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The Dinner
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Week 49: The Dinner

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Catherine McKenzie | 985 comments Mod
This week's read: http://amzn.to/1iiRpnL


Lynne (lynne_frappier) | 33 comments I read this book for my bookclub read in September. I DISLIKED it. I loathed the characters - pretty much all of them. I don't know how far I would go to protect my child (since I haven't had one); but obviously there was something not right with the entire family. I couldn't put aside my disgust for their actions to appreciate the writing. I'm interested to see what other people think of this book ...


message 3: by Jamise (last edited Dec 02, 2013 01:54PM) (new) - rated it 2 stars

Jamise (spinesvines) Lynne, I agree with you 110%. I read The Dinner back in May. I'm so glad I did not purchase book and borrowed it from the library. The Dinner has been compared to Gone Girl and it definitely is NOT! The author took too long to get to the point, there were times the story went flat and lacked the suspense needed for a thriller. I didn't like any of the characters and overall did not enjoy this read.

2 stars but I could have easily given it 1 star.


Beth | 145 comments Well I won't be reading this one! Thanks for the comments, Lynne and Jamise.


Debra Hale-Shelton (debbye) I haven't read Gone Girl yet based on the negative reviews by two people I trust on reviews, one of whom runs readallday.org. I realize some people like it. But some people like John Grisham, and I think he's a horrific though money-making writer. All this only shows a difference in reading tastes.


Debra Hale-Shelton (debbye) I do plan to read The Dinner, though. I may hate it. I may like it. Right now, I'm reading Oates' Zombie. I certainly don't like the main character, but it's still a well-done book.


Catherine McKenzie | 985 comments Mod
Deb wrote: "I haven't read Gone Girl yet based on the negative reviews by two people I trust on reviews, one of whom runs readallday.org. I realize some people like it. But some people like John Grisham, and I..."

I am enjoying this book so far, actually, though the pace is a little slow.


Jeanette | 2 comments I actually really liked this book. while reading I did find the pace to be slow, and some of the conversation to be meaningless towards the plot. However, once I finished the book I felt as though those details really worked to set the scene and tone. Of course the characters did terrible things and were not very likable, but I am sure that's what the author was going for. I find this book to be very original and well written.


Beth | 145 comments Deb, I'm surprised to hear that - I don't think that anyone I know who has read it hasn't loved Gone Girl. It is just so totally sick and twisted, you can't put it down.


Ceylan (CeyGo) (ceylo) I read this one earlier in the year and really didn't like it. I found I couldn't stand the characters. Much preferred Gone Girl


message 11: by Amanda (new)

Amanda | 10 comments Beth wrote: "Deb, I'm surprised to hear that - I don't think that anyone I know who has read it hasn't loved Gone Girl. It is just so totally sick and twisted, you can't put it down."

both my mom and I read Gone Girl about a year ago and neither liked it. I even stayed up late to finish it and thought "I should have slept."


Jenny (jennyil) | 21 comments I didn't like Gone Girl because in a book that depends on details, there were a lot of inconsistencies and things that don't make sense. For example, how do you make a profit selling a house with an underwater mortgage?

The Dinner doesn't have that problem, the plot is built up through an accumulation of small details and flashbacks. The only problem I had with the book was that I lost interest in the reasons for Paul's anger and personality problems before the end of the book.


Carly Svamvour (faganlady) | 4 comments I just joined, having noticed your group did this book. I read it in September 2k13. I too found the book to be tedious, mostly on account of the slow pace and unnecessary repitition.

I cannot compare it to Gone Girl as I have not yet gotten around to reading that much discussed novel.


Gotobedmouse Just found this book club from a Huffington post article.
I read "The Dinner" couple of weeks ago and HATED it. I think it was the worse book I have read all year. The story was slow and dragged on, I did not like the dialogue (blaming it on the translation), did not like the characters or the story.
About 1/4 of way through the book I became Team Waiter. I wanted the waiter to pick his nose and put it in the guy's food. Now the guy would have probably stabbed him in the eye with the fork but still Team Waiter.
Also 3/4 of the way through the book I realized he was not going to tell us how much the meal cost. This annoyed me to no end. I was ranting about it to the point my husband was telling me the finish the book and read some fluff so I could be in a better mood.


Catherine McKenzie | 985 comments Mod
Gotobedmouse wrote: "Just found this book club from a Huffington post article.
I read "The Dinner" couple of weeks ago and HATED it. I think it was the worse book I have read all year. The story was slow and dragge..."


Great review!!


Arlene Morrell | 103 comments I just finished reading "The Dinner". I thought it was a good book on parents and children behaving badly. No moral values and people clearly doing what they think they should do so they can protect their images and familly ???? It somewhat reminded me of a book I read Defending Jacob what lengths would you go to protect your children????


Catherine McKenzie | 985 comments Mod
Arlene wrote: "I just finished reading "The Dinner". I thought it was a good book on parents and children behaving badly. No moral values and people clearly doing what they think they should do so they can prot..."

I agree, it reminded me of Defending Jacob too, but I liked that book more.


message 18: by Rebecca (new) - added it

Rebecca (purplerrr) | 76 comments Bounced hard off this book so not going to try to get any further. Too many books etc....


message 19: by Erica (new) - added it

Erica (rickie1974) | 45 comments I guess this is one I will not be reading. Oy sounds like a wreck.


Debra Hale-Shelton (debbye) I am listening to the audio version of this book now and am thoroughly enjoying it so far.


Debra Hale-Shelton (debbye) I really enjoyed this book. No, most of the characters were not likable. But to me, that
Is not what makes a good book. The author's use of the mentally unbalanced narrator was especially creative, I thought. The story was, indeed, disturbing. But so is life all too often.


message 22: by Carla (last edited Jul 22, 2014 04:51PM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Carla Palmeiro (carlapalmeiro) The Dinner from hell and the most dysfunctional family ever…

Very similar in theme to Lionel Schriver We Need to Talk About Kevin and Defending Jacob by William Landay, books that I adored and rated accordingly, The Dinner is a darker and even more disturbed version of these books, and is simply overflowing with sociopaths and psychopaths making you wonder who’s the least despicable one. A lot of reviewers pointed out that the main reason for their negative review was this, the lack of proper relatable characters, and some redeemable quality in them. That did not bothered me at all, that’s exactly why I loved this so much.

All in all, I was spellbound by this book and literally devoured it in only 2 days. I highly recommend it, especially if you like disturbed characters, ones that although are not very likable make for a great read.

There were a few plot aspects that I did not understand at all: Paul’s psychological disorder and its suppose genetic transmission, Claire’s mysterious decease and hospitalization and especially the "Decision By Parents" question at the very end. I have read a few discussion here on Goodreads about it and the general consensus appears to be that Michel was tested for Paul's disorder, it came back positive, and Claire decided to go ahead with the pregnancy, and not tell him. Now, if that relates to a second pregnancy sill remains a question for me, or maybe a paternity test. The very last line of the book ‘dear old dad’ kind of appoints to that theory. So many questions and so few answers.

Any clues or theories about that would be highly appreciated.


Catherine McKenzie | 985 comments Mod
Carla wrote: "The Dinner from hell and the most dysfunctional family ever…

Very similar in theme to Lionel Schriver We Need to Talk About Kevin and Defending Jacob by William Landay, books that I adored and rat..."


Great review, Carla. I think some of the mysteries are deliberate - the author wants you to be left wondering if your theory is right or not.


message 24: by Beth (new) - rated it 4 stars

Beth | 145 comments I have had this book on my TBR list forever (it seems) and I OWN it so I can't believe that I still haven't read it -

OK, it just moved up on my list after reading Carla's review.


message 25: by Beth (new) - rated it 4 stars

Beth | 145 comments I owned this book for at least 9 months and finally got around to reading it. Here is my review:

what a really strange book! Through the first half or so I really loved it - loved the writing and the descriptions of the restaurant, the waiter, the manager, the guests, the food, etc. Wry and witty, interesting.

Then about halfway through the book just took a weird turn. Actually, several weird turns.

Several people told me that this book is either a "love" or a "hate". For me it was kind of both at various times so that makes it difficult to rate. In ways it is a 5 star book - the author has the courage to be really "raw" and let us see how ugly people can be. He writes so well, with such full (and at times vulgar) descriptions. But then the author keeps saying things like "I'm not going to talk about that, it is nobody's business". He uses this line several times and that is just irritating as hell. It's like you invited me into your home and then only let me stand in the foyer and watch the party going on in the living room from there. If you don't want me to see everything then don't invite me to begin with.

If I have to use one word to sum up this book it would be "strange". But also riveting. I had no trouble finishing this book in a few days - and in the end, despising all of the characters.


Catherine McKenzie | 985 comments Mod
Beth wrote: "I owned this book for at least 9 months and finally got around to reading it. Here is my review:

what a really strange book! Through the first half or so I really loved it - loved the writing an..."


Great review, Beth. Kind of sums up how I felt about it really well. Stayed with me, though.


message 27: by Beth (last edited Oct 01, 2014 06:03PM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Beth | 145 comments I can see why it stayed with you, I feel like it will stay with me as well. I also understand the comparison with Defending Jacob but like you, I liked that book much better. The Father was such a thoughtful man with a conscience who was clearly struggling. Paul and the rest of this cast of characters are all so completely lacking any kind of moral compass. It's both obscene and of course, unrealistic.

However, I enjoyed Paul's constant belittling of Serge, who was clearly a pompous blowhard.

I may change my rating to 4 stars - I hated the book but in a good way :)


Catherine McKenzie | 985 comments Mod
Beth wrote: "I can see why it stayed with you, I feel like it will stay with me as well. I also understand the comparison with Defending Jacob but like you, I liked that book much better. The Father was such ..."

I think any book that makes you feel deserves four stars :)


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