redbook_coverReviewed by Meg Massey

Every five years, Harvard graduates are asked to submit a short essay about accomplishments and milestones in their lives. These essay are collected and published in a red-covered book, and sent out to classmates. Deborah Copaken Kogan’s The Red Book focuses on four Harvard graduates coming together for their 20th reunion, as well as their family members and other classmates who aided in the shaping of their lives.

Addison is an artist and former lesbian, now married to a male novelist suffering from writer’s block. Mia is a former actress turned stay-at-home mom, and wife to a famous Hollywood director. Jane, a foreign news correspondent, is still mourning the loss of her husband, a war journalist. And Clover is a former securities broker, eager to conceive a child before her fertility window closes. In returning to Harvard, each woman, in her own way, is forced to deal with the choices and mistakes of the past, and how those decisions led to who they are in the present.

While I can certainly appreciate the concept of investigating the life of four friends and how their lives have changed, whether for better or for worse, I’m not sure that The Red Book does this in the most coherent way. Each woman’s story is introduced in its own chapter, and in addition to introducing us to the lives and concerns of each woman, we are introduced to several sets of characters that, in my opinion, were difficult to keep track of. I often found myself re-reading pages to understand who was who. That said, there were several eye-opening and poignant moments within the text that made me think about how complex life is and how quickly our paths can change.

Rating: ★★★☆☆ 

Meg lives in Pennsylvania with her husband, Ryan. Library professional by day, freelance writer by night, Meg writes about life, entertainment and everything in between on her blog.

Review copy was provided free of any obligation by Voice. No monetary or any other form of compensation was received.