“Nobody ever admitted it was about money. Grandma’s engagement ring, Aunt Gertie’s emerald bracelet, the Chippendale table that had been passed down for generations – it was never about the money. Except that it was always, completely and totally, about the money.”
Cynthia D’Aprix Sweeney’s debut tells the story of the four middle-aged Plumb siblings, waiting to receive an inheritance they refer to as “the nest.” Cue the oldest sibling, Leo, driving inebriated and causing a terrible accident. Their mother nearly drains “the nest” in an attempt keep the incident out of the public eye, a move that leaves the other siblings in quite a pickle – particularly because they’ve all acquired debts based on the assumption of receiving the money. The Nest follows their struggles following the accident, as well as their attempts to get Leo to return the lost money.
This book has been on my radar for a while now, and it’s received a medley of feedback from reviewers. I fully expected to find myself in the “this is overhyped” camp. I mean, come on, the Plumbs’ problems don’t even sound like problems. Imagine my surprise upon realizing how quickly I was devouring this book, how invested I was in these characters. Part of this has to do with the fact that these characters feel refreshingly like people you know in real life. I suspect we aren’t meant to take their entitlement and financial blunders too seriously, but it’s also easy to imagine how one could fall into their situations.
The cast is surprisingly diverse, with LGBT+ characters, disabled characters, and characters of color. This only makes sense, given that The Nest is set in New York, and I appreciate the author’s ability to set the stage realistically. Someone did point out in a Goodreads review (which I seem to have lost, or I’d link it) that Sweeney occasionally falls into the trap of using stereotypical language when it comes to her diverse characters, so I did take a bit off of the rating for that. It wasn’t something I’d noticed while reading it, but the examples given were definitely accurate.
Sweeney’s writing was a major selling point for me. She pens the story with the usual flowery language that comes with literary fiction, but it wasn’t overdone. The book flowed, and I think she managed to pace events well considering.
Money obviously plays a major role in this story, and Sweeney successfully demonstrates the ease with which it can destroy relationships. That some of the characters were able to rectify their mistakes, while others were left with the unfortunate aftermath, was realistic. I appreciated how she ended the story, too.
Apart from the stereotypes the author sometimes perpetuates, my only other complaint is that this book could really have been written by anyone. While the story is engaging, it isn’t necessarily original. I guess what I’m saying is that it doesn’t do anything new. The concepts are ones repeated by a number of films, shows, novels, etc. That’s the main reason this isn’t a 5 star book.
I gave The Nest a 4 out of 5 star rating on Goodreads. I enjoyed this book immensely, and I can’t wait to see what this author comes up with in the future. I recommend this to fans of family dramas and to anyone looking for a breezy read. You won’t be disappointed.