🐞 🐞 🐞 🐞
Henry Holt and Co.
July 9, 2019
I received an ARC of this book through Booksparks, as part of their Summer Reading Challenge. Booksparks is a marketing company for authors and publishers, and creator of the uber popular Instagram community of #booksharks. Booksharks are book influencers—yes, there is such a thing, and, yes, I am one of them! We write reviews, post pics of books, talk about what’s new and what books love. It’s actually a pretty fun group to be a part of.
Anyhoo, I applied and was chosen to be an event ambassador for this book, The Last Book Party. The author, Karen Dukess, will be speaking about her book at my favorite local book store, so I get to attend and meet her and hopefully contribute positively to her book campaign experience and presentation. I’m really looking forward to it. 😀
Thankfully, I’m thrilled to say that I genuinely enjoyed this book! (Or else wouldn’t that have been awkward….) Set in 1987, The Last Book Party follows 25-year old Eve Rosen. Eve loves books and wants to be a writer—which is why she applied for a job in a publishing house in the first place. But she hates her low-level position and is especially discouraged when she’s passed up for a promotion that should have been hers.
Disillusioned and ready for a change, she quits and miraculously finds a new job working for a famous (and charming) writer, Henry Grey. An accomplished author and frequent columnist for The New Yorker, Henry introduces Eve to the world of the literary elite. At first, Eve is intoxicated by Henry, his wife, his son, and his friends. Everyone seems so posh, cultured, and effortlessly cool. When she’s invited to the family’s infamous Book Party, where every partygoer is expected to dress up as their favorite book character, Eve spends months planning her outfit. But as time goes on and Eve is drawn deeper into this glamorous world, she also realizes just how much drama is simmering below the surface: judgment, condescension, jealousy, humiliation, infidelity, suspicion, and plenty of secrets. Eve doesn’t know it yet, but she’s about to have a summer she’s never going to forget.
The Last Book Party is a quietly thrilling period piece about a very tight-knit group of successful artists in the 80s. It has a Gatsby feel to it, so even though most people (including myself) aren’t going to be able to totally relate to the rich and famous characters, it’s still very fun—albeit a little sad—to watch All The Privileged Lives unravel. Truthfully, I didn’t particularly like Eve, not at the novel’s start, and not by its end, either. But she so perfectly embodies the angsty lostness of a young, 20-something-year old woman—the longing and the deep need to feel “a part of” at any cost. I hate to say it, but…sigh. Girl, I’ve been there. (Just a lot poorer and with fewer connections.)
Overall, this ended up being a lovely and thought-provoking read. The book felt much shorter than its 256 pages, and I sailed through it in only a couple days. With all the book’s drama, I’m really looking forward to hearing the backstory from Dukess herself. I think someone’s been living a much more interesting life than I have…
Thank you to Booksparks for the ARC!