Sometimes in my reading journey I come across a book that I just don’t vibe with. I’m not someone who needs to completely relate to the characters or who has to find something of themselves on the page. But sometimes the book I’m reading just doesn’t work for me. With “Let’s Get Back to the Party,” I was eager to read about the queer experience in today’s day and age. Instead, I got a book that was filled with sexual exploits that didn’t really do much to further the plot or to explain characters’ motivations.
The book is told from two alternating perspectives: Sebastian, a lonely teacher who becomes infatuated with one of his gay students, and Oscar, a man who becomes obsessed with a has-been writer. The two men were friends in childhood and continue to cross paths now that they’re both adults living in Washington D.C. Both are gay men who struggle to find love and connection. Sebastian desperately wants to find a partner to settle down with and Oscar is disgusted with conventional marriage (and thinks that straight people have commodified gay culture). Although they have interesting perspectives, their two obsessions take over most of the story (even though the reader is treated to a few flashbacks to their childhoods).
I really liked the two points of view because I enjoy when the same event is told from multiple perspectives (a la that Showtime show, “The Affair.”) And I thought the author did a great job fleshing out two characters who could not possibly be more different from each other. However, these factors weren’t enough for me to connect with the characters on anything more than a surface level. Plus, the addition of too much sex didn’t help me better understand the characters – just left me disconnected from the text.
I think this book could find an audience (especially with queer folks who can relate to a common experience) but I wanted way more substance.
*Free ARC provided by Algonquin Books*