Review: The After Party by Anton DiSclafani

July 5, 2016 1950's, Anton DiSclafani, book review, fiction, historical fiction, Riverhead 3

The After Party

  • Written by: Anton Disclafani
  • Published by: Riverhead Books, an imprint of Penguin Random House, May 17, 2016
  • Length: 384 pages
  • Source:  I received an advance copy of the book free of charge from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

From the nationally bestselling author of The Yonahlossee Riding Camp for Girls comes a story of 1950s Texas socialites and the one irresistible, controversial woman at the bright, hot center of it all.

Joan Fortier is the epitome of Texas glamour and the center of the 1950s Houston social scene. Tall, blonde, beautiful, and strong, she dominates the room and the gossip columns. Every man who sees her seems to want her; every woman just wants to be her. But this is a highly ordered world of garden clubs and debutante balls. The money may flow as freely as the oil, but the freedom and power all belong to the men. What happens when a woman of indecorous appetites and desires like Joan wants more? What does it do to her best friend?

Devoted to Joan since childhood, Cece Buchanan is either her chaperone or her partner in crime, depending on whom you ask. But as Joan’s radical behavior escalates, Cece’s perspective shifts—forcing one provocative choice to appear the only one there is.

A thrilling glimpse into the sphere of the rich and beautiful at a memorable moment in history, The After Party unfurls a story of friendship as obsessive, euphoric, consuming, and complicated as any romance.

 

I was thrilled when Riverhead contacted me about receiving an early copy of this book, as I thoroughly enjoyed Ms DiSclafani’s first book.  I felt sure that her sophomore effort would be another tale to get lost in.  I was so right!!  First I’d like to say that there just isn’t enough written about the 1950’s, and the era this book is set in is so exciting.  It’s post WWII and all kinds of new adventures and new money.  Setting this book in Houston was a stroke of genius. It was full of booming oil money and people who didn’t know how to handle the money, the fame etc.  I was born in Dallas Texas and the feeling there was always that Houston was new and flashy money, not refined and still really a cow town.  Anton got all those details correct in this book.

Joan and Cece almost seem like an unlikely pair of best friends.  Cece isn’t an ugly duckling but she is certainly tame in the flamboyant and flashy ways of Joan.  The way Cece idolized Joan at times began to wear on me, but as the story opened up I began to understand more abut her devotion and the deeper relationship she believed she had with Joan.  Cece’s character is much more complex that she originally appears, I enjoyed reading as she discovered herself, and became a different wife, mother and friend.

I completely enjoyed The After Party, finding it often playful and reckless, adults behaving badly, but also finding that the secrets we keep from everyone must eventually be shared, if for nothing else but to protect ourselves and let someone inside just a bit.

I was able to see Anton on her book tour in Tampa Florida at a wonderful bookstore, Oxford Exchange.  If you are ever in town it’s worth stopping by, it’s books, coffee, tea, food, and an array of things to buy that no one really needs.

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I highly recommend The After Party…happy reading.

3 Responses to “Review: The After Party by Anton DiSclafani”

  1. Sarah's Book Shelves

    I felt the same way about CeCe’s devotion to Joan…I started to get really frustrated with her and didn’t feel sorry for her anymore…more just looked at her as kind of pathetic. But, overall, I enjoyed it and put it on my Summer Reading Guide!

  2. Michelle

    I am so glad her second novel lives up to her first! I was so hesitant about reading it, but everyone’s reactions to it have been so favorable that I am now excited again!

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