I’ve been drawn to reading more diverse authors/stories lately so I feel a bit of guilt for going back to an old favorite, Richard Russo, an older white guy who writes predominately about old white guys, and this book is no different. That said, why should I fault Russo for writing what he presumably knows and creating layered and interesting characters, and why should I fault myself for reading a good book? I’ve liked every book of his that I read and consider his writing beyond reproach in his attention to character development and this one is no different. I’d recommend it for a new-to-him person, hence my Gateway distinction, because it’s a little shorter than his typical novel and really puts a new spin on the idea that you can’t ever really REALLY no anyone.
This is a story about three old white men, as I said, who were best friends in college, and still more or less in each other’s lives, though getting together at one of their homes at Martha’s Vineyard is the first they have seen each other in a while. They are upper middle aged (is that a thing?) and still lament not knowing what happened to Jacy, the girl they were all in love with who disappeared right after college in 1971, never to be heard from again. We jump POV between the characters, and from the 70s to the present, as we follow along to see if the mystery will ever be solved.
All that said, I gave this one a four rather than a five because the last act went a little off the rails for me, but again, it was an interesting way to show how little we know about people we think we know that well, people we spent our formative years living, learning, laughing, and loving around. Though we may think of some of those people preserved in amber, a lifetime of experiences happen and then BOOM you are an adulty-adult. But, Russo also shows that growing up and growing older aren’t entirely the same thing, and that maybe for all of us, we are just looking around at our lives and wondering how exactly we got here.