Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Book review: The Nest

My library system (which I love dearly and for so many reasons!) has a “Lucky Day” program that can help you score a new, popular title that would normally require a months-long hold wait and go home with it that day. I’ve gotten a couple of books this way, but the 7 day limit with no holds or renewals sort of cramps my style – I generally won’t have enough time to finish. (I really enjoyed the 2 or three essays I finished from last Lucky book – Neil Gaiman’s View from the Cheap Seats, which I read on a very hectic day in June. I didn’t come close to finishing the book, but they provided just the respite I needed for a day that I may eventually blog about. Maybe I should check out more essay collections?

During last week’s epic pre-birthday library visit, I found an available copy of The Nest by Cynthia D’Aprix Sweeney. It had been on my hold list forever and so I was a bit excited to take it home. From the first page, I was hooked. It tells the story of four siblings, Leo, Jack, Beatrice, and Melody who are all eagerly awaiting a sizable inheritance (the “Nest”) that will finally be theirs in just a few months. When Leo, the oldest brother, has a terrible accident that decimates the Nest, the other siblings freak out. They had all made financial choices that would have been erased once they inherited, but all that is now in jeopardy.

I thought this was a smart, funny, thoughtful book. The sibling interaction was very interesting to me; I saw parts of myself and my own 3 siblings in each of them. I was particularly interested in the youngest, Melody, who’s a bit of an anxious control freak. Her frenetic overthinking and planning and worrying – well, I can’t imagine why that would seem familiar to me. Near the end, she has this moment as she turns 40 and she realizes that what used to work just doesn’t anymore, and she has to start letting go of things held too firmly, of control over her husband and twin daughters, of perceptions of her relationships with her siblings, and her definition of what it means to be a successful parent. I really loved Melody on the entire novel, and I was cheering her on with her new direction and realization of her place in the world and her family as the novel ended.

I don’t know that this book is for everyone. But the writing was great, the subject matter was refreshing, and, best of all, the length was perfect, since I finished it in the allotted 7 days, and so I might not even incur fines for it. Lucky day indeed.


Amy Sorensen said...

Yes. You should read more essay collections! For just that reason. Even if you don't finish the whole thing, you finish entire parts of the whole. I love them!