Wednesday, July 9, 2008

book review: the divorce party by laura dave

I was quite excited to read Laura Dave's newest book, The Divorce Party. Everywhere I turned, reviewers were loving it, and I thought her first book, London is the Best City in America, was rather genius, and my favorite book I've read this year.

The Divorce Party is excellent, but it's not quite as good as London is the Best City in America. It's not fair to compare the two, but Dave's signature storytelling ways are present. She manages to tell the story of three couples and their love during one day. Dave is a gifted storyteller. She manages to tell the back story little by little so it enhances the present narrative. With so much background, it could easily overtake the present events. Instead, the past and present come together beautifully. The Divorce Party is told through the perspective of two women. Maggie, who is engaged to Nate, and Nate's mother, Gwyn, who meets Maggie for the first time the day of her divorce party. It's a smart novel that manages to be both tragic and hopeful. It's a lovely portrait of one family, and Dave uses their stories to brilliantly depict so many visions of love over the course of a lifetime.

Laura Dave is one of the finest writers I've read, and I think it's unfortunate she's stuck with the moniker of a "smart chick lit writer". Although her books deal with love and relationships, the stories are about life. Don't most novels deal with love and relationships? Why must Dave be banished to the "romance" section of the library? I dare say, if she were a man, she would simply a literary fiction writer. Read her books; they're beautifully written novels with amazing characters.

Rating: 5 stars (life-changingly good)

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