written by Cynthia D’Aprix Sweeney
published by Ecco, 2016
Did I enjoy this book: I loved this book. I loved the dysfunctional family as if it were my own. The characters were developed very well, and it was easy to know which chapter was about which sibling. I also liked how some of the secondary characters were brought to the front when the next piece of the puzzle needed to be set.
The one character that never grew on me was Leo. There were times when I questioned what he was doing, but most of the time I wanted to punch him in the face. He didn’t know how to treat someone well, and I don’t believe he was even trying very hard to be part of his family. However, I think that is really what Sweeney wanted you to feel.
I wasn’t bored with any part of this book. I wanted to keep reading and was willing to stay up into the wee hours of the morning to do so. I even ended up crying sentimental tears at the end and texting a friend from book club to share my emotions.
“Nothing was a sure thing; every choice was just an educated guess, or a leap into a mysterious abyss. People might not change but their incentives should.”
Would I recommend it: Definitely! Read this one!
About the book – from Goodreads: A warm, funny and acutely perceptive debut novel about four adult siblings and the fate of the shared inheritance that has shaped their choices and their lives.
Every family has its problems. But even among the most troubled, the Plumb family stands out as spectacularly dysfunctional. Years of simmering tensions finally reach a breaking point on an unseasonably cold afternoon in New York City as Melody, Beatrice, and Jack Plumb gather to confront their charismatic and reckless older brother, Leo, freshly released from rehab. Months earlier, an inebriated Leo got behind the wheel of a car with a nineteen-year-old waitress as his passenger. The ensuing accident has endangered the Plumbs joint trust fund, “The Nest,” which they are months away from finally receiving. Meant by their deceased father to be a modest mid-life supplement, the Plumb siblings have watched The Nest’s value soar along with the stock market and have been counting on the money to solve a number of self-inflicted problems.
Melody, a wife and mother in an upscale suburb, has an unwieldy mortgage and looming college tuition for her twin teenage daughters. Jack, an antiques dealer, has secretly borrowed against the beach cottage he shares with his husband, Walker, to keep his store open. And Bea, a once-promising short-story writer, just can’t seem to finish her overdue novel. Can Leo rescue his siblings and, by extension, the people they love? Or will everyone need to reimagine the future they’ve envisioned? Brought together as never before, Leo, Melody, Jack, and Beatrice must grapple with old resentments, present-day truths, and the significant emotional and financial toll of the accident, as well as finally acknowledge the choices they have made in their own lives.
This is a story about the power of family, the possibilities of friendship, the ways we depend upon one another and the ways we let one another down. In this tender, entertaining, and deftly written debut, Sweeney brings a remarkable cast of characters to life to illuminate what money does to relationships, what happens to our ambitions over the course of time, and the fraught yet unbreakable ties we share with those we love.