Monday, June 17, 2013

Book Review-Seating Arrangements

Take one father who is concerned with his social standing in the community, one long-suffering wife, and 2 daughters-one of whom has just had an abortion and broken up with her boyfriend (whose parents are socially tied to her parents), the other of whom is pregnant and about to be married.  Add a provocative bridesmaid, a drunk sister-in-law, and an island wedding, and you've got Seating Arrangements by Maggie Shipstead.  The story takes place on a fictional New England island where Winn and Biddy Van Meter own a summer home.  The action takes place over the course of the weekend of Daphne Van Meter's wedding.  Winn is trying to stay out of the way of the wedding preperations, and at the same time trying to get into the island's country club.  Winn's daughter Livia has recently been dumped by her boyfriend, whose parents Winn knew in college (he voted against Peter joining his club at Harvard and dumped Feely (Ophelia), rather unkindly, after her father told him he'd never let them wed.)  He is sure that they are preventing him from being asked to be a member at the Pequod.  He is also trying to decide if he should have a fling with one of Daphne's bridesmaids.  Winn may not be the most likeable main character, but he is never dull.

On one level, this is a nice beach read.  Summer wedding, young people enjoying themselves, that sort of thing.  On the other hand it is a social commentary on family dynamics, the noveau riche vs old money, and expectations.  It is well written and thought provoking. 

Seating Arrangements
Seating Arrangements
By Shipstead, Maggie
2012-06 - Knopf Publishing Group
9780307599469 Check Our Catalog

A deliciously absorbing social comedy, set on an exclusive island off Cape Cod, that tracks a catastrophic three-day wedding weekend with an irresistible mix of wit and tenderness--a pitch-perfect debut from a hugely talented young writer. …More

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Postcards from the Edge
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9781439194003 Check Our Catalog

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