The Party by Robyn Harding

Was it me or did Monday drag on forever? I woke up today thinking it was Wednesday, and when it hit me that it was only Tuesday, I wanted to go back to sleep. Luckily, I’ve got an interesting – and infuriating – book for you all today.

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Title: The Party {352 pgs}

Genre: General Fiction

Publication Date: June 6, 2017

Summary:

One invitation. A lifetime of regrets.

Sweet sixteen. It’s an exciting coming of age, a milestone, and a rite of passage. Jeff and Kim Sanders plan on throwing a party for their daughter, Hannah—a sweet girl with good grades and nice friends. Rather than an extravagant, indulgent affair, they invite four girls over for pizza, cake, movies, and a sleepover. What could possibly go wrong?

But things do go wrong, horrifically so. After a tragic accident occurs, Jeff and Kim’s flawless life in a wealthy San Francisco suburb suddenly begins to come apart. In the ugly aftermath, friends become enemies, dark secrets are revealed in the Sanders’ marriage, and the truth about their perfect daughter, Hannah, is exposed.

I have never before read a book where I didn’t like any character. But these characters really took the cake. And that doesn’t translate to me hating the book, not in the least. I really enjoyed this book, and it was mostly due to me not liking any of the characters. I had to find out what happened to them all, because I didn’t want any of them to have a happy ending.

I’m a terrible person.

At Hannah’s sixteenth birthday party, she invites two of her older friends and two new girls who epitomize popularity and coolness. Hannah wants the party to go well, because if it does, then she’ll cement herself as one of the cool girls. But it goes wrong, terribly wrong, and one of the popular girls ends up in the hospital with horrifying injuries. Hannah admits that there had been alcohol and drugs {two big no-no’s on her strict mother’s list of things not to do}, and the girl’s mother, Lisa, decides to go after the Sanders for all their worth. Literally. She wants three million dollars to compensate her daughter’s injuries and trauma.

Three. Million. Dollars.

Look, the Sanders’ are rich, but not that rich. Lisa doesn’t care, though. She goes after them like my cat goes after animal cookies. This is where I started disliking Lisa. I understand she was upset and wanted to blame someone, but she concentrating too much on getting the money and hurting the Sanders rather than listening to her daughter, Ronni. All Ronni wanted was her friends back, and to do that, she wanted her mom to drop the lawsuit, but Lisa justified continuing by saying that Ronni could have the best in life. Translate: Ronni is not going to be able to do anything because of her disfigurement, so three million dollars would set her up for life.

Seriously, that conversation comes up in the book.

Then there are Kim and Jeff Sanders, the parents of Hannah. Kim is Martha Stewart on crack: perfect, strict, and with the highest expectations in the world {except when she almost has an affair with her co-worker, but shhhhh}. No wonder Jeff spends most of his time training for a mythical marathon and working from sunup to sundown. After being served, Kim becomes obsessed with fighting Lisa while Jeff only wants his daughter’s other friend to stop bothering him with sexy texts.

Oh, yes, you read that correctly.

{Also, quick aside: SOCCER MOMS ARE THE ABSOLUTE WORST.}

I guess there was a character that I liked: Aaron, Lisa’s boyfriend. He was the only one who spoke any kind of sense. Lisa convinces herself that the money is going to bring her and Ronni together, a team like they used to be, but she seems more intent on hurting the Sanders, and even admits as much. Aaron tells her, “What she {Ronni} needs is love and support and understanding. Now lawsuits and rage and acrimony.” This is the part of the book where Lisa would wake up and realize what she’s doing to all these people, that she’s destroying the lives of a family and generally ignoring her child’s wishes.

Oh, no, not Lisa. She breaks up with Aaron and tells herself that his truth is not what she needs right then.

Like. Okay, Lisa.

So why did these terrible people make the book good? Because they were real. They had warts and were mean, and sometimes that’s how people get what tragedy hits their lives. I am the first to admit that I hold a grudge, and, if I wanted to look a little closer, I would totally identify with Lisa. I’d be vindictive as heck if this ever happened to my kid, and I know that sounds ridiculous after I just ripped her apart. There were really no happy endings, even though most of the characters seemed to get what they wanted {sort of?}. It was frustrating, but pretty neat to read a book that could mirror real life so closely. There were no perfect bows or epilogue to explain what happened to everyone after the whole lawsuit was over.

So, if you want something real and something that’s going to make you question every friendship that you’ve ever had in your life, pick up this book.

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