Seating Arrangements by Maggie Shipstead

Mike’s review

I picked this sheet off the pile of reviews I have to type about 20 minutes ago and it’s only now that I’m even kind of remembering the basic plot points of this book. Maybe stockpiling these and never typing them up isn’t the best way to go about this?

I think there’s a wedding involved. Some contentious family things? A dad who wants to fuck a bridesmaid?


I’m so codependent that I completely revel in this strictly in one man’s head tale. Just at peace to utterly absorb into a single person.

And then he shows up on the island and there’s action and names and talking and, like Winn, I am totally overwhelmed.


Winn’s male pattern maleness seems kinda forced. I think it needs a tweak. Like the sentiments are probably real, but no one is going to say to their daughter, “‘I have been very understanding about this whole situation [your pregnancy out of wedlock] because I thought we agreed this would remain private. […] It’s bad enough that you go around acting like a floozy, but then you throw your dignity right out the window and the whole family’s with it. It’s not becoming. It’s not adult. People won’t respect you.'” This, coupled with parents aversions to swearing feels too 1950s. Take out Livia’s suddenly intense swearing so parents don’t have to comment and make Winn’s comments a little more opaque and you’re good to go.


“Around him, the party was gaining a pointless momentum, becoming a parade to nowhere.” I’ve tried to write that sentence a hundred times and failed.


“To change would be to admit that she had been going about things all wrong.”


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