22 February 2012

Book Review: Red Book by Deborah Copaken Kogan

Ugh, what a disappointment! First of all, I was expecting non-fiction, but that's my fault for not knowing enough about the book when I picked it up. But more importantly, I was expecting something with a LOT more substance than this book has. I read her first book, Shutterbabe, which was the story of her time as a photojournalist in war-torn countries, and it was just great. Reading The Red Book (a story about four women at their 20th year reunion for Harvard University) makes me feel as if the author has somehow sold out, leaving behind her heavy-hitting stories of worldwide strife for a group of standard and cliched tales of suburban life post-graduation. It teeters dangerously on the brink of being one of those, "oh, it's so hard to be a white person of privilege" books. I didn't quite manage to finish this one 'cause I was pretty sure that I'd just want to throw the book across the room if I did.

Marketing is calling this book "The Big Chill for the Facebook generation." I don't think so. I *will* admit, however, that if my expectations had been adjusted downward, I might have been able to enjoy this book more. Readers who love J. Courtney Sullivan's Commencement or those who simply want a light & easy read or those who attended Harvard themselves and also feverishly read their own respective Red Books when they arrive in the mail will probably find enjoyment in this book. 

NB: I requested a copy of this book from my sales rep because I loved Shutterbabe and it will be published in April by Hyperion.  Too bad it doesn't live up to the author's early potential.  


  1. At the very least, it's prompted me to look up and learn what a Red Book is. So hurray!

  2. Oh, no! I was sent this book as well, and have been excited, since I'm a huge fan of The Big Chill. Well, since I have a significantly lower set of standards, maybe I'll enjoy it ;)

  3. Jennifer, if you do read it, I hope you post a review so I can see what you thought of it!


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