The Dinner Party by Brenda Janowitz – 304 pages
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.
My Review: 4 stars
The Dinner Party, which in this case is a sarcastic euphemism for the traditional Seder meal the Jewish people have during Passover, is the story of a typical dysfunctional, loving family. With short, sometimes even one-page chapters, these characters come to life as we peek into their perspectives throughout the book.
I was sucked in from the beginning at the mother’s attempt to impress the daughter’s boyfriend’s family who are among the social elite in New York. Forgetting that this is in fact a holiday embedded with tradition, it instead becomes an all out dinner party.
With three children and his or her partners, the parents of the partners and her own husband to contend with, the main protagonist, Sylvia learns many life lessons. There is a thread of humor throughout the book that keeps it light and easy.
The Seder is used metaphorically as a symbol for letting go. Sylvia learns through the events before, during and after the meal that it’s time to let go of control and let her kids be who they’re meant to be.
This is a simple book. Would definitely consider the genre as chick-lit with a good message about familial love. Glad I read this one!
Quotes I liked:
How much beige could one person look at before losing her mind?”
-“You don’t have to like someone to love them.”
-“I felt it, I know you feel it, too—the weight of what we’re expected to do. What people want us to be. Let go of all of it and just be. See where that takes you. Yes, your feet will be caked in sand, and you’ll be in desperate need of a shower, but you might just like it.”