The Dinner List. Finished 7-9-19, fiction. 3/5 stars, 273 pages, pub. 2018
When Sabrina Nielsen arrives at her thirtieth birthday dinner she finds at the table not just her best friend, but also her favorite professor from college, her father, her ex-fiance, Tobias, and Audrey Hepburn.
At one point or another, we’ve all been asked to name five people, living or dead, with whom we’d like to have dinner. Why do we choose the people we do? And what if that dinner was to actually happen? These are the questions Sabrina contends with in Rebecca Serle’s utterly captivating novel, The Dinner List, a story imbued with the same delightful magical realism as Sliding Doors, and The Rosie Project.
As the appetizers are served, wine poured, and dinner table conversation begins, it becomes clear that there’s a reason these six people have been gathered together, and as Rebecca Serle masterfully traces Sabrina’s love affair with Tobias and her coming of age in New York City, The Dinner List grapples with the definition of romance, the expectations of love, and how we navigate our way through it to happiness. Oh, and of course, wisdom from Audrey Hepburn. from Goodreads
The book starts and ends at a 30th birthday party that takes place at a restaurant. Sabrina finds all of the people she put on a proposed list her BFF Jessica made her come up with in college. Jessica, Tobias (her one true love), Conrad (college professor), her dad who abandoned her, and the one and only Audrey Hepburn. What? Audrey Hepburn is dead you say? Yes, well she’s not the only one and this is just one of the things that doesn’t make sense during this 4+ hour dinner that we Seinfeld fans could call ‘the airing of grievances’.
I wanted to love this. I kept waiting for something to happen that would make me love it, but all I felt at the end was sadness. Maybe you could consider this a cautionary tale since there are life lessons served with the meal. It was an easy read, but not one I rushed through because I just wasn’t that invested.
The best part of the book was the premise, the question we’ve all heard, what five people, living or dead, would you want at your dinner party? I put this question to Jason when I started the book and now that I’ve finished we’re both due to share our lists with each other. Come back tomorrow and I’ll share both of our lists with you and be prepared to share YOUR list. If you post about it you can leave a link I’ll add to my post.