Tuesday, June 27, 2017

The Dinner Party by Brenda Janowitz

This Passover Seder is not just any Passover Seder. Yes, there will be a quick service and then a festive meal afterwards, but this night is different from all other nights. This will be the night the Golds of Greenwich meet the Rothschilds of New York City.

The Rothschilds are the stuff of legends. They control banks, own vineyards in Napa, diamond mines in Africa, and even an organic farm somewhere in the Midwest that produces the most popular Romaine lettuce consumed in this country. And now, Sylvia Gold's daughter is dating one of them.

When Sylvia finds out that her youngest of three is going to bring her new boyfriend to the Seder, she's giddy. When she finds out that his parents are coming, too, she darn near faints. Making a good impression is all she thinks about. Well, almost. She still has to consider her other daughter, Sarah, who'll be coming with her less than appropriate beau and his overly dramatic Italian mother. But the drama won't stop there. Because despite the food and the wine, despite the new linen and the fresh flowers, the holidays are about family. Long forgotten memories come to the surface. Old grievances play out. And Sylvia Gold has to learn how to let her family go.

The Passover Seder is a big deal in many (if not most) Jewish households.  It is a time for families to gather together and celebrate the most important holiday of the year.  In The Dinner Party, by Brenda Janowitz, two families meet for the 
first time and this becomes a dinner both will not forget. 

         The Gold family is hosting the dinner.  Mother Sylvia is obsessively worrying over every detail because there will be special guests at this dinner.  Her daughter is dating one of the Rothschilds.  The Rothshilds are a rich, prominent family and Sylvia will do anything to impress them (including farming most of the cooking duties out to an avant-garde chef).  The boyfriend, Henry Rothschild, is pretty lazy.  He got expelled from college and has no job.  Becca Gold, his girlfriend, is the ambitious one and is attending medical school.  The disparity in their relationship is wide and deep.

         Another daughter, Sarah, is dating an Italian who manages to get his loud, overbearing mother invited to the dinner.  The big surprise with Sarah is that, despite her family’s desire that she marry a Jewish man, she has secretly married the Italian!  And his father is in jail!   Add a son who works for Doctors Without Borders and his surprise black girlfriend, and you have the makings for family drama. 

         I cannot say that I hated reading The Dinner Party.  There were parts that were interesting and I did enjoy reading about the family dynamic.  My problem is that there was no plot to this book.  Not one thing happened.  The family came to dinner---and each person had some personal drama.  That was it.  It did NOT inspire “great bursts of laughter”, contrary to the back cover review.  Overall, the book was boring. 

         Fans of angst-filled family drama might enjoy this one.

*I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. Regina

No comments:

Post a Comment

The old grey donkey, Eeyore stood by himself in a thistly corner of the Forest, his front feet well apart, his head on one side, and thought about things. Sometimes he thought sadly to himself, "Why?" and sometimes he thought, "Wherefore?" and sometimes he thought, "Inasmuch as which?" and sometimes he didn't quite know what he was thinking about.

Thank you for taking time out of your day to leave a comment. It's appreciated.