Sarah Sammis's Reviews > The Divorce Party

The Divorce Party by Laura Dave
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's review
Jul 06, 2009

it was ok
bookshelves: review-copy, read-in-2009, released
Read in December, 2009

The Divorce Party has a strong sense of place. It starts with the 1938 hurricane that destroyed most of Montauk Island (off the coast of Long Island). It's the ferocity of the storm that cements their choice to marry. Together they vow that the house will see everything.

Sixty-nine years later the love has gone from the home. Instead of a thirty-fifth wedding anniversary, Gwynn Huntington is planning a divorce party. She and her husband have grown apart as he finds a new religion. Gwynn though knows it's more than just religion and the party is her way of getting a sweet revenge on her husband.

Meanwhile Maggie is coming to terms with learning her fiancé is obscenely wealthy when she's been struggling to make ends meet all her life. She's not sure if their relationship can work but she still decides to go along with Nate to the divorce party.

I loved the setting and the first chapter. I had high hopes for the rest of the novel but Maggie's on-going insecurities quickly became tedius. Maggie wasn't a strong enough character to carry her half of the novel. Meanwhile, Gwynn's constant anger isn't explained until the big reveal near the end. I would have preferred to know earlier the reason behind Gwynn's actions. As she's written she's just a constantly angry and bitter person and that makes her boring and unsympathetic (until the very end).

The strengths of the novel remain in the descriptions of the locations and the understanding of how the place has changed (or not) during the last seven decades. The book could have been something special with more attention to characterization and more foreshadowing.
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