Twenty years ago, six Penn students shared a house, naively certain that their friendships would endure—until the death of their ringleader and dear friend Bea splintered the group for good. Now, mostly estranged from one another, the remaining five reluctantly gather at that same house on the eve of what would have been Bea’s fortieth birthday.

Their story began in 1998, and now, on the Fourth of July that would have been Bea’s fortieth birthday, they converge upon the house they once shared. The house that Bea had secretly bought, with the ultimate plan of bringing them all together again.

In Twenty Years was a story of friendships that unraveled, and how each of the five remaining friends struggled with their quests to find themselves.

Annie was probably the most insecure of them all, hoping to rise above her “trailer trash” past. Trying to attain a kind of perfection she imagined in the others would make her road rocky.

Lindy was brazen, in many ways. Loud, opinionated, and brash. She became a success in the movie business, but beneath it all is the hidden, and unrequited love from the past.

Catherine and Owen had been a couple back then…and still are. But there is a chasm growing between them. Catherine’s Domestic Goddess role in her company is falling down around her, and she fears that she will be exposed as a fraud. Owen, a stay-at-home dad, feels bored and worthless.

Then there is Colin, a successful LA plastic surgeon. He remains unattached…but why is he unable to commit?

Alternately narrated by the five characters, we get to see more of their struggles, and in each of their voices. We are also shown Bea’s voice, in the prologue, and in a letter at the end. There is a sense of her hovering presence throughout.

By the time we neared the end, however, I was bored with them and their narcissistic quests, as they bemoaned the choices they had made. Could they not realize how happy Bea would have been to live and make her own choices…and mistakes? I was glad to be done with them. However, in all fairness, the writing was great, the dialogue showcased how they interacted, and made me think that, despite their flaws, they were interesting people. 4 stars.

ratings worms 4-cropped***