By David Burnett
The Reunion is a complicated love story between Michael and Allison who after years of marriage still love and adore each other. But unresolved issues from their past threaten to destroy their life together.
This Reunion poses the question, is true love enough to conquer personal insecurities, desires, and good and bad choices made?
Once a vivacious, outgoing, popular, and talented artist and runner, Michael chose to follow in his father’s footsteps becoming a successful, yet rather staid and dull Estate Lawyer. Now he works for clients he doesn’t necessarily like, jogs around the neighborhood, and can’t remember the last time he’s picked up his sketchpad.
Married for twenty-seven years to Allison, he has become everything she wants him to be. A partner in well established aw firm. Respected in the community, a good husband and provider to their strong-willed daughter Alicia. Much to Allison’s relief Michael’s art ambition dwindled to nothing.
Alicia thinks her Mom, is so tightly bound by her own rules and insistence at keeping them, she has bestowed her the nickname, St Allison. Control is an issue for Allison, and her teaching vocation demonstrates her need to keep everything under her reign.
Allison’s life operates according to the rules she has written for her and her family. Add to this, her need to conform to what she thinks society expects from her, and her strong Catholic faith. Pursuing passions, or living life to its full potential, are to Allison, just frivolous notions.
A letter arrives inviting them to attend Michael’s high school reunion. Allison is all in favor of going. Michael is reluctant to reconnect with people he hasn’t seen for twenty or so years. Allison’s powers of persuasion work, and they go.
The theme for the reunion is “Turn Back the Clock,” and as Michael’s old school pals, in particular Linda, recount the stories, a picture of a younger Michael emerges. He was fun, mischievous, popular, and a talented artist. A far cry from the self-described dull lawyer he has become.
A few days after the reunion Allison leaves to take her students on their annual week long Literary Tour. On the morning of her departure, Michael drops Allison off at school. While waving the bus off, he bumps into an old college friend, Stephanie. A keen runner, she is still in great shape, vivacious, and now an ambitious lawyer who has not forgotten the man who had years ago broken her heart.
Incidentally, Stephanie is married to Bill, a teacher at Allison’s school.
Inspired by the confidence of his old school friends, Michael decides to “pick up his sketch pad” again and rediscover his artistic talent. Stephanie, once his running arch rival convinces him to lace up his running shoes again.
Allison is aghast as to the changes her husband is making. After all what will the partners at the law firm think?
An opportunity arises for Michael to apply to attend Art School for one month in New York. Much to the horror of Allison, he applies and is accepted. As Michael rekindles his love of art and running, Allison shuns any real interest in supporting her husband.
Deep seeded insecurities drive Allison to the point of hurting those she loves the most. Her own frailties and lack of trust become her own worst enemies.
With her husband busy with his work, the gym or in his art studio. Allison immerses herself in work, and decides to attend a work conference. Held an eight-hour drive away from home, another teacher accompanies her for this life changing road trip.
I enjoyed The Reunion, in particular Michael’s character. He had the courage to rediscover his passion, and to live life. On the other hand, his wife was to a point his “wet blanket” letting her insecurities, high morals, and need to remain in control, almost threaten to destroy everything she holds so dear.
Allison had it all, but never seemed to be happy.
I found Bill and Stephanie to be totally deserving of each other. Bill is only motivated by self-interest, and his actions, in particular his anger outburst are totally reprehensible.
Set in the South, The Reunion reflects the intricacies’ and personality of the region.
The Reunion is more than a complicated love story. Readers will enjoy the journey into the artistic world, and the discovery of some of England’s most magnificent historic landmarks.