Have you ever heard the saying: when it rains it pours? As in: when one bad thing happens, all the bad things happen. That saying should have been the tagline for Hannah Pittard’s newest novel Reunion.
Reunion tells the story of Kate Pulaski, a thirty-something screenwriter struggling to find work and an identity. While waiting for a flight back to Chicago, she receives word that her father, who she hasn’t spoken to in over three years, committed suicide at his home in Atlanta. The news of her father’s passing comes as a surprise, but is even more surprised when her husband, who recently learned of Kate’s infidelities and who knows she can’t afford it, shows up at the airport with a one-way ticket to Georgia. Reluctantly, Kate accepts the ticket and joins her siblings, Elliot and Nell, for a four-day weekend in Georgia.
While the siblings reunite because of their father’s death, each of them is dealing with their own problems as well. Kate is figuring out how to manage loads of debt, a failed marriage and her inability to tell the truth. Elliot is attempting to save his marriage and Nell isn’t enjoying life. Who knew that a tragedy like their fathers death was exactly what they needed to get their lives back in order?
Reunion is a beautifully written first-person narrative that captures a major moment in the life of a dysfunctional family. The fluidity of her prose helps Pittard create a realness not many authors are able to capture; consciousness written in it’s most raw form. Written from the perspective of Kate, Pittard manages to take the reader inside the mind of the character and makes us feel as though we’ve known her since birth. Pittard manages to do this with not only Kate, but with all of her characters. She creates these familiar faces through fantastic storytelling and leaves out the “fluff”. We are thrown immediately into the Pulaski’s lives with hardly any background information and it couldn’t have worked more brilliantly.
What makes this such a great read is that it is not only emotionally charged with situations that should seem familiar to most any reader or that it is darkly hilarious. It’s a great read because it’s honest. Pittard, at times, pushes the envelope with her wit, but manages to blend it perfectly with the honesty that comes after. Kate’s interactions with her “step-mom” Sasha and her soon to be ex-husband Peter are when that honesty truly shines. Kate is willing to admit that she has faults and strives to be better but can’t quite shake the human condition.
Rating: 8.5/10: Reunion is a coming-of-age story about a woman struggling to find her way and while it isn’t the most original, it’s a must read for anyone looking for good storytelling. You won’t want to put it down.