Wednesday, July 22, 2020

TEENAGERS PARTYING--WHAT COULD GO WRONG? FIND OUT IN ROBYN HARDING'S "THE PARTY"!

Interview with Robyn Harding on "The Party"

"It was Hannah's birthday today--sweet sixteen--she was having a slumber party. So why was she here in the small hours of the morning ? Was she crying? As Kim [Hannah's Mom] struggled for lucidity, she realized something was terribly wrong. Tears streamed down Hannah's face and there was something on her hands. . . something dark and wet, glistening in the faint glow of the LED clock radio . . . Blood." 

And so the adventure begins in Robyn Harding's 2017 book "The Party" published by Pocket Books. It is important to note that "The Party" was a finalist for the 2018 Arthur Ellis awards, which recognizes the best Canadian crime writing, for best novel. Film rights for the book were picked up by The Gotham Group in 2017.

The Sanders family are an upper middle class family living in an exclusive neighborhood in San Francisco. Hannah Sanders is turning 16 and her parents--Kim & Jeff Sanders--are letting her have a sleepover with 4 friends. 2 of them are the most popular girls in her high school who have recently admitted Hannah into their clique and 2 of them are from Hannah's less popular days. Kim has made it very clear to the girls, no booze no drugs, no boys. And of course they break these rules and something terrible happens.

In the aftermath. one mother decides to sue Hannah's parents and the plot becomes convoluted as the Sanders try to evade the consequences of that tragic evening. In telling the tale, the author writes each chapter from the perspective of a different character. As the story unfolds, you can see how the flaws of each character catapult them from one disaster to another. Overall, the book is a very exciting and absorbing read, full of secrets, lies, and betrayals. After a while, it becomes difficult to put the book down. As a parent of teenagers myself, it is really scary to read this book because you could easily see how any family could end up being victimized by a situation like this.

For those who are interested, there is a section at the end for book clubs providing "topics and questions for discussion." In a commentary introducing this section, there is an insightful remark as follows, "[this book] reveals the complicated matter of what it means to be human while cautioning us that it is what is inside of us--and not how people perceive us--that truly matters most."

Robyn Harding, the author of this book, is a Canadian. She has written several books, some contemporary women's literature, a YA book and a memoir. Her short bio at the end posted on the Simon & Shuster website is as follows: Robyn Harding is the author of several books, including the international bestseller, The Party, and wrote and executive produced an independent film. She was born in Vancouver, BC, and continues to live there with her husband and two children. Visit her at RobynHarding.com or follow her on Twitter and Instagram, @RHardingWriter or Facebook, @AuthorRobynHarding. In addition to that, it is worth noting that she was adopted, and she also worked in advertising for seven years. Perhaps that explains how many characters in her novels also work in advertising!

The cover art for "The Party" is quite striking. It has a teenager's face with a single eye dominating the image. Unfortunately, there is no mention of who the artist is. In contrast, the interior design is attributed to Davina Mock-Maniscalco. 

Robyn Harding is represented by The Gersh Group including Joe Veltre, Matt Bass, and Bob Hohman. Unfortunately, their website isn't very accessible, but the following is their self-description, "Our clients are regular winners and nominees of many awards, including, but not limited to, the Emmys, Golden Globes, Writer’s Guild, Director’s Guild, and others. Our proactive approach makes us an ideal agency for both the emerging and the established artist as we partner with them, combining talent with hard work and strategic smarts to create opportunities for our clients." Wikipedia has a nice little blurb about the agency at the following link:


Apparently, Gersh has implemented pay cuts and furloughed support staff during the Covid-19 crisis, but anticipate returning to full gear once it is over.



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