I had the privilege of reading Allison Winn Scotch’s new book, In Twenty Years, before today’s publication date. I have loved Allison’s other books including, The Theory of Opposites, so I dove into In Twenty Years eagerly and it didn’t disappoint.
The story is about six close friends who live together in college (shout out to Penn, my brother’s alma mater). Their “connector” (don’t we all have friends who keep us linked and in touch?) has them all write a letter to their older selves, twenty years from senior year. Now, as those of us in our 40s know, when you’re in your twenties, the forties seem far off and kinda old, but boy it comes upon us quickly.
The book begins with their letters, which we don’t get to read until the characters reread them in about twenty years.
We were twenty-one. We were allowed to believe impossible things.
In Twenty Years explores the idea of what happens during the years in which we become adults: What happens to friendships, our ideals, our confidence, our goals and aspirations? Can we change and if so, do we change or are we the same really? What secrets do we keep from one another and from ourselves?
I loved the current day challenges that the author dives into, for example, Annie is constantly posting on social media; she consciously posts images with captions that present a happy life to the outside world, one she’s not living or feeling. Through this character, Scotch exposes our cultural obsession with accumulating “likes” and posting “memories” that may not be reality. What is illusion and what is real? I appreciated this theme because I tend to consider this idea often. I also did a lot of research while writing Naked Parenting: Guiding Kids in a Digital World on how these technologies, which can be a fun way to keep in touch, affect our mental health and relationships with our families and real-life, in-person people.
She … refocuses on the task at hand: a suitable filter on Instagram to perhaps whitewash the pinched look on [her son’s] face and thus capture their euphoria (and her very lean biceps and really cute bikini) from their weekend spent in the Hamptons. She settles on one that makes the ocean much bluer than it actually was that day, but the bluer the ocean, the better the picture! And the better the picture, the happier they seem.
Another concept presented is our fame-focused society. Through the characters in In Twenty Years, the reader can examine fame vs. acknowledgement and fame vs. anonymity. I worry a bit about our younger generation’s tendency to prioritize and overvalue fame and In Twenty Years spotlights this for readers to ponder along with the characters.
I found myself highlighting passages that made me think – I love that! Words woven about the passage of time, the unequal nature of love, the stuff of friendships and relationships new and mature.
In Twenty Years is available today. Go download it or pick up your paperback and bring it to the beach this weekend.
About Allison Winn Scotch:
Allison Winn Scotch is the bestselling author of five novels, including THE THEORY OF OPPOSITES, TIME OF MY LIFE, and THE DEPARTMENT OF LOST AND FOUND. Her sixth novel, IN TWENTY YEARS, will be released on July 1st, 2016. In addition to fiction, she pens celebrity profiles for a variety of magazines, which justifies her pop culture obsession and occasionally lends to awesome Facebook status updates. She lives in Los Angeles with her family. For more about her and her books, go to allisonwinn.com or follow her on Twitter at @aswinn.
*Disclosure: I received an advanced reader copy for review purposes and no compensation for this post.
© Copyright Leah DeCesare 2016