Let’s Get Back to the Party | Arc Review

Happy PUB DAY to this book and happy Tuesday to you lovely people! I cannot believe we are already halfway through this month. 2021 has so far seem to be flying by! Does anyone else feel that way? I’m not sure what I have been doing with my time, Some days I feel like I don’t even have a minute to breathe, and the next- I have watched almost a whole season of Schitt’s Creek. Anyway, so I had to buckle down and get some reading done because new books just keep coming out and I need them all! HAHA
So without further ado, I present my review of Let’s Get Back to the Party!!!

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What Does It Mean to Be a Gay Man Today?

It’s just weeks after the historic Supreme Court marriage equality ruling, and all Sebastian Mote wants is to settle down. A high school art history teacher, newly single and desperately lonely, he envies his queer students their freedom to live openly the youth he lost to fear and shame.  

So when he runs into his childhood friend Oscar Burnham at a wedding in Washington, D.C., he can’t help but see it as a second chance. Now thirty-five, the men haven’t seen each other in a decade. But Oscar has no interest in their shared history. Instead, he’s outraged by what he sees as the death of gay culture: bars overrun with bachelorette parties; friends getting married, having babies.

While Oscar and Sebastian struggle to find their place in a rapidly changing world, each is drawn into a cross-generational friendship that treads the line between envy and obsession: Sebastian with one of his students and Oscar with an older icon of the AIDS era. And as they collide again and again, both men must come reckon not just with one another, but with themselves.

Rich with sharply drawn characters and contemporary detail, provocative, and emotionally profound, Let’s Get Back to the Party is sure to appeal to readers of Garth Greenwell, Alan Hollinghurst, Claire Messud, and Rebecca Makkai.

Before I proceed with my review, I would like to put out a disclaimer. I try to make sure when I pick my books that I am making a conscious effort to support all my bipoc, own voice, lgbtqia+ authors and friends. That being said, though I am an ally for the lgbtqia+ community, I cannot speak first hand for the pain and problems they have to deal with so please read my review with that in mind. I would implore you to also read reviews by members and readers of the lgbtqia+ community to get a more accurate judgment of this book.

A very heartfelt debut, Let’s Get Back to the Party is told from dual perspectives of two friends who have floated in and out of each other’s lives throughout life. Sebastian and Oscar are both flawed characters, so you could read into the rawness and trauma of the characters. This book is candid in how the characters talk about how they don’t belong and feeling out of place in society is exhausting. That being sad, I thought the characters were well-developed even if I found it hard to root for them at times.

What did not work for me in this book was the writing style. The long chapters unfortunately had me zoning out more often than not. There was also an issue with the usage of quotation marks. Some sections included it, and some did not. While it did not necessarily take away from the overall story, it was just a bit hard for me to stay focused. Fortunately, I ended up getting approved for the audio by Workman Audio, so I was able to listen to the second half which worked a lot better for me.

While I did have some difficulties with the writing of the book, I would still recommend this book to people, because I think as messy and unrelatable as the characters are, they are human and in their own complicated ways, they are just trying to navigate their way through life.

Let’s Get Back to the Party is definitely a thought-provoking story, because it explores what it means for individuals to be a part of a larger community while highlighting the struggles and prejudices gay men continue to face in today’s society.

If you are someone like me who is not a fan of long chapters, or get bothered with the lack of quotation marks, I highly recommend the audio!

**Many thanks to Algonquin Books, Zak Salih, and Workman Audio for providing me with a review copy and the audiobook in exchange for my honest review.

Book Details:
Title: Let’s Get Back to the Party
Author: Zak Salih
Publication Date: February 16, 2021
Genre: LGBTQIA+, Contemporary

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

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