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The Nest Hardcover – March 22, 2016
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An Amazon Best Book of March 2016: The Nest is a debut novel about a dysfunctional New York family. That’s a pretty common subject for a novel and not very interesting in itself. But there’s magic that happens when you pick up a book, start reading and realize that what the author has chosen to write about—the places, the characters, the dialogue, the set pieces—they’re all just right. That’s how I felt reading this book. The Nest is not populated with characters who are entirely lovable, but I felt each was uniquely human and identifiable, and I especially wanted to know where life would take the four 40-something Plumb family siblings (particularly that rapscallion Leo). Some will take issue with the Plumbs and their upper middle class problems. Some will detest Leo and his family and find harsher descriptions than “rapscallion.” But for my money, The Nest is a great read. This book will be among my favorites of 2016, as I suspect it will be for many readers. --Chris Schluep
From School Library Journal
The four Plumb siblings are waiting for their inheritance (affectionately called the nest) to be dispersed once the youngest sister turns 40. The nest has been growing exponentially since their father's untimely death when they were all adolescents, and each one of the Plumbs has been making poor financial decisions in the hopes of being bailed out by the nest. Instead, the oldest brother is allowed to withdraw the majority of the money early to be used as a payoff for an unfortunate accident he causes. The story develops as the remaining siblings begin to navigate life and the consequences of their decisions without a safety net, but the plot is much more complex than a look at four dysfunctional and often selfish siblings. Teens will initially be pulled into the story by the shocking events in the prologue, but they will connect with the siblings as they recognize aspects of themselves in each of them. The epilogue goes beyond a typical happy ending, illustrating how the siblings have changed and learned more about themselves. YA readers will enjoy immersing themselves in the trendy side of life in New York, as well as coming to understand how adult life may not be all it seems on a well-crafted surface. VERDICT A strong choice for demonstrating how adulthood is as much of a discovering process as adolescence. Purchase where coming-of-age tales are needed.—April Sanders, Spring Hill College, Mobile, AL
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Top customer reviews
Let me share the first sentence (yes, this is ONE sentence):
"As the rest of the guests wandered the deck of the beach club under an early-evening midsummer sky, taking pinched, appraising sips of their cocktails to gauge if the bartenders were using the top-shelf stuff and balancing tiny crab cakes on paper napkins while saying appropriate things about how they'd really lucked out with the weather because the humidity would be back tomorrow, or murmuring inappropriate things about the bride's snug satin dress, wondering if the spilling cleavage was due to poor tailoring or poor taste (a look as their own daughters might say) or an unexpected weight gain, winking and making tired jokes about exchanging toasters for diapers, Leo Plumb left his cousin's wedding with one of the waitresses."
First let me say that very rarely do I NOT finish a book but this book merited not finishing. While the story is somewhat predictable and cliché (just read the first sentence), it would not have been so bad if the writing had been better. All tell, no show, which I find maddening. And overwritten to the point where I wanted to claw my eyes out every time I turned a page. I can't believe all of the high ratings for this book, and surely, I can expect to receive a lot of down-voting from folks who are voting on my opposing opinion rather than the quality of my review, but this book was so awful, I'll take the heat.
In a nutshell, the book follows the events that occur after Leo "left his cousin's wedding with one of the waitresses" (see above) and in an inebriated state and receiving a service from the waitress, crashes his car, leaving the poor waitress footless. Thanks to this accident, their father's estate, poised for distribution when the youngest Plumb sibling turns 40 is redirected in order to deal with Leo's indiscretions, legal bills and to make the now footless waitress disappear from their lives.
Now that the four Plumb siblings have lost their inheritance or nest egg (aka "The Nest"), all of their shady goings on have nowhere to hide.
Leo, the oldest is a disgusting pig, a user of people, sucking them dry for his own personal needs. Next in line is Jack, a gay antique shop owner (really?) with a country house. I guess I'm just a little tired of seeing gay people portrayed in the same cliché businesses over and over and over so that annoyed me. Newsflash: Gay people work in all professions, not just antiquing. Oh and he has a lot of financial issues too.
Next cliché sibling is Bea, a wanna-be writer who can't get over lost love, because all creative people hold torches for their lost loves (Dante? Beatrice? Really?). Now she's too sad to move on.
Melody, the last of the Plump siblings was the most realistic of the four, trying to raise twin daughters and manage her expensive dream house in Connecticut. At least this portrayal is representative of the many people living outside of their means. But...
I closed the book forever on the first page of chapter 22, when I read the first few sentences:
"When Matilda was recovering in the hospital and found out how much money she was getting from the Plumb family, she had all kinds of fantasies about what to do with it. (Shamefully, she remembered that her first involuntary thought was a pair of suede boots she'd coveted, the ones that went over the knee and stopped midthigh, then she remembered.) She thought about the trips and clothes and cars and flat screen televisions. She thought about buying her sister her own beauty salon, which she'd always wanted. She thought about buying her mother a divorce."
I just didn't buy it.
That was it for me. Hours of my life I can no longer retrieve.
By the way, I selected this because Amy Poehler states (on the cover, no less): "Intoxicating... I couldn't stop reading or caring about the juicy and dysfunctional Plumb family." I think she meant to say. "I wanted to get intoxicated so that I could stop reading about the jerky and dysfunctional Plumb family."
Mostly I feel ripped off by paid book reviewers who give every book a five star review. Just because a book is about rich New York elitists doesn't make it a great story or the writing any better.