Monday, June 19, 2017

The Party by Robyn Harding

This book expertly illustrates how "trying to fit in" and "having it all" can go terribly wrong.  Jeff and Kim Sanders plan a small sweet 16 sleepover for their daughter Hannah.  Kim, who is extremely controlling and prides herself on her mothering, reads the riot act about alcohol, drugs and boys - then has a glass of wine and an Ambient and hears nothing else before Hannah awakes her in tears, blood on her hands.

Jeff  is extremely unhappy in his marriage because he feels Kim is treating him like one of the children after a transgression about a year before.  Behind Kim's back he buys Hannah and her friends a bottle of champagne to share at the party.

Hannah is trying desperately to get in with the popular girls, Lauren and Ronni.  So will do anything to impress them - including asking her other less popular friends to make sure they act like mature "mean girls" too.

Not unexpectedly things get out of control at the party and Ronni is severely injured.  Her single mother is angry and wants to blame someone so sues Jeff and Kim for three million dollars - money they would only have if they liquidate every asset they accumulated in building the comfortable life they so cherish.

The remainder of the book deals with the aftermath of the party and the lawsuit.  It brings to light secrets of many of the people involved and shows the tensions between family members, friends and even co-workers.  I particularly liked the ending which seemed to show growth on the part of the parents, but that Hannah, who during the lawsuit was actually more mature than the adults involved, was still vulnerable to peer pressure.

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