Tuesday, June 6, 2017

The Party by Robyn Harding

It's Hannah's sweet sixteen, but rather than a massive and expensive to do, Jeff and Kim Sanders have agreed to a small get together of girls sleeping over at their house. Kim is very clear about the rules - no booze, no drugs, and no boys - but Hannah has always been a good girl. The same can be said about her two best friends. But Kim knows one of the other attendees can be a bit wild and the fourth girl is a complete unknown. 

Hannah has only just been accepted into the popular crowd at school and she doesn't want anything to ruin that. But when things get out of control and one of her friends ends up in the hospital, she's forced to look closely at the choices she's made. 

Gossip and judgement run rife in their community in the weeks after the party and Jeff, Kim, and Hannah find themselves at the center. As the pressure and scrutiny become more intense, the whole family begins to buckle. Secrets and lies are revealed and everyone has chosen sides. 

The first thing I have to say about The Party is that not one of the characters is likable or sympathetic. And I think that's the point. Each of them - Kim, Jeff, and Hannah - are self motivated and self absorbed. And it's clear from the very start as Kim kicks off the tale.

Kim and Jeff have a strained marriage. Jeff had an incident that Kim holds over his head and that judgement from his wife has forced Jeff to focus his energy elsewhere. Running, biking, working out... all of it's an excuse to stay away from Kim and their home.

But Jeff's no better. He makes terrible decisions, as becomes clear as the story continues.

Hannah is a little easier to empathize with simply by being a teen. Most people likely recall what it's like trying to fit in and much of her story revolves, at least in the beginning, around keeping her boyfriend happy. But again, as the story continues, the reader hopes time and again that she'll make the right choice.

I know this is meant to appeal to readers of Liane Moriarty, and it may for some readers. For me, however, the draw was simply in finding out the truth about what happened at the party itself. I wasn't emotionally invested in any of these characters. In fact, it was almost a sick sense of voyeurism watching them tear their family and lives further apart. It was certainly page turning, but not all that amusing in the end.

Rating: 3/5

1 comment:

Lori's Reading Corner said...

I've had this one for a bit and have been debating back and forth on reading it.