The Romantics by Galt Niederhoffer
On the eve of Lila Hayes and Tom McDevon’s wedding, a group friends reunite after a long separation following their college graduations from Yale. Inseparable during their college years, the group in turn coupled off with each other, leaving Laura the odd one out, but not without a lasting love and adoration requited by Tom. As the friends reunite the night before the wedding for one last hurrah; scandals are exposed, rumors spread, accusations hurled and gossip is the rope that binds them all together.
This is the type of book that took a while for me to enjoy. The beginning was very dry and very “this happened, this happened, he looks like this, she looks like that.” Very passive and telling without being showing. It wasn’t until the toasts had been shared at the rehearsal dinner when I started developing an interest in the characters and their interactions amongst each other. I didn’t like any of the characters. I thought they were all deceptive, needy, rude and all carried a sense of entitlement about them, although I was pushing for the romance between Laura and Tom, there was no one in the book that I could consider myself being friends with. Quite honestly, it made me pause to examine how I act with my friends and ponder if women really are that bitchy and if men really do only think with the lower half of their anatomy.
Galt Niederhoffer did an excellent job examining and critiquing the elitist life of the New Haven upper class yuppies, from the snobbery to the scenery. Although the group was there for Lila and Tom’s wedding, I didn’t feel as if there was one or two dominate perspectives in the narration. Told through third person, Niederhoffer follows the group of friends as they split up into pairs to search for a missing member of their party. It is during this separation when the gossip and ruthlessness of the troupe is revealed. Although a central element throughout the entire book was Tom’s and Laura affection for each other, many other issues were raised that I think sort of cast the romance aside.
The book was released as a movie with a truly wonderful cast earlier this month on Sept. 10th. I’m actually looking forward to seeing the film rendition of this book. I think the novel was written as a prelude to a screenplay. I could visualize the entire setting and would love to see the story come to life. With a cast like Elijah Wood, Candice Bergen and Anna Paquin, its sure to be a success.The Romantics by Galt Niederhoffer St. Martin’s Press, 2008 ISBN 0312373376 277 pages