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Wednesday, July 6, 2016

Review of THE NEST by Cynthia D'Aprix Sweeney

2.5 Stars

I chose this book because it appeared on a number of summer reading lists.  My conclusion is that it is indeed a book for the beach – entertaining but not requiring much thought.

The Plumb siblings expect an inheritance meant to be divided amongst the four of them when Melody, the youngest, turns 40.  Unfortunately, a few months before her birthday, Leo, the eldest Plumb, makes some choices that have disastrous consequences; to avoid publicity, the Plumb matriarch depletes the nest egg so there is only $50,000 for each rather than the $500,000 expected.  The problem, of course, is that they have pre-spent their anticipated portions, so they must now figure out how to deal with their financial problems.

The story is about four privileged, entitled adults who have built their lives on the promise of a trust fund.  I found it difficult to identify with any of them or to feel any sympathy for them.  They have only themselves to blame.  Leo is the most irresponsible but all are self-absorbed and shallow.  And they keep believing Leo’s lies because of his charm and charisma though he has repeatedly shown himself to be unreliable and selfish!  Their problems are definitely what one character identifies as “’luxury problems.’”  Their preoccupations make them blind to their advantages.

Obviously, the siblings have to learn a lesson.  Could it be that it is not wise to “count the chickens before they hatched”?  Could it be that with hard work and realistic ambitions, they can achieve their goals without relying on an inheritance?  Could it be that there are more important things in life than money (e.g. family, love)?  Can you guess that this is not a complex novel?

Apparently, the author received a million-dollar advance on the book, but I don’t understand why.  There are some humourous sections where the author pokes fun at the foibles of the four siblings and other idle rich New Yorkers, and the narrative is entertaining.  But there is nothing exceptional about the writing, and the ending is predictable and sentimental.

Pick up this book only if you want an unchallenging, feel-good read.