A funny, gossipy and ultimately poignant novel about four Gen X teen friends turned 21st-century adults who awkwardly come back together to confront an influential teacher whose brutal remarks have haunted them all for years.
In his early forties, nonprofit writer Tip Murray is just getting past the wreckage of his youth and settling into semi-humdrum married New England domesticity. Things take an unusual turn when he receives shocking news from his high school best friend, hippie farmer Natalie, that one of their former teammates from speech team, Pete, has committed suicide. Surprisingly mentioned in Pete’s final Facebook post? A devastating comment made to him by their speech team coach, Gary Gold.
Feeling nostalgic for their 80s adolescence, Tip and Nat decide to reconnect with two long lost friends from the team, haughty menswear designer Anthony and tightly wound college professor Jennifer. The reunited quartet quickly discover an unsettling thread: all were quietly wounded by Mr. Gold’s deeply cutting remarks. The silver lining? Gold is still alive, and a quick Google search shows that he has retired to Florida. There’s only one thing left to do: fly down to a posh resort to confront him. What happens next is far from what any of them could have imagined.
Fueled by cringe-y confrontations and 80s nostalgia, a literary mashup of The Breakfast Club and The Big Chill, Speech Team explores what it means to take account of the pain that can suffuse a life and what it means, years on, to move forward.