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The Divorce Party

by Laura Dave


This novel tells the intertwining stories of two women:  There’s Maggie, a young woman engaged to a man she thinks she knows; and Gwyn, an older woman (and mother of Maggie’s fiancé) who’s launching a divorce party as her marriage falls apart.  The two women have their initial meeting during this turbulent time, which also happens to be the anniversary of the 1938 hurricane.

Set in Montauk, New York, in the present day, the events of the past weigh heavily on all the characters and their struggling relationships.  Maggie learns some shocking revelations about her fiancé's childhood and young adulthood that have her wondering what other secrets he’s been keeping from her.  Gwyn also finds that her husband, Thomas, has dark secrets that could destroy what’s left of the family.

The planned feeding frenzy (complete with a special caterer and Gwyn’s renowned red velvet cake) and the building tensions of all involved culminate during the disastrous divorce party. Intended as a graceful exit to a long and mostly satisfying marriage, the party holds more than a few surprises for the guests and hosts.

Laura Dave deftly weaves together the two stories, plus additional flashbacks to what happened at the house in earlier years.  She also highlights one of society’s newest trends: a divorce party to honor the end of a marriage.  The interesting story that slowly unfolds includes many truisms about relationships. However, despite careful attention to physical descriptions and personality traits of the characters, Dave makes each voice sound the same.  With virtually every character speaking with the same cadence and in the same style, it’s difficult to remember which person said what and to whom. The truisms seem to blend together like the dull roar at a party—divorce or otherwise.  Apart from this shortcoming, The Divorce Party provides a highly readable reflection on the various stages of love.

The Book

April 28, 2009
014311560X / 978-0143115601
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NOTE: Sexuality

The Reviewer

Leslie Halpern
Reviewed 2009
NOTE: Reviewer Leslie Halpern is the author of Reel Romance: The Lovers' Guide to the 100 Best Date Movies, Dreams on Film, A Writer's Guide to Fearless Interviews, and the co-author of Connections: A Collection of Poems. Coming Soon: Passionate About Their Work: Celebrities, Artists, and Experts Discuss Creativity.
© 2009