The latest chronicle of the ongoing adventures of high-school friends now in their 50s, last heard from in Snowy (2002).
Title heroine Snowy is trying to make a fresh start after dealing with bankruptcy and her husband's recent suicide. Weakened by writer's block and a bout of agoraphobia, she is hardly the social butterfly she once was as a popular cheerleader in high school. Often consumed by memories of those days, she spends much of her time reminiscing with old friends and even rekindling a relationship with Tom, a former Gunthwaite High sweetheart. MacDougall does a fine job showing her aging characters trying (sometimes successfully, sometimes not) to live up to their former youthful fabulousness, under the strain of arthritis and extra weight, the temptation of eternal youth through plastic surgery, thinking you know someone and having them surprise you. With time and a little help from her friends, Snowy eventually emerges and slowly rediscovers the joys of traveling and hiking through the mountains of New Hampshire, with lots of chat and good grub along the way. A traumatic incident involving a man with some dynamite shocks her from her writer's block, and for a while it almost seems like all is well–including the fitting high-school reunion finale, during which the friends gather and bask in their old glory. While the story stands well enough on its own, the constant dredging of teenage memories becomes tiresome, as does Snowy's daughter Ruhamah falling in and out of love with mostly the sons of Snowy's friends. MacDougall often resorts to long streams of exposition in order to fill the reader in on events past, but she atones with lively dialogue and adorable protagonists.
Perhaps best suited for already established fans, but there's also enough poignancy and universality to make an impression on those meeting these characters for the first time.