The Red Book

The Red Book

Deborah Copaken Kogan / Sep 18, 2019

The Red Book The Big Chill meets The Group in Deborah Copaken Kogan s wry lively and irresistible new novel about a once close circle of friends at their twentieth college reunion Clover Addison Mia and Jane

  • Title: The Red Book
  • Author: Deborah Copaken Kogan
  • ISBN: 9781401340827
  • Page: 278
  • Format: Hardcover
  • The Big Chill meets The Group in Deborah Copaken Kogan s wry, lively, and irresistible new novel about a once close circle of friends at their twentieth college reunion.Clover, Addison, Mia, and Jane were roommates at Harvard until their graduation in 1989 Clover, homeschooled on a commune by mixed race parents, felt woefully out of place, both among the East Coast eliteThe Big Chill meets The Group in Deborah Copaken Kogan s wry, lively, and irresistible new novel about a once close circle of friends at their twentieth college reunion Clover, Addison, Mia, and Jane were roommates at Harvard until their graduation in 1989 Clover, homeschooled on a commune by mixed race parents, felt woefully out of place, both among the East Coast elite and within the social milieu of her prep schooled beau, Bucky Addison yearned to shed the burden of her Mayflower heritage, finding escape in both art and in the arms of another woman Mia mined the depths of her suburban ennui to enact brilliant performances on the Harvard stage, including a heartrending turn as Nora in A Doll s House Jane, an adopted Vietnamese war orphan, made sense of her fractured world through words, spending long hours as an editor at the Crimson Twenty years later, all their lives are in free fall Clover, once a securities broker with Lehman, is out of a job and struggling to reproduce before her fertility window slams shut Addison s marriage to a writer s blocked novelist is as stale as her so called career as a painter, as troubled as her children s psyches, and as mismanaged as her trust fund Hollywood shut its gold plated gates to Mia, who now stays home with her four children, renovating and acquiring faster than her director husband can pay the bills Jane, the Paris bureau chief for a newspaper whose foreign bureaus are now shuttered, is caught in a vortex of loss, having lost her journalist husband the father of her young child to war, her adoptive mother to cancer, and quite possibly her current partner due to an errant email Like all Harvard grads, they ve kept abreast of one another via the red book, a class report published every five years, containing brief autobiographical essays by fellow alumni But there s the story we tell the world, and then there s the real story, as these former classmates will learn during their twentieth reunion weekend, when they arrive with their families, their histories, their dashed dreams, and their secret yearnings to a relationship changing, score settling, unforgettable weekend.

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      • Deborah Copaken Kogan

        Deborah Copaken Kogan Is a well-known author, some of his books are a fascination for readers like in the The Red Book book, this is one of the most wanted Deborah Copaken Kogan author readers around the world.


    1. Ugh, what a disappointment! First of all, I was expecting non-fiction, but that's my fault for not knowing enough about the book when I picked it up. But more importantly, I was expecting something with a LOT more substance than this book has. I read her first book, Shutterbabe, which was the story of her time as a photojournalist in war-torn countries, and it was just great. Reading Red Book makes me feel as if the author has somehow sold out, leaving behind her heavy-hitting stories for a grou [...]

    2. The “red book” is an anniversary chronicle that is passed to Harvard alumni every five years, asking them for basic information, such as address, email, occupation, spouse/partner, children, if any, and a concise summary of the past half-decade of their lives. The author uses this framework to enlarge on these capsulized lives of several 1989 graduates, and constructs an ensemble comedy/drama that entertains as it engages, moves while it thrills. The central story focuses on four women who g [...]

    3. There's chick lit, and then there's drivel. This was the latter. Badly written, badly plotted, and preachy to boot? can't even really explain why I read it, except that it was on my Kindle and I wanted something "light". Feel sort of tawdry now. This type of book can be a frothy delight - see for example the Liane Moriarity I just read. And what woman who grew up in the 80s will ever forget Lace ("which one of you bitches is my mother?") or Judith Krantz or her trashy British doppelganger Jilly [...]

    4. The Red Book was hard for me to get into because it starts with the least sympathetic character, then proceeds to introduce a number of characters it's nearly impossible to keep track of, hopping in and out of all their heads like an especially psychologically perceptive housefly. By the tenth page, I had decided that, in spite of my interest in Ivy League culture and love of Boston, I was not the right audience for this book. But I'm not a reader who gives up easily, and I found that by the mid [...]

    5. I’m ambivalent about this book. This is not the usual for me, so bear with me while I try to make some sense of my own thoughts.The premise, I think, is fantastic. A bunch of Harvard alumni coming together for their twentieth reunion, bringing with them their lives, loves, children, and emotional baggage. It could have been a profoundly moving book, but somewhere in there it began to lose some of its wit and spark. I think the main problem is that the characters are all quite unlikeable. It se [...]

    6. Hugely disappointing. I was looking forward to well-written, juicy old-fashioned "four girls from college reconnect" novel (believe me, it's an actual genre) but this one's big mess. Look, if you're writing a novel about four separate individuals and giving four different POVs, do not make each woman sound EXACTLY THE SAME. Never mind the bad writing, it's really confusing for the reader. The tone veers from drama to comedy (sort of) but not in a good way. There's a lot of weirdly gross detail a [...]

    7. I had never heard of Harvard's Red Book before I recently read Deborah Copaken Kogan's novel, The Red Book. Every five years, Harvard compiles a book filled with short essays written by each graduate, sharing what they have been up to in the past five years.The actual Red Book made headlines recently when infamous graduate Ted Kazcynski, the man known to the world as the Unabomber, returned his questionnaire listing his occupation as 'prisoner' and under the awards section, wrote 'eight life sen [...]

    8. Somewhat enjoyable look behind the curtain at Harvard. Few characters to care about, but the ones about whom you did care, were barely fleshed out and were not provided a decent end to their story arc. Set-ups to major plot points were so obvious that by the time you got to that part of the book, you are already over it and have moved on to whatever it is that gave you hope for a climactic end.Bottom line: if you like you stories about overly self absorbed Ivy league twats who, while facing thei [...]

    9. What fun--a book about people my age who were much, much smarter in high school. (It's well-written, and enjoyable so far.) I liked this book, particularly the interesting way of telling the stories (making use of the Red Book). A lot of Gen X cliche, but one part in particular bothered me in its predictability. I did enjoy the characters, though this method of writing about them didn't allow for a large amount of depth. It would be interesting to have had a bit more.

    10. I read this one recent Sunday.n in the afternoon and did not put it down until I finished at two in the morning.a lovely and rare indulgence. I found the failures and triumphs of these women poignant, beautifully describedd relevant. Yes they are privileged, but oh so very human. Kogan's ability to describe moments of intimate human interaction shimmers. Enjoy

    11. "I am stronger than I thought I was and weaker than I'd hoped to be, and in between those two extremes is a little thing like life."Four friends, roommates in college, come back to their twentieth year reunion at Harvard. All of them struggling with their own personal crises, and all of them helping and hurting themselves, their friends, and their children in the process. Kogan carefully navigates the banalities of four women's lives and gives an introspective to being a "40 something" so intere [...]

    12. There are three inescapable truths about human beings: the way we see ourselves, the way we are perceived by others, and the way we actually exist. A twenty-year class reunion is the perfect venue to display all three views, as the attendees meet, mix, mingle and migrate through survival of the event. In "The Red Book", Deborah Copaken Kogan serves us a slice of Harvard Pie, as the lives of four roommates from the class of '89 are detailed and given a fortyish mid-life checkup as they reunite af [...]

    13. Though I did not know about "The Red Book" (Harvard alumni publication) before picking up this book at the library, I was immediately drawn to it because (1) I graduated from college in 1989, the same year as the alums in this book (at their 20th reunion) and (2) I worked at private schools and wrote and edited class notes for alumnae/alumni publications. I found this to be a fun and enjoyable read, and eventually bought it for my e-reader. (Yes, library books do create book/e-sales.) I think it [...]

    14. So many of us try to project that we have the perfect life, when in reality it is anything but. These four roomates are struggling, Jane with her boyfriend having cheated on her while she was away in the states, Clover with her husband's indifference with their struggle with infertility, Addison, with her rocky marriage and figuring out she has no attraction to her husband, and Mia whose life seems like a fairy tale but her husband is hiding a secret. I have to be honest I thought the beginning [...]

    15. Terrific writing; likeable, complex characters; and an anti-Puritanical morality that I didn't quite mesh with. This was a fascinating account of four friends and their families as they meet up for Harvard's 20th reunion. Amazing how much happens over a three day weekend. This is the book that Seating Arrangements was trying to be, but this one actually succeeds: telling the story of looking back on life lived, and looking forward to how to continue living that life. Great book, even if I did pr [...]

    16. It’s the 20th reunion at Harvard for a group of diverse women friends whom we meet initially through their “Red Book” entries. This could have been a run of the mill novel but it is anything but. It’s a terrifically intelligent and funny novel with sharp observations about family, friendship, death, aging, secrets and infidelity. All the characters were very genuine and the dialogue natural, making for a thumbs up reading experience

    17. This book was wonderful! Even though there were many characters introduced throughout, it wasn't confusing and I felt like I got to know each one. I actually laughed and cried as I read The Red Book, and would recommend it to anyone who enjoys a character-driven story.

    18. At first, I thought 'Ooh, I quite liked this' but the more it sat with me, the angrier I got about it. A strange reaction perhaps, but I felt disappointed by the predictability of the plot.The red book of the title refers to the red book that is sent out before every Harvard reunion, filled with everyone's updates for the past five years. Every entry includes the basic stats: name, address, contact, spouse/kids etc, as well as a little paragraph or two explaining where they're at. Considering th [...]

    19. The Red Book by Deborah Copaken Kogan refers to an actual red book published and distributed by Harvard to its alumni, where everyone’s whereabouts, occupation, and marital status are listed, as well as essays about what they’ve been up to in the past five years. There’s a quaint formality to this tradition, especially in the age of Facebook and the ability of most people to be “Googlable,” but it also forces each alum to regularly take stock of his/her life and be held accountable to [...]

    20. I like this book but didn't like any of the characters. I really like the author, but have many differences of opinion with her.I'm glad I read Ms Kogan's previous non fiction book first. She therein revealed her fascination with the Harvard Alumni "Red Book" and her desire to create a "Big Chill" for her generation. She successfully does this.The author is a fascinating, worldly woman. Not a trust fund child, a working person. A former war photographer in Afghanistan, and now a Vespa riding, fr [...]

    21. Every five years, the Harvard alumni office asks the graduates of a particular class to fill out an entry about what they've been up to for the last few years. These entries make up the "Red Book", which is circulated to all members of that class. This novel is set at the 20th year reunion weekend of four women who were roommates at Harvard. It is interspersed with fictionalised "Red Book" entries, which take you through the lives and loves of the Class of 1989, as they make the journey from col [...]

    22. I really loved this author's previous book, Between Here and April, and so I was eager to read this new book and then I was very disappointed when I read it. Though there were only four main characters, and two of the four had distinctively different backgrounds, it was still very difficult to keep the characters straight. And then add on their children, their spouses, their old college friends and so forth and the cast of characters got way out of control. The "Red Book" itself, is the book Har [...]

    23. Having finished -- though I admit to closing the book during the memorial section - I will update my thoughts. I read the final insert that tells me what each of the four main characters wrote in the Red Book five years after the reunion central to this story. I only wish the entire book was as lively, engaging, lyric and fun to read as were these entries. I realize now that what was most difficult in reading this book, was the inclusion of too many plodding sections, more details than useful to [...]

    24. "Red book" is apparently the book sent out to all Harvard alumni every 5 years to catch everybody up on where everyone is in life (this is a foreign concept to me, having graduated from the 30,000+ student body of UC/Berkeley). This book centers around a group of old Harvard friends who reconvene at the 20th anniversary reunion. It's an ensemble piece, with lots of spouses, kids, and random acquaintances to fill in the story. It was sort of a guilty pleasure almost like a soap opera but not quit [...]

    25. I couldn't decide between 3 or 4 stars, but judging the book on what is essentially is - a really good beach read - merits the 4 star treatment. Contrary to other reviewers, I did not find it too difficult to keep up with the many characters and in fact enjoyed the way the story was presented. Sure it doesn't allow for in depth character development, but that us not the purpose of this book. I also do not understand the reviews that complain of a lack of sympathetic characters. Given a choice be [...]

    26. Oh, how I love a four girls book! And this one met many of my guilty pleasure needs for this sort of thing: four very different privileged girls / women at school (or in this case, returning for their reunion), friends despite the fact that they have little in common but for their shared past, confronting some sort of challenge In this case, I could buy into these four being friends, despite their differences, and I enjoyed the author's exploration of the choices they'd made and the consequences [...]

    27. Coincidentally I read this a couple of weeks after I read fem classic “The Group” and this is very The Groupe-esque, though not nearly as good. The Red Book follows four girls who graduated together from Harvard although, unlike its predecessor, we meet them twenty years later at their reunion instead of immediately after graduation. Honestly, I don’t have much to say about this. I didn’t really care about any of the characters. They weren’t unlikeable, they just weren’t memorable. A [...]

    28. What a well written, interesting and really fun book to read. The characters are flawed and engrossing and on the edge of unrealistic but in a way that didn't bother me at all.Clover, Addison, Jane, and Mia are Harvard, class of '89, former roommates, at their 20 year reunion. I am Vassar, class of '88 and my three former housemates are still my best friends (two of whom are on my good reads friends list!), so the book pushed my buttons in a positive way (though I missed my 20 year reunion, and [...]

    29. An engrossing book in which he characters become more and more compelling throughout. I grew to really care about many of them. This is a beautifully written, thoughtful and, at times, very funny take on life, love and our lack of control over much of it. I liked the writing so much (including the acknowledgements at the end) that I went to the author's website which was filled with links to her books, pieces and Today Show interviews. Ok, have I become a literary stalker!!!

    30. I thought about putting this down several times because it didn't really hold my interest. Also, the author goes out of her way to drive home her idea that ALL relationships will inevitably involve an infidelity. No matter how safe you think you are, or how well you know your partner, give it up, she seems to imply, human beings are going to cheat on each other. I found that frustrating.Overall a mildly entertaining read but on the vapid, gossipy side.

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