I have had this mint green brick sitting on my shelf for years- passed on by a friend, I knew that it was a bestseller, likely to be turned into a movie or tv show, and for some reason it always felt like something I ‘should’ read rather than what I wanted to read. Reader, I was wrong!
The Nest is a story about the four adult Plumb siblings who are months away from inheriting a reasonably-sized trust fund when a self-made disaster strikes: Leo, the oldest sibling, leaves a party drunk and high with a waitress who is not his wife and crashes his car, seriously injuring the waitress. The Plumb matriarch, concerned more with scandal than altruism, decides Leo’s accident qualifies as an ‘emergency’ under the trust conditions and raids the trust to pay away Leo’s problems. The other 3 siblings, who have been counting on their share of the money to deal with impending financial stresses of their own making, are outraged and frantic but still charmed by their elder brother’s promises to fix things.
Each chapter focuses on a different character, including several side characters that get equal billing to the siblings: Stephanie, Leo’s old girlfriend who has done well for herself in publishing and finds herself also submitting to Leo’s charms, despite her best intentions; Tommy, Stephanie’s basement tenant in her Brooklyn townhouse, who lost his wife in 9/11 and can’t seem to move forward; Matilda, the waitress and would-be singer that Leo injured and her rehab friend Vinnie, trying to figure out a life for themselves post-injury; and Nora and Louisa, the twin teenage daughters of the youngest Plumb sibling, who are exploring their future ambitions and sexuality.
The negative critiques of The Nest seem to focus on two things: 1) the lack of introspection or acknowledgment that even without the Nest’s trust fund income these characters are already better off than most people; and 2) the ‘breeziness’ of the plot, in which ends are wrapped up neatly and there is essentially a happy ending for everyone involved. I don’t disagree on the first point, but it also didn’t bother me- if that is something that would bother you, consider yourself warned. On the second, I would argue that it was more nuanced and the nuanced happy endings were actually part of what I loved. In essence: nothing ends up perfect, and there is no magic trick to solve their problems, but everyone is ok at the end, and I found that reassuring. The only other reassurances I wanted to give anyone who, like myself, had been leaving this in the TBR pile: this was a quick read (breezy is accurate) and the characters are never as horrible as they seem at first (except maybe Leo)- give them some space to unwind and you’ll be rooting for them by the end.
In CBR13 Bingo this checks the Fauna box- lots of birds circling the nest on that mint green cover.