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Posted on Jun 5, 2016 in Expert Picks

‘The Nest’ by Cynthia D’Aprix Sweeney (Expert Pick)

Review by Joyce McKinnon — I love, love, LOVED Cynthia D’Aprix Sweeney’s debut novel, The Nest. The book tells of the charming, funny, and oh-so-dysfunctional Plumb siblings. We meet them as the siblings learn that the large inheritance they’ve been counting on, “The Nest,” has been spent—depleted, exhausted, wasted, you get the idea—on covering up their oldest brother’s rather (ahem) embarrassing car accident (which may or may not have involved an excess of martinis and a pretty young waitress). Fresh out of rehab, Leo Plumb promises to find a way to repay his siblings for The Nest, which they had been only a few months away from collecting.

Each sibling needs The Nest for a different reason. Melody, the youngest, has an exorbitant mortgage and twin daughters with their sights set on elite colleges. Jack, whose antique store is failing, has kept his financial woes a secret from his husband. Bea, a once-great writer, is struggling to rebuild her career. They’re all stuck, and they’re all relying on their serially unreliable, immeasurably selfish, and hopelessly charismatic brother Leo to unstick them.

The Plumb family is undoubtedly and hilariously dysfunctional. Their many flaws reveal themselves in quirky and charming and funny ways. I laughed out loud (cackled, even) at their dysfunction many times as I read this book. But what makes this book great isn’t just the dysfunction, it’s the realism. Their (often quirky and charming and funny) problems are also raw and earnest and deep. What I liked most about The Nest was how deeply I felt the characters’ struggles—both big and small. As the Plumb siblings move from holding on to The Nest for dear life to cautiously, necessarily, and finally letting go of it, you can’t help but cheer them on. Painfully and triumphantly, they find their wings.

What a delightful book.

the nest by cynthia d'aprix sweeney

The Nest by Cynthia D’Aprix Sweeney

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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.

Joyce McKinnon is an assistant buyer at Books-A-Million specializing in Fiction, New Age and Poetry genres.

Read her full bio here.

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