Published by Grand Central Publishing on Oct. 7, 2014
Genres: Family Drama
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Five minutes before her flight is due to take off, Kate Pulaski learns that her estranged father has killed himself. Although she’s more surprised than saddened to hear the news, she reluctantly changes her travel plans and flies to Atlanta to meet her brother and sister, four of her father’s former wives, and her numerous half-siblings. Together, they say farewell to the man who meant many different things to many different people.
Although it’s a difficult journey for many reasons, Kate’s father’s death provides a brief escape from her messy life. Her once-promising career as a screenwriter is failing, and her marriage is on the rocks in the wake of an infidelity on Kate’s part. Parting from her furious husband is difficult for Kate, who is trying to make amends, but it gives her the distance she needs to re-evaluate her life and what she wants out of it.
I really loved this book. Kate is one of my favorite characters that I’ve read in a long time. She’s a total mess: She’s cynical and sarcastic and dishonest, she feels like her husband doesn’t listen to her, and she is deathly afraid of her brother and sister learning what a mess she has made of her life. I loved her and couldn’t help rooting for her, despite her flaws.
In addition to being driven by a fantastic character, Reunion is a great dysfunctional family reunion novel. Families have such unique dynamics, and it’s always fascinating to see them reunite — especially when they don’t come together entirely willingly. The Pulaski family (if you can call it that, with all of its separate factions) comes together for a funeral, and each member has very strong, complicated opinions about the other members. It was really interesting to see how Kate and her two siblings perceived some of the wives and children when they arrived and how their relationships changed over the course of four days. Also fascinating to see was the way Kate’s perception of her father — and herself — changes throughout her stay. Reunion explores an interesting concept: What do we do when we realize how much we have in common with the people we have spent our lives reviling?
Reunion is a compelling, compulsively readable novel about a woman whose father’s death has consequences she never could have expected. I highly recommend it.
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