I’ve been reading a lot of non-crime novels lately, and I’ve tried an awful lot of books that I like to call dramedy– the novelistic equivalent of tv shows I gravitate to like Parenthood. My favorite dramedy of the batch I’ve read this summer is In Twenty Years by Allison Winn Scotch.
It’s a book about a reunion of college friends as they approach 40, and it’s organized by their friend who died over 10 years ago. It made me weepy in spots, and I was invested very early on in these characters. There’s something about stories about groups of friends that hits me not only because of course, I had a good group of friends in college and it’s hard to maintain those friendships as you move apart and become adults. It’s also a book where everyone is having a crisis of sorts, professionally, personally, and that feels true. And to be honest, it’s nice to read about someone else’s problems instead of dwelling on my own.
But what makes this book stand out for me is that holy moly is there ever catharsis. The plot builds into absurdity, and laughing while crying was great while I read this book. I’ve read all of Allison Winn Scotch’s books, I believe, and this one feels like a big step forward.
I also read the new Emily Giffin, First Comes Love. which was about adult sisters who are still coming to terms with their brother’s death 10 years before. It’s a very talk-y, dialogue-heavy book, and I would have appreciated a bit of a narrator more, I think. Giffin’s male characters tend to be idealized, and this book is no exception. I liked if fine, but it didn’t have the emotional heft of the Scotch book for me.
Disclosure: I received review copies from the publishers.