The Nest

by Cynthia D'Aprix Sweeney | Literature & Fiction |
ISBN: 0062414224 Global Overview for this book
Registered by wingGoryDetailswing of Nashua, New Hampshire USA on 2/14/2018
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Journal Entry 1 by wingGoryDetailswing from Nashua, New Hampshire USA on Wednesday, February 14, 2018
I found this slightly-battered softcover on the book-swap shelf in the Tyngsboro MA post office, and nabbed it for another release copy.

It's about the squabbles of a wealthy family, most of whom have long outstripped their expectations and are about to get a brutal wakeup call when "The Nest" - their long-anticipated nest-egg - evaporates. This is not due to market fluctuations, though it easily could have been - no, here it's because the oldest sibling, Leo, a narcissistic bastard if there ever was one, went drunk-driving with a teenaged waitress and had an accident that required immense funds to cover up.

Spoilers follow; you have been warned!

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Yep, to cover up: this includes paying the medical bills of the uninsured victim, which seems only fair (though it should be Leo paying it, not the rest of his family; too bad he doesn't volunteer his own offshore wealth for the purpose, choosing to let Mommy use the siblings' long-anticipated bonus do the work instead). But it also includes many payments to suppress any news or official accident reports or anything else that might make the family look bad. Again, there's a reason: Mommy's new husband has a career in the public eye, and might indeed lose ground if word got out about his - wait, his 40-something stepson's irresponsibility? Well, anyway, they assume it will, and spend the money for the hush-job, and then the story proper begins.

While I found Leo a perfect example of a truly loathsome human being who has enough charm and wit to keep on being bailed out by those who ought to know better, I admit that the writing and the setting were zippy enough that I wanted to find out about the other characters, and to see what happened - with the (faint) hope that Leo would suffer some suitably humiliating punishment. (Don't hold your breath.) The other siblings and several other main characters who aren't blood relatives have more interesting backgrounds. Brother Jack has been happily married to his husband Walker for years, but with hopes of "The Nest" ahead he'd overspent on his own business and on gifts and lifestyle, and now he'll have to 'fess up that he's mortgaged their summer home. Sister Bea, whose failed-author arc includes some truly lovely passages about the pains of trying to be an author - especially when your best work is obviously inspired by your loved ones, is attempting a new work, while fretting about her lonely state and hoping the nest-egg funds will help her move on. And Melody, the youngest, has twin teenaged daughters - weep for her! - and has been tracking/stalking them via a phone app out of terror at what they might get up to, which (of course) puts a rift between mother and children. She, too, counted on the funds, for Ivy League schools for the girls.

And then there's the young waitress, victim of the accident - though we don't find out just what happened to her 'til a third of the way through the book, and I'd been assuming something truly nightmarish like paraplegia or vegetative state. The truth was bad enough, but much less difficult to deal with, and her own story-arc has some interesting things to say about bad choices - and impossible ones - vs. living one's own life with the hand that's been dealt. [Her story had some really lovely twists and worked out quite well, though the symbolism regarding the statue got pretty heavyhanded by the end.]

The lives these people were leading started at a level of taken-for-granted wealth and privilege that's alien to me, and I had little patience for the woes that were nearly all their own fault - little kids learn the fable about not counting your chickens before they're hatched! But most of them meant well, and - eventually, more or less - learned some lessons and carved new paths for their lives. And while I found myself more bemused and irritated by them than sympathetic or fascinated, well, maybe that was the point? Not sure, but there it is. [Oh, the Snowtober-baby subplot? I was rolling my eyes so hard over that whole thing that I think I hurt myself. Nobody has any sense at all when it comes to Leo. But he did get one - *one* - good-deed in the entire book, at the very end, in a tiny moment, and even then - well, I won't spoil it. Did NOT like Leo.]

Journal Entry 2 by wingGoryDetailswing at Little Free Library #37936 in Haverhill, Massachusetts USA on Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Released 1 yr ago (2/15/2018 UTC) at Little Free Library #37936 in Haverhill, Massachusetts USA

WILD RELEASE NOTES:

I left this book in the Little Free Library, which I stumbled upon while looking for an older one {wry grin}. Hope someone enjoys the book!

[See other recent releases in MA here.]

*** Released for the 2018 Great Backyard Bird Count release challenge. See this year's GBBC here. ***

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