Garnet, a poet, resides in the fictional western New York village of Haven. Retired bookstore manager, she is a loving sister, bitter ex-wife, devoted aunt, failure as a mother, and doting owner of an imperious Great Pyrenees, Vera. Her increasingly confused ex, the philandering Bowie, lives down the street where he is having second thoughts about their split. Garnet will turn seventy in a few months and she wants no fuss made. Her family is determined to ignore her wishes and throw a big surprise party, but things do not go well.
Praise for An Invitation to the Party
"MJ Werthman White’s An Invitation to the Party is a novel full of depth and heart that explores the complications of a complicated family with plenty of wit and empathy to go around. The success of this wise, endearing tale lies in a most memorable main character, Garnett, who is not going gently into any good night. White’s background as a poet helps her create a compressed, nuanced style that draws readers into every single scene—every moment, every brief exchange. A masterful book by a writer who never misses a beat."
—Jim Ray Daniels (Jim Daniels), author of The Perp Walk and Gun Shy
"Garnet Delaney is turning 70. She misses the rotary telephone and the satisfaction of slamming down the receiver. And sometimes she thinks her entire family could use a refresher course in adult behavior. In this humorous, tongue-in-cheek novel, MJ Werthman White celebrates the uncertainties of aging, with characters so deftly drawn they already feel like family. An Invitation to the Party is the novel you will invite your friends to read, again and again."
—Cathryn Essinger, author of The Apricot and the Moon
"At a time when the world feels so disconnected and mean, I adored this warm, funny, moving book about real community and connection. Trust me, this is an invitation you want to accept."
—Katrina Kittle, author of The Kindness of Strangers
"It’s impossible not to be completely captivated by this wonderful novel and its memorable cast of characters. With a potent mix of wit and empathy, MJ Werthman White shines a bright light on the American heartland, illuminating all the extraordinary facets of ordinary life."
—Joanna Scott, author of Excuse Me While I Disappear and Careers for Women
—In An Invitation to the Party Garnet tempers her keenly observed Truths with a capital T with crackling sarcasm, not only transcending grief, rage, fear, and consideration of imminent mortality, but also leading the reader to a resonant, sustaining gratitude long after the final page has been turned."
—Kimberly Willardson, editor of The Vincent Brothers Review