Our official summer vacation is literally hours away from starting, and there is only one thing to regret about it all: I’ve already finished the perfect summer beach/lake/island read: Seating Arrangements, by Maggie Shipstead.
Seating Arrangements tells the story of the Van Meter family, and the three days leading up to oldest daughter Daphne’s wedding on the fictional Maine-ish island of Waskeke. If you have ever been married; if you have ever been in a wedding; if you have ever been in your sister’s wedding; if you have ever attended a wedding not in the healthiest frame of mind; if you have ever spent time in any summer vacation haven; if you have spent time in private clubs (country, city, college, and otherwise); if you attended an Ivy League college; if you have ever worn an item of clothing with a whale on it; if you know someone who has – you will identify with this book. (If none of those things are true about you I am not sure how you came to be reading this blog, but you too will love this book.) And you will laugh out loud at the cast of characters barreling their way through various ill-advised hookups, inebriated blunders, misguided confrontations, and social humiliations.
To me the very best books are ones so well-drawn that the characters seem real to me, so that I wonder what they are doing now one week after I’ve finished The End. This is one of those books. I was blown away by the pleasure of reading it, and am both envious and proud of Maggie Shipstead’s accomplished first novel at all of age 30! (And seriously: with a name like that, she was destined to write a book like this.)
What are you reading this summer? I’ve just started Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn – so far, so good.