What starts out as a story of teenagers taking themselves too seriously ends up being an examination of serious concerns
4/5 Black Cat Former lovers Kat and Cedar – now in their 30s and strangers – remember things differently. Not a big deal; 20 years passing after high school will distort a shared memory. But it matters a bit more when a publisher picks up Kat’s memoir. The two meet up so Cedar can read over the manuscript and verify that he won’t sue her once it’s out.
Boudinot’s debut novel exists on two planes. Before we even know it, we’re reading Kat’s memoir – a look back at an ’80s summer in Washington state, in which the two dabbled in love, fumbled through sex and stumbled into adult problems. Interspersed are the older Kat and Cedar, meeting up for the first time in years in a hotel, flirting with their former selves and reigniting their 20-year-old tension.
What starts out as a fairly standard story of teenagers taking themselves too seriously ends up being a funny and finely hewn examination of serious concerns. There are the writerly ones – the question of who owns the story, what can be trusted in any individual’s account. But Boudinot is after something more universal: how good intentions can lead to terrible endings. Jonathan Messinger