Monday, August 1, 2016

The Nest by Cynthia D'Aprix Sweeney

Title: The Nest
Author: Cynthia D'Aprix Sweeney
Publisher: HarperCollins Canada
Format: Trade Paperback
Source: Purchased
On Sale Date: March 22, 2016

Synopsis from the publisher's website:

A wickedly smart, funny and deeply felt debut novel about four adult siblings and the fate of their long depended-upon family inheritance

On a wintry afternoon in New York City, Melody, Beatrice and Jack Plumb gather to confront their charismatic and reckless older brother, Leo, who has just been released from rehab. Leo’s bad behavior before entering rehab, culminating in a car crash while under the influence—a nineteen-year-old waitress beside him—has left the Plumbs’ joint trust fund—“The Nest,” as they’ve taken to calling it—endangered. All four siblings, at very different places in their lives, believe that this money will solve a host of self-inflicted problems and their consequences. And until Leo’s accident, they’d been mere months away from receiving it.

Can Leo get the Plumbs out of this mess, as he’s always been able to do for himself before? Or will the Plumb siblings have to do without the money and the future lives they’ve envisioned? As the siblings grapple with family tensions, old histories, and the significant emotional and financial cost of the accident, Sweeney introduces an unforgettable cast of supporting characters: Leo’s stalwart ex-girlfriend who now thinks that maybe, just maybe, he is capable of change; the waitress whose life was shattered in the accident; the Iraqi war veteran who falls in love with her; and a retired, grieving firefighter with a very big secret.

Tender, funny and deftly written, The Nest explores what money does to relationships, what happens to our ambitions over the course of our lives, and the fraught but unbreakable ties we have with our families.

Prior to being released, I noticed advertisements and reviews for The Nest almost everywhere I went. There was so much buzz and hype around it. I read the synopsis and was really intrigued by the premise and just couldn't wait for the book to finally come. I read the book immediately after buying it. After three nights of reading, I put the book down and sad to say, it just wasn't my cup of tea.

I'm giving the book three stars because I did enjoy the writing. It was an easy read that clearly expressed the writers vision. Where it all went downhill for me were the characters. Each one of the Plumb siblings and their mother were self absorbed and nauseatingly shallow. I could not find a way to emotionally relate to any of them. Each time I tried they would do something that just made my skin crawl. Most of my feelings towards these characters are likely the way they are because I come from a large, tight knit family. I can't even imagine what it would be like to have one of the Plumbs be a part of it.

Though my dislike for these characters is clear, the one lesson learned that I will take with me from this book is to not promise a lump sum of money to my children while I am still alive...this of course is assuming I'll have a lump sum to leave them. In the Plumb's case, knowing that their father's money would be there "one day" lead to each one of their downfalls.

The Nest appears to still have some hype circulating around it. If you're a foodie, a recent Toronto Star article lists a few restaurant recommendations, inspired by the book, located around the city.

My final thought: If readers can get over the mental hump of disliking the characters, then, The Nest will provide them with an entertaining read about one of the most dysfunctional families out there.

It took me over four months to finish this review and now, I'm really curious to hear about what other readers thought. Feel free to leave a comment and let me know!

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