Wednesday, June 6, 2012

The Divorce Party

The Divorce Party, by Laura Dave.

But maybe she was wrong to assume that Gwyn and Thomas were even fairly comfortable. Even if Nate did grow up out in Montauk. Maybe she was wrong to assume.

"I don't care about that, Nate," she says. "How can you think I'd care about that? Your family's money situation ... it makes no difference to me."

"Really?"

She nods. "I promise you."

"Good," he says, putting his mouth on her forehead. "Because my family has close to half a billion dollars."


I recently reviewed Laura Dave's newest book, The First Husband, and it was great; it only makes sense, then, to read her two previous books, this novel and London is the Best City in America. Dave writes characters that do and say things that are "real" - that could happen to any of us, maybe minus your family having $500,000,000 - and that is what makes her books so great and "readable."

Maggie and Nate are engaged, and they moved to Brooklyn together so that he can open a new restaurant. She still hasn't met his parents yet, but they have invited them to their home in Montauk for a "divorce party" - the two are getting divorced, but amicably, and they want to throw a party to celebrate their 35 years of marriage. When they arrive, Maggie meets Georgia, Nate's unmarried (and un-engaged) pregnant sister, and she tells her a few things about Nate that she didn't know, including the fact that he was married once before. Maggie doesn't know how she feels about this, and must sort out her feelings before the party.

At the same time, Gwyn, Nate's mom, has learned a secret about her husband, and why they are getting divorced (hint: it's NOT because he's recently become interested in Buddhism, as he claims), and she plans to let him know that she knows his secret at the party.

A "divorce party" is an unusual thing indeed, but also quite fitting for this couple. I liked the novel a lot and part of it was that although it was in the third person, there were chapters devoted to Maggie and then chapters devoted to Gwyn, so that the author was able to tell the complete story, rather than just half of it. The characters are all completely relatable, and I think this would make a great movie; throughout it I was thinking that the scenery would look like something out of the TV show Revenge, which takes place in the Hamptons (nearby Montauk).

4 stars out of 5.

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