Bailey's Reviews > Seating Arrangements

Seating Arrangements by Maggie Shipstead
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's review
Aug 26, 2012

it was ok
bookshelves: 2012
Read from August 26 to 31, 2012

I should know by now that choosing a book because its cover is cute and pastel and featuring two lobsters in love is not reason enough. And yet, those were my main motivations in reading Seating Arrangements by Maggie Shipstead. Halfway through reading this book I stopped and asked myself if I was failing as a reader—perhaps it was a satire and not meant to be read with an earnest eye. It wasn’t until the last sentence that I felt safe in saying that there was definitely some attempted criticism of the East Coast WASP contingent, but it needed to more firmly pick a lane.

The book spent far too little time on the interesting and sympathetic characters—Daphne, Dominique, Biddy—and instead focused on Winn, the stale patriarch of the family, with short interspersed passages from the point of view of other self-absorbed and detestable characters. I also could not get past the character names. I know it is a running joke that waspy types go by odd nicknames but in a group of twenty people how probable is it to find a Biddy, Fee, Dicky Jr., Fenn, Winn, Teddy, Tipton, Greyson, Sterling, Oatsie, and Mopsy?

I’d recommend passing on this one and instead picking up Gone Girl, Prep, or The Paris Wife if you need a light but still substantive read.
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Reading Progress

02/21/2016 marked as: read

Comments (showing 1-10 of 10) (10 new)

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message 1: by Laura (new)

Laura Roome I have been struggling through this one and found your review. Everything you said I have been thinking. I keep waiting for the humor but instead keep feeling sorry for these self-absorbed, uninteresting WASPS. Think I'll pass; too many other books out there to read.

message 2: by Jfj (new) - rated it 1 star

Jfj You have voiced my issues with this book far more eloquently than I ever could. Bravo.

Andy Miller Thanks for the great review. I had the same reaction as I read the book but kept wondering if I was missing something, it was nice to read that someone else had the same reaction

message 4: by Xtrmntr75 (new)

Xtrmntr75 Brown Your review just made me decide to quit reading this a third of the way through. This is a book about NOTHING. The characters a have quirky names but nothing else to set them apart from one another. This author might have a fancy degree and a great big vocabulary, but she has a long, long way to go in creating a story. Like the original poster said--stick to PREP. Sittenfeld seems to understand this world with a keener eye and a more propulsive technique.

jeffrey I completely agree with your review. I hated this book, along with the annoyingly similar names. Was that supposed to be more 'biting satire'? I had the additional misfortune of listening to this piece on audio. The reader was awful, sounding like he had graduated from the Esther Rolle school of diction. But I can't fault him entirely, given the material he had to work with.

Christin Pratt I just gave up on it as well.

message 7: by [deleted user] (new)

Christin wrote: "I just gave up on it as well."

I also abandoned it.

Debbie D Was wondering about this book. I've started it on Audible and kept waiting for the humor to start. It hit me as uninteresting characters, had to keep track of who was who with the ridiculous names and rather sad self absorbed characters. Think I will give up and move on too.

message 9: by [deleted user] (new)

Debbie wrote: "Was wondering about this book. I've started it on Audible and kept waiting for the humor to start. It hit me as uninteresting characters, had to keep track of who was who with the ridiculous n..."

Smart move! There are too many good books to read boring books.

Heather Powers Completely agreed. You put all my thoughts into words.

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