Jen Lancaster’s Here I Go Again is about high school reunions.

    Twenty years after ruling the halls of her suburban Chicago high school, Lissy Ryder doesn’t understand why her glory days ended. Back then, she was worshipped…beloved…feared. Present day, not so much. She’s been pink-slipped from her high-paying job, dumped by her husband and kicked out of her condo. Now, at thirty-seven, she’s struggling to start a business out of her parents’ garage and sleeping under the hair-band posters in her old bedroom. 

    Lissy finally realizes karma is the only bitch bigger than she was. Her present is miserable because of her past. But it’s not like she can go back in time and change who she was…or can she?

    So I’m going to tell a story about my 10-year reunion.

    It started, of course, with a Facebook group.  Unlike the Facebook group created to honor our dead but still quite popular high school football coach, everything in the title of the reunion planning group was spelled correctly.  (He was an amazing couch.)

    I joined the group immediately.  I thought it would be interesting to see people, catch up.  Mostly I thought “enough time has passed.”  I don’t carry any crazy resentments or anything, and I can’t think of any reason anybody else would have to be angry with me, but either way.  I just figured enough time had passed for everyone, you know?

    Ten years is not enough time.

    Within a couple of days, the “planning” had degenerated into people accusing each other of thinking they were better than everyone else – like always – and others chiming in with accusations of irresponsibility regarding some fund we supposedly had to pay for this reunion.  I left the group without ever posting a single word and RSVPd “no” to the reunion.

    Shortly before the reunion, one of my classmates was arrested for murder of her infant.  She has been linked to but not yet charged with two other baby deaths.  Three total hidden pregnancies + dead babies.  I got FB messages and Twitter messages from reporters looking to talk to people who had known her, and I was FB friends with her because dozens of people had requested me when I joined the reunion group.  I didn’t know her, not even in high school, I ignored all of the messages.  But I was also glad I wasn’t at the reunion, because man, there’s nothing that will bring down a crowd faster than reminiscing about that recently arrested alleged murderer classmate, right?

    So switching topics, a bit, do you guys remember that older woman who wrote the review of the Olive Garden in the Grand Forks, North Dakota newspaper, and it went super viral, and everybody was like “is this lady serious?  She’s critiquing the ambiance of an Olive Garden?”  Well, those who knew her realized that it was a SCATHING review.  If she was talking about the curtains and the murals and the wait staff, she was just being a North Dakotan.  You talk about what you can talk about without being cruel.  It’s not lying, you know.  It’s just polite.

    As a NoDak myself, I respect that.

    This is a paid review for BlogHer Book Club, but the opinions expressed in this post are entirely my own.