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Book Review- The Dinner List

The Dinner List a Novel by Rebecca Serle was a relatively easy read. The main character Sabrina and her best friend, Jessica years ago sat down together and each created a list of five people they would love to have a dinner with. Of course- these people could be dead or alive.

Fast forward to the night of her 30th birthday this becomes a reality as Sabrina goes to meet Jesscia for dinner but instead finds herself, Jessica, and her list of guests sitting around a dinner table together. It's a night that encompasses stories from her past intertwined with new revelations. It is almost is if she walked into an intense therapy session... one that she didn't ask for.

The setting and structure of the book alternates between Sabrina's past and preset day dinner party. I didn't find it difficult to follow at all because it was clearly labeled each chapter, however if you don't like a book that flashes back and forth in time, this is not the book for you.

The storylines include themes of friendship, love, and family dynamics as her ex, boyfriend Tobias, best friend Jessica, and deceased and estranged father Robert are all guests. There is a lot that comes to light about each of her relationships with these three throughout the novel. The other two guests from her list include Audrey Hepburn and a college professor.

The story of Tobias and Sabrina is very sad. They first met each other in college but their relationship didn't begin until 4 years later when their paths crossed again. They quickly fell in love and became inseparable. The perfect couple really... well until they weren't. They really were the loves of each others lives and I found myself cheering for them through out the entire storyline.

Robert, her father, and Sabrina's storyline is also rather painful. He left Sabrina and her mother at a young age and started a family with a new woman. Sabrina has a lot of pent up frustration and hate for her father. Over the course of the evening they dissect what the past means to each of them and find themselves hopeful of what the future can hold.

Jessica is another complex relationship for Sabrina. The two girls have been friends since their early twenties when their lives were in their prime. They became roommates and quickly grew to be best friends. The interesting dynamic however is that now Jessica is married and has a newborn baby. They find themselves questioning their friendship. Its began to die out and for no clear reason other than their lives are going separate ways. The question for these two is what does their future friendship look like...

There are many resolutions to unsolved problems along with painful memories and truths for Sabrina throughout her evening. She also gets much needed closure with a certain guest at the table. At the end of the night Sabrina is ready to move forward with her life taking learnings from the past into the future with her. Its a story of love and learning to enjoy memories and the present rather than be miserable and always wondering what if.

She enters her 30s with hope and fond memories of her past.

Overall I wanted to really love this book but it was just okay for me. The complexity was promising and I kept really trying to enjoy it but I wished there was more closure at the end. I'd give this book overall 3.5/5 stars.

Let me know your thoughts if you have already read this one!

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Maria Elizabeth

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