“The Nest” by Cynthia D’Aprix Sweeney


asteriaiconI had seen reviews for this book everywhere! This was supposed to be the IT book of 2016, and was plugged by some major celebrity, so it must be good, right?

The novel is about 4 adult siblings, who have squandered away their money, making poor financial decisions, knowing that “the nest” will bail them out. Their father had put away a very modest sum of money, meant to give them each a small cushion when they reached midlife, which the siblings have watched grow to a very sizable amount of money, thanks to the stock market. Now, one of the siblings has gotten into a bind, and it will take much of the nest to bail him out, leaving each in a financial pickle.

The Plumb family is a very dysfunctional family, each sibling coming across as very shallow, whiney, entitled, spoiled little brats. Three of the siblings, Jack, Melody, and Beatrice, all confront their brother Leo, who has put their money in jeopardy. Really? We don’t care that he was in a terrible car accident, we don’t care he got a young waitress hurt and altered her life forever, and we don’t care that Leo clearly has a problem? Nope, we care about money. After all, Jack has put his antique business in serious debt. Beatrice had a very successful novel and has an advance for a second, but hasn’t written anything. And Melody, perhaps the most common sense of them all, has twin girls to take care of and needs to pay for school (at least her reasoning was rather sound).  Leo’s accident has cost them a fortune, literally, and they try to reason with him, and take care of him and his problems, not because they give a rat’s ass about him, but because they want as little money spent on him as possible. They even go so far as to try to get the money released to them now, all claiming need, rather than greed. They all are too keen to have daddy’s money bail them out of the financial situations they had put themselves in with no care or concern to get out of them because to them that is what daddy’s money was for.

I kept reading hoping this book was going to get better. After all, this is the IT book, it has to be great! Everyone is talking about it! It just didn’t get better. I hated the characters, I couldn’t relate to them, couldn’t give a damn what happened to them, they all seemed so trivial and entitled. Hey, I love a flawed character as much as the next person, I am okay with flaws, but this was passed flaws. These were dickwad characters, none of them fully understood they were dickwads, none of them cared they were dickwads, and there was no character growth so they stopped being dickwads. They had no interest in their own lives, much less each other’s.  They just cared about money, money they really didn’t deserve. Boring!

Another aspect which really irked me was she had an openly gay character and a not so openly gay-curious character. The fact that they were gay does not bother me in the least; in fact I want to see more diversity in books. No, this seemed to be more done simply because it is more ‘modern’. And it was not the first part of the book that seemed that way, just the one that bothered me more. It just seemed like a bunch of modern topics smushed together into a book. And I found that the one’s character admiring the fact that he had been able to escape AIDS so far to be repulsive.

The story is told in the characters different viewpoints, which is usually my jam. This, however, felt overdone. I think it would have been better told through one, maybe two, rather than each individual sibling, each twin daughter, the spouses, the mother, the waitress, etc. It was just too much.

I guess to conclude this review, I have no idea why this was so popular, why this was the big book of 2016. Maybe because of a celebrity plug? I knew the inheritance part would irk me a bit, mainly because I don’t believe you should make life decisions based on money you may or may not receive. As the book shows, money can disappear in a blink of an eye. But I think I just hated this book more because I hated the characters. I couldn’t find one good one to grasp on to, one that I could even remotely relate to, or even like a smidge. There was just nothing there for me to even find entertaining, enjoyable, or engaging.  Biggest book let down of the year for me.

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