This in-depth look at a group of neighbors makes for an interesting read, although it starts off way too slowly. Six neighbors and three children get together for a barbeque when something goes wrong. The tease of what happens at the barbeque isn’t revealed until halfway through this lengthy book. The telling of the story fluctuates between the time period after the barbeque and the day of the barbeque. During the first half of the book, you can see the effects of whatever happened on these people but you don’t really understand why until half way through the book. I found that to be annoying. I think the author would have been better off if she had started the book by telling about the day of the barbeque and then went into how it affects everyone and the divisions and guilt that are exposed. For some reason, the first half of this book reminded me of the TV series, “The Slap”, and I kept wondering if something similar had happened at this barbeque. At least with “The Slap”, the incident is revealed at the beginning.
That being said, don’t let the slowness of the first half of the book discourage you completely. There is more to the book than what actually happened at the barbeque. Even after that is revealed, there are other facts to be disclosed. I found the characters to be likeable and I cared about them, even while I sometimes found them to be immature and a bit irritating. There are many layers to this book. The complex relationships between these people, their marriages and their pasts are quite intensely explored and I found some of those sections very interesting and enjoyable. I just felt that the structure of the book wasn’t the best means of presenting the story.