From the bookjacket:
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.
I picked up The Nest on a bit of a whim/because it was on sale after hearing some pretty decent reviews about it. Who doesn’t love a story about a dysfunctional family?
So yes, the Plumbs are certainly dysfunctional, but I would hardly say that they’re testing the power of family. The Plumbs, in my opinion, are nothing but of snivelling, whiny WASPy-types with a sense of entitlement. How ironic that they put all of their eggs in this one financial basket they call “the Nest” only to have it fail.
The characters bothered me and certainly lacked depth and the subplots were seemingly wrapped up haphazardly as afterthoughts. (Oh right – Stephanie was knocked up – better make her have that baby in a couple paragraphs in a predictably dramatic way and get that over with.)
I’m just disappointed in this book and now that I’ve finished reading it, I can’t help but find the book jacket to be so misleading towards the actual plot of the book. Leo hardly tries to make an attempt to pay back his siblings and the trust fund isn’t exactly an actual trust fund, so why should Leo have to pay them back? Why is Mommy-dearest so easily left off the hook?
I could go on and on about my annoyances, but I’ll save it. I had originally gave The Nest 3 stars out of 5, but downgraded it to 2. I was looking forward to reading something exciting and different after a slew of “who-done-it” novels, but this wasn’t it for me.