The Invaders – Karolina Waclawiak
I bring you this review from a hayfevery bed of tissues and olbus oil. So, forgive any anthistamine induced craziness in this post! I will, despite my allergies, tell you about the latest book I acquired from NetGalley, the Invaders.
Over the course of a summer in a wealthy Connecticut community, a forty-something woman and her college-age stepson’s lives fall apart in a series of violent shocks.
Cheryl has never been the right kind of country-club wife. She’s always felt like an outsider, and now, in her mid-forties—facing the harsh realities of aging while her marriage disintegrates and her troubled stepson, Teddy, is kicked out of college—she feels cast adrift by the sparkling seaside community of Little Neck Cove, Connecticut. So when Teddy shows up at home just as a storm brewing off the coast threatens to destroy the precarious safe haven of the cove, she joins him in an epic downward spiral.
The Invaders, a searing follow-up to Karolina Waclawiak’s critically acclaimed debut novel, How to Get Into the Twin Palms, casts a harsh light on the glossy sheen of even the most “perfect” lives in America’s exclusive beach communities. With sharp wit and dark humor, The Invaders exposes the lies and insecurities that run like faultlines through our culture, threatening to pitch bored housewives, pill-popping children, and suspicious neighbors headlong into the suburban abyss.
This reminded me a lot of the Private Lives of Pippa Lee, rich white women, with wealthy husbands that don’t excite them any more, surrounded by other rich, white ladies that don’t appreciate them as much as they would like. This is much darker than that, much longer and lingers in the mind long after its finished. The first few pages are a little tiresome, like, I am white, I already know that white people are privileged, I don’t need to hear about how wonderful their lives are living at the beach, going to the club house etc, but then it starts to get interesting. Cheryl might be rich, white and privileged, but she is not in the same league as her peers, they laugh at her, she and her husband are stuck in a rut and her step son is having a few problems. The story becomes more and more engaging as it goes on. Without giving away too much of the plot, there is a lot going on that I was not expecting from the cover. It is dark. VERY DARK, perhaps the best thing about it is the complete destruction of white privilege, which let’s be honest, sort of needs to happen.
I usually give trigger warnings in reviews for books, but I feel like I’m not going to be able to do that without giving too much away… Basically, this book takes you by surprise and packs a bit of a punch!