It’s all there. The deaths of parents, spouses, classmates; the births of children; prostate cancer, depression, money made and money lost, triumphs and tailspins; oceans crossed (or swum) and mountains hiked; dodging mortar in Afghanistan; and, in a few terrible instances, the kind of family tragedies we screen from our conscious minds to get through the day. 
The readers are also the writers; they can open these books and read about themselves and their roommates, their friends and rivals, old flames . . .  who’s happy, who’s depressed? Whose children turned out great, whose are still “finding themselves”? Who’s rich, who’s not? One contributor put it in simple binary terms: “Things I’ve done well/Things I’ve done poorly.”

Deborah Copaken Kogan was intrigued by the real-life idea of people updating their lives every five years in print for all (or at least Harvard alums) to read.  She speculated at the honesty.  Do they write about what is really going on in their lives (for the most part, probably not)?  Do they sugar-coat, exaggerate, or pour their hearts out knowing that someone will read their words?  It is with these questions in mind that she begins her fictionalized account Harvard's Red Book.
The four main characters - Clover, Addison, Mia and Jane have just gathered, with their families, for their 20th Harvard reunion.  We are introduced to them by their Red Book entries - so we know the stories that they have written about their lives for all of the others to read.  Through the course of the weekend, we discover the truth behind those words, and how the trajectories that they assumed their lives would take upon graduation, have landed them in places very different from where they thought. The weekend proves to be a wake up call - in varying degrees - for all four women ~ it is the catalyst they need to change course.  By the end of the book, when we are reading the Red Book entries for their 25th reunion, we see women who have begun the work of living lives that bring them joy.
A bit predictable?  Perhaps.  And I would never have as calmly accepted some the antics of their children over the reunion weekend - but I really, really enjoyed this story.  And - I am now, nearly 30 years after The Big Chill, in a place where I can look back and reflect on how the anticipated trajectory of my own life is so very different from the path it actually took - and how I am exactly where I think I was meant to be ~ though closer to the ocean would be great!