I received a copy of The After Party by Anton DiSclafani from First To Read. This was first book I had ever read of hers, but I am definitely following the author now. The book takes us through the social stratosphere that was Texas in the 1950’s, with a few snippets from the past courtesy of one of our main characters Cece. The flow of the book is smooth and interesting, you’re never bored and nothing seems superfluous.
While the money flows freely, it is understood that the men are the ones with the power. It is simply understood that the women get together, have fun, and grow to have a family. There is only one that knew this would not work for her. Cece’s best friend since birth, Joan, is gorgeous and fun glittering like the brightest diamond. All the money in the world, though, will never be enough for her without power. As her most devoted friend, Cece excuses the excess of behavior, always there for her and forever waiting.
Cece’s mother died when she was fifteen and her father moved away to live with a long term mistress who quickly became his wife. Cece goes to live with Joan and her parents. That year, when Joan disappears, things are up in the air. The rumor is that Hollywood was calling her name. Cece is left behind, hurt and rudderless. It is now that she will meet the second great love of her life (let’s face it, it may not be romantic love but Joan was the first), Ray. For the first time in her life, Joan’s right hand was seen- and desired- only for herself. When Joan returns a year later, Ray is not thrilled. He doesn’t understand their relationship. But he loves Cece. While the couple court, Joan and Cece live in an apartment. Joan is even more wild- drinking to excess and behaving badly- especially with boys. Girls-ladies- just don’t do these things in this time.
Ray and Cece get married and have a little boy, Tommy. Life is beautiful, but Cece worries. Tommy, for one, seems slow to develop. He isn’t talking and while Ray wants another baby, Cece fears that she is messing up the one they have. And then there’s Joan. Worrying about her beautiful friend is ingrained. Only Joan has the power to slay her, when she leaves Cece behind. It drives Ray crazy.
When issues with Joan escalate too far, Cece finally gets some answers as to what happened in the past- and what is happening now. Her love and loyalty to Joan nearly costs Cece her family; and in the end she has to say goodbye to the girl she never knew-and yet knew best.
I loved this story with it’s beauty and pain. There was so much money, so much privilege, but was it worth anything? This story clearly displays all the pain that can be hidden behind a jeweled smile. I give the book five stars.
This book will be out this Tuesday (5-17-2016), go get it!
As far as the Adult Content Scale goes, I give it a seven. There is a lot of drinking, some talk of drugs and the book is mildly sexually explicit.
Link to book: