Wednesday, March 15, 2017

The After Party

The After Party by Anton DiSclafani              Audio Book:  10 hours   Book:   384 pages              

The story starts out in the 1950s and runs through the 1960s in Houston, Texas.    Anton DiSclafani really takes the reader back to that time when a lot of people smoked cigarettes, drank cocktails before dinner, ladies stayed home while their husbands worked and those ladies wore their hair in bouffants.    Driving a Cadillac was a major status symbol.    Eisenhower was president.    Ladies in Houston maintained the custom of the old south with Debutante Balls where young ladies were introduced to Houston Society and generally met the young man there that she would later marry.     But, not everyone intended to go along with the program, like Joan Fortier for instance.    The Fortiers were likely the richest family in their social group.   The Fortiers had everything, money, status, respect.     Joan was her father’s darling and he doted on her but her mother tried to run roughshod over her and keep Joan in line which wasn’t always easy.     Joan was her own person and chose not to obey all the social refinements her mother tried so hard to instill in her.    Joan’s best friend was CeCe Buchanan.     Cece’s family was comfortable but not gosh awful wealthy like the Fortiers, but, something in CeCe’s loving spirit calmed Joan and CeCe seemed to be the only one Joan would listen to and the only person who could keep her in line, sometimes.   Like I said, Joan was her own person afterall and had her own ideas on things, boys, things she wanted to do with those boys, she had big dreams of going to Hollywood and becoming a star.    Joan’s personality was bigger than the state of Texas.   Joan was larger than life (always) and just couldn’t be contained by things like social morals.    She loved to have a good time whether that meant hanging with the girls in school or hanging out drinking with boys under the bleachers and later in taverns.    Joan liked to sing and dance and have a good time.     She loved doing things to upset the invisible code they all lived under in their social set.    Joan loved to laugh and have a good time wherever she was and whoever she was with .    That was frowned upon by polite folks in town.    Money covers a lot and Joan was always being written about in generally glowing terms in the ladies section of the local newspaper though sometimes the photos seemed to tell a different story and women were certainly talking behind their hands to one another about her risqué behavior!    Cece a friend for life.    The friend who is always there and has your back, who defends her best friend no matter what to everyone including later when Cece’s husband thinks they might be lesbians.   The story keeps you interested because Joan is so entertaining you honestly never know what she is going to do next and with who!    Cece is so completely obsessed with Joan that you figure she is either going to go mental or get into some kind of big trouble being Joan’s partner in crime as she bails her out of one thing after the other and gets frantic when Joan up and disappears one day.    Cece’s devotion keeps you guessing and the truly detailed way Anton takes you back to the day down to the last detail, if you are a fan of the time when most of the kitchen appliances were  olive green and the men all seemed like Jon Hamm’s character in “Mad Men,”  you will love this story.    Bravo, Anton DiSclafani!     

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