The first of the 2016 books I’ve been anticipating, The Nest is a pretty fun read. If super dysfunctional families are your jam (they are mine), you’ll enjoy this story about four siblings anticipating an inheritance of sort and the strange, sad, funny, weird ways the waiting has affected their lives. The book opens with three of the adult Plumb siblings (Melody, Beatrice, Jack) readying to confront the fourth (Leo), who some months earlier ruined his marriage and his car while drunk driving with a nineteen year old waitress. The accident Leo causes, the impact to the girl, and his subsequent stint in rehab have drained the “Nest” considerably, and the rest of the family wants to hear his plan for paying it all back. Spoiler alert… he can’t.
None of the siblings have a firm grasp on the meaning of ‘accountability’ and nearly all of their problems are completely self-inflicted. The ways in which anticipating an inheritance could potentially change your choices feel very realistic. I always find writing more interesting, though not necessarily more enjoyable, when the protagonist is not quite likeable. Almost every character in this story is understandably flawed in mostly entertaining ways, but I couldn’t find much to like about Leo, and if I hadn’t been reminded frequently that he was ‘charismatic’, I probably wouldn’t have figured that out for myself.
Even when doing fairly awful things to others or themselves, everyone else felt redeemable to me, but when Leo exits the story, I did not miss him. Sweeney writes remarkably well about power and money and the unbreakable ties of family.
Overall, I enjoyed The Nest and am very willing to read a sequel entirely about Beatrice.
Grade – B