Dinner with the Schnabels, a review by Joanna

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Dinner with the Schnabels

Toni Jordan

Hachette Australia

400 pages

Published March 30, 2022

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This is a delightful contemporary family drama set in Melbourne, by an author who is new to me. The paperback went around my book club, but I didn’t have much of an idea of what it was about going in. Unusually, the characters are mostly unlikeable, but you end up rooting for them anyway, and I enjoyed the snarky Australian humour.

Simon Larsen is an unemployed architect with a beautiful wife and two loveable children, whose business failed due to the pandemic. Depressed, drinking too much, and having let himself go, Simon now has a week to redeem himself in the eyes of his difficult in-laws by renovating a friend’s back garden ahead of a memorial service for his wife’s estranged father – but the trials of family life keep getting in the way!
This was a fun easy read, but with some serious topics, and a few hilarious moments. I got caught up in the various mini-mysteries like what exactly was Mia up to at school, and where all Monica’s shopping was coming from! Most of the time I just wanted to kick Simon up the proverbial, but his redemption in his own eyes is actually the point of the story, and I loved the ending. There’s a sequel about his scary sister-in-law Kylie which I’m keen to read at some point.

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