Guest Post by Cindy Dale
In Let’s Not Do That Again, Grant Ginder, himself a former political speech writer, has concocted an entertaining, immensely satisfying romp of a novel that definitively proves that just when you think things can’t get worse, you are very, very wrong. They most certainly can.
Tolstoy famously wrote, “All happy families are alike; each unhappy family is unhappy in its own way.” The same can be said of dysfunctional families, and it applies in spades when that family is in politics. Introducing the Harrisons. Mom, a NY congresswoman who inherited her seat from her long-dead husband, is now running for US Senate. Add her two semi-adult children to the mix—Nick, a gay, adjunct at NYU who’s working on a musical based on the works of Joan Didion on the side—and Greta, who, though a Yale grad, is currently living in a hovel in Brooklyn and working part-time at the Apple store. Greta manages to hook-up with the wrong guy, Xavier, on an online gaming site. Xavier lures her to Paris. He, of course, turns out to be a neo-Nazi anarchist, and sparks (as well as champagne bottles) soon fly—literally and figuratively. The dysfunctional son is soon dispatched to Paris to rescue the dysfunctional daughter and, hopefully, save the floundering election in the process.
The story hops from NYC to Paris and back again. The story is further fueled by viral social media posts, lust/love, the mystery of dear old dad’s death, and a meddling mother-in-law who loves Degas. There’s also Nick’s dreamy new beau, FBI agent Charlie, who factors in nicely at the end. Readers will find themselves quoting lines of dialogue from the book to friends (especially for democrats) and laughing out loud. Chekov’s adage about a gun in the first act must be fired by the final act applies here as well. Only it’s not a gun this time. All the plot lines come together brilliantly at the end. This is Ginder’s fifth novel and while I’ve never read his work before, I’ll be checking out his earlier novels as the summer reading season begins. We could all use a little comic relief these days.
Let’s Not Do That Again by Grant Ginder. Henry Holt and Co., April 2022
Reviewer bio: Cindy Dale has published over twenty short stories in literary journals and anthologies. She lives on a barrier beach off the coast of Long Island.