Monday, February 5, 2018

Book Review: 'In Twenty Years' by Allison Winn Scotch

Los Angeles author Allison Winn Scotch is the bestselling author of six novels - THE THEORY OF OPPOSITES, TIME OF MY LIFE, THE DEPARTMENT OF LOST AND FOUND, THE ONE I WANT, THE SONG REMAINS THE SAME and now IN TWENTY YEARS. She also pens celebrity profiles for a variety of magazines, which justifies her pop culture obsession.

Allison understands the need to connect with her readers from page one and in providing a Prologue the lifts this fine dissection of friendship to a high level: ‘Admittedly, it was an overly nostalgic idea. But, so what? If there were ever a time for nostalgia, it was tonight, our last night together at Penn, our last night under the same roof, our last night as a six-point star. Besides, if I didn’t insist on it, none of them would have been willing. Frankly, and this is the part that somersaulted my stomach, none of them would have even considered it, thought of it in the first place. Well, maybe Annie. Annie would have considered it, but she’d never have spoken up because she’d worry that we’d all call her cornball or cheesy or judge her in some way for loving us more than we loved her. We didn’t. We all loved one another equally. Or maybe not. I like to think we did.’ And with this introduction we immediately care about the group of people we are about to meet and follow through the highs, lows, tangles, and morphosed stages of friendship over the course of twenty years.

The synopsis supplied finesses the plot well – ‘Twenty years ago, six Penn students shared a house, naively certain that their friendships would endure—until the death of their ringleader and dear friend Bea splintered the group for good. Now, mostly estranged from one another, the remaining five reluctantly gather at that same house on the eve of what would have been Bea’s fortieth birthday. But along with the return of the friends come old grudges, unrequited feelings, and buried secrets. Catherine, the CEO of a domestic empire, and Owen, a stay-at-home dad, were picture-perfect college sweethearts—but now teeter on the brink of disaster. Lindy, a well-known musician, is pushing middle age in an industry that’s all about youth and slowly self-destructing as she grapples with her own identity. Behind his smile, handsome plastic surgeon Colin harbors the heartbreaking truth about his own history with Bea. And Annie carefully curates her life on Instagram and Facebook, keeping up appearances so she doesn’t have to face the truth about her own empty reality. Reunited in the place where so many dreams began, and bolstered by the hope of healing, each of them is forced to confront the past.’

In Allison’s cluster of six lives and their separate journeys and protected memories we see parts of ourselves and the friends who shape our lives and share our particular space on the planet. At once entertaining to read and deeply thought provoking, this book proves that Allison Winn Scotch has earned her status as a best selling author. Grady Harp, July 16

Editor's note: This review has been published with the permission of Grady Harp. Like what you read? Subscribe to the SFRB's free daily email notice so you can be up-to-date on our latest articles. Scroll up this page to the sign-up field on your right.

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