Author: Cynthia D'Aprix Sweeney
Narrator: Mia Barron
Published: March 2016, HarperAudio
Length: 11 hours 6 minutes
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.
My thoughts: So...this book had a lot of hype and I picked it up because of that. Of course I was intrigued by the synopsis - a big family dealing with issues - dysfunction at its best...how could I not want to read more?
The story was good, not great, but good. I felt like there was a lot going on and it moved all over the place - sometimes jumping around a bit too much, and then it would slow down and not really go anywhere for a while. And the ending was a bit of a let-down for me, but overall - a good, easy read for the summer.
As for the characters - they are spoiled adults living beyond their means, relying on money for happiness. And coming to the realization that they can no longer do this...nor is this the way to live. The dysfunction within this family did, in fact feel real, the sibling rivalry, the relationships between mother and children - that all seemed to ring true.
I liked the book, I just didn't love it.
Audio thoughts: This is the first time I've listened to Mia Barron narrate a book and I thought she did a good job. There was a lot of characters in this book and while I didn't love the story, at least I liked the narration!