Old School Ties by Kate Harrison
Friends – and enemies – reunited! They say your school days are the best days of your life and Tracey Mortimer would agree. Sixteen years ago she ruled! She was the most popular girl in school, had her own gang and was dating the cutest guy in her year. Now she’s 32, stuck in a dull marriage that’s only tolerable because her philandering builder husband is rarely at home. And though Tracey loves her two kids, a daily diet of alphabetti spaghetti and the Tweenies, isn’t exactly thrilling…Then Tracey spots an ad from a TV company wanting to make a reality-style show on a perfect school reunion. She jumps at the chance to relive the ‘good old days’. Only some of Tracey’s classmates don’t remember their schooldays as fondly…Suzanne Sharp is more interested in revenge than a reunion. Tracey made her teenage years a misery and what better way to lay the past to rest than to get payback on national television. Especially as there are a few old school secrets that Tracey probably wouldn’t want broadcast on national TV, not least of which is Tracey’s affair with her old form tutor…
This is the second Kate Harrison novel I have completed, and I really enjoyed it. I read it in a day as I was eager to know what was going to happen. The protagonist, Tracey, is looking for more enjoyment in her life. Stuck at home with two small children and a husband who is often away, and often playing away from home. When a chance to get on TV and host a class reunion comes up Tracey jumps at the chance. Her memory of school is different from others – she remembers being popular and cool, whilst others, like Suzanne Sharp remember her as a bully, and Gary remembers having his heart broken by her when he discovers that she has an affair with her form tutor.
This is an interesting book in that I didn’t favour any of the characters, but I liked the story and kept reading for that reason. It was a book I couldn’t put down – what a great storyline! It makes me wonder how people I went to school with remember our time there. Mind you – I was just a normal girl with a close group of friends, I wasn’t bullied in secondary school and I wasn’t the most popular. Tracey however, seemed to be both popular and the bully. I was interested to see how her memories differed from others. Gary didn’t want to see her and Suzanne wanted revenge. Watching the story unfold was great! It was like watching reality TV! I felt a bit sorry for Tracey when things started to crumble, but I wasn’t too gutted for her because she wasn’t the best character.
I found it fascinating reading how different people think they are received, and how they actually are. Tracey bugged me if I’m going to be honest. When she realised how she treated people she seemed to find excuses. She blamed her friend Melanie – if she hadn’t hung around with her Tracey would have been nice. I didn’t know what to make of Suzanne. She was lovely with the children but I wanted to tell her to “get over it”. She was holding onto a grudge that I thought she should let go of. I didn’t like Dave, Tracey’s husband. He cheated on his wife and didn’t really like his children. I got angry reading his character – he was just a horrible man. Although I didn’t have a favourite character, I did have feelings towards to the characters and engaged with them, which makes for a good read.
The ending was not a whole surprising but I liked how Harrison played out the reunion. It seemed realistic enough – with people remembering events and people in different ways. It was a fascinating read and an interesting look at society. There were some parts of the story that could have been focused on more, such as Tracey and her form tutor, and I think Harrison took the easy route there. Overall, however, this was a good read. This is fun chick-lit and I enjoyed it. I would give it 4/5 and will be reading more of her books in the future.