Joana is a conservative, controlling woman who expected much more from marriage; Maria is trying to get back on her feet after being dumped just before her wedding; Filipe hides his broken heart in failed relationships. Is this as good as it gets when you’re thirty something? That’s what these three friends from college times will find out during a dysfunctional dinner party. Because life is not always how we dreamed it would be.
Considered by some ‘The Big Chill’ of the 21st century, this debut novel is all about the end of innocence. Funny, clever and real.
Review: This is a good example of a book that you find yourself reading and enjoying despite not liking any of the characters.
First, there is Joana. Icy, remote, snobby, rigid. Bitchy. She throws a dinner party and gets pissy when people drink all of her wine or don’t appreciate the fine china she uses. She barely gives her husband any attention, and what little she doles out is grudgingly. Sure, he makes her shop discount, but she exacts her pound of flesh in return. Boy, does she. When she finally lashes out, though, you might find yourself even less enchanted with her than you already were. Joana, you see, thinks she deserves whatever she decides to take.
We also meet Felipe, who can best be described as a man whore. He appears to have a good job, but his relationship track record makes George Clooney envious. Poor Felipe, though. He did love at one time, but the object of his affection begged him not to love her. When it appeared that he did, she virtually vanished from his life. Ever since then, he’s made do with one woman after another, allowing them to warm his bed but not his heart.
And lastly, there is Maria. The one relationship she had featured a busted engagement when her fiance left her for a man. Yep. A man. Maria just wants a romantic connection, even if it means getting drunk and cozying up to Felipe. Sometimes you want to smack the mess right out of her. You’ll want to smack Joana and Felipe, too.
The three converge at Joana’s house for her dinner party, complete with Joana’s husband and a few other guests. The wine, beer and pot begin to flow, and of course Things Happen. Some of it you see coming, but there are a few pleasant surprises. This is a well written book in that you keep reading. You feel as if you know the characters and understand them (if not like them), and you become invested in them. Can Joana stop just for one second thinking that she is all kind of fabulous? Can Felipe stop his womanizing? And can Maria stop thinking that she needs a man to be happy?
After you turn thirty, you’re expected to grow up a little. You’re expected to have life somewhat figured out and to know where you want to be and who you want to be. The characters in this book don’t appear to have that quite yet, but the good news is, there might be some hope.