buried secrets. Catherine, the CEO of a domestic empire, and Owen, a stay-at-home dad, were picture-perfect college sweethearts—but now teeter on the brink of disaster. Lindy, a well-known musician, is pushing middle age in an industry that’s all about youth and slowly self-destructing as she grapples with her own identity. Behind his smile, handsome plastic surgeon Colin harbors the heartbreaking truth about his own history with Bea. And Annie carefully curates her life on Instagram and Facebook, keeping up appearances so she doesn’t have to face the truth about her own empty reality. Reunited in the place where so many dreams began, and bolstered by the hope of healing, each of them is forced to confront the past.  

Review: In Twenty Years is going back to the people and the places that shaped your into the adult you are; college years. When 5 close friends each get a summons to return back to the place they lived together during the last year of college, they all have mixed feelings and various reasons for going.

I really liked the story about how going back to your past can help you rediscover who you wanted to be then and help you if you've veered off course. That's not to say that you should always be the person you were when you were twenty-something but it can get you back to the important things in life. What did you want to become? How did you want to live your life? Why were these people the most important people in your life?  I'm not saying that life doesn't change you based on experiences but sometimes it's good to remember who you were at different points in time.

As for the characters, I'm not sure there wasn't a selfish or self-centered one in the bunch. Lindy is the worst out of the bunch, in my opinion. Fame has only made her worse and she can't be honest with those around her, let alone with herself. She's believed her own hype for too long. She's the one who needs her friends the most to reground her and make her reassess her priorities in her life.

Catherine has tried too hard to be a domestic diva that she's lost sight of what is most important: family. You can have a domestic diva empire but it would be better if you were at home more with your family. She's type A and is having a hard time admitting that maybe she's failing and needs some help. She's closed herself off to her husband, Owen and only finds fault with what he does instead of looking at all that he does. Owen needs to assert himself with Catherine and explain that he's ready to go back to work, that maybe being at home with the kids wasn't really what he thought it would be. They both can't be honest with each other. Sometimes it's easier in a marriage to find fault than to try to find harmony. I was rooting for them but I wanted them to remember what they loved about each other to find their way back to each other.

Colin's lifestyle makes it seem like he should be happy and carefree but he's not. He's lonely. He hasn't gotten over the loss of Bea and all the beautiful women he's attached to will never capture his heart. He's never found happiness because his happiness was Bea. He's idolized her in his mind and heart and well that's pretty impossible to compete with.

Annie, poor Annie. She's a flipping mess. Seriously. She's so worried about appearing to have the perfect family that she has anything but that. She needs to start asserting herself so her son can see what a strong woman is capable of, instead of seeing a woman that let's a man walk all over her. I also didn't care for the fact that she thought seeing Colin would be the answer to her problems.  I understand why she wanted to see him but the truth is her crush never went away and we all know the fiction is sometimes better than the reality.

I'm not sure if these 4 friends will remain in contact after their weekend because the glue that held them together, Bea, isn't around.  I felt it was good for all of them to get together to put the past behind them but that there wasn't any room for ongoing friendships. Maybe that's the point as well. Just because you were best friends at one point in your life, doesn't mean you need to be best friends for your whole life. Sometimes friends are in your life for a reason at a certain time to teach you something and some friends are life-long and it's fine to have some of both.

Ms. Scotch always does a fabulous job with pulling you in and making the story relevant to her readers. I'm sure we could also see ourselves or our friends in some of the characters, even if it's the flaws. Flaws are what make us human. There were times when what she wrote made me laugh out loud and times when her words made me tear up.

If you are looking for a novel with complex interpersonal relationships, you won't want to miss In Twenty Year.



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