This book is the perfect summer read. With vivid characters, a gorgeous sense of place, and a plot that will keep you gripped throughout, this is just the sort of book for reading on the beach, on a plane, or in my case while curled up with an iced tea and a pile of cats.
The story follows Elizabeth, Andrew and Zoe, college friends who have grown up together, and are now settled and happy (or should that be happy-ish?) in Brooklyn. As their own offspring reach adulthood, the trio have to face the challenges of growing up and passing the baton of adulthood on to the next generation.
I love how Straub writes the relationships – they feel real and rich. As each character takes their turn narrating and sharing their side of things, you begin to empathise with their point of view, meaning that their behaviour and reactions become more human, and more understandable. I enjoyed how willing Straub was to explore the miniature crises we all face as we move through life; from college stress to separation, from the lost-ness of adulthood to the realisation we all have in our thirties or forties that we are the grown ups now. Each character is brilliantly drawn, with a true humanity – there are no heroes or villains in this tale, just humans in all their flawed glory. Kind, jealous, petty, forgiving, loving, angry humans. At points I found some of the characters a little pretentious or jarring, but as the book unfolded it dawned on me that I was meant to feel this way!
I love the way Straub writes about Brooklyn. Zoe, Andrew and Elizabeth live in the same little area, and I could just see the stoops of the houses, feel the warmth of the New York summer, smell the aroma of cooking drifting from Hyacinth…
This is a classic four out of five book for me – a great, fun read, full of wit and wisdom. Well worth packing for your summer holiday!
Disclaimer: I was provided with a proof copy in return for an honest review. Thank you, Michael Joseph!