Posted first to Blog Critics as Book Review: 'The Dinner Party,' A Novel by Brenda Jonowitz.
Silvia’s youngest daughter has recently begun dating and Silvia is beside herself with joy. The invite to the new boyfriend is customary but when she finds out his parents will also attend she knows that the first impression is the best one. Her life becomes consumed in making the party one that will be the stuff of legends. Yet she has other concerns. What does she do with the inappropriate boyfriend of her other daughter Sarah, as well as his Italian mother? Despite all her hard work, the food the wine, the linen and the potential drama, she understands that holidays are really about family.
Can she release her inner grievances and find a way to allow her family to live their own lives. As each family works at making the moment function, can they allow the demons that invade their lives to be set aside and create the atmosphere necessary for such a momentous occasion.
Janowitz does an amazing job of bringing us the need and misunderstandings between differing families and their interactions. She develops her characterization so that you can relate to many of the difficulties, and it draws you into the inner workings of the drama being played out. You are drawn to her characters and their flaws just as a moth to a flame. There is tenderness beneath the actions that are drawn out, and connections that are not expected, but suddenly become real.
If you enjoy literary drama and stories of people with differing agendas you will find this a wonderful fit for your library. The characteristics and flaws are so real and the concern and agenda twisted beneath the surface stay with you. Janowitz brings us a poignant story of love and family that is different than the norm.