I've been incredibly swamped with work and kids and life lately, but I did manage to read Eight Hundred Grapes, by Laura Dave. I feel torn about the rating for this book, which probably truly clocks in at 3.5 stars. For a decent part of this novel, I felt slightly annoyed with its protagonist, Georgia. Georgia returns to her parents' home in disgrace a few days before her wedding, after finding out her fiance has been keeping a crazy secret from her.
Her parents' home is a vineyard in California, where Georgia grew up with her older twin brothers, Finn and Bobby. She expects to find the comfort she always experienced as a kid (but also ran away from - she's very clear that she left the vineyard for a life as a more glamorous lawyer). But upon arriving home, she finds that no one is really happy -- not her parents, not Bobby and his wife, and not Finn.Yet, she finds herself longing for life at the vineyard more and more, even as everything is falling apart around her. Hmm.
There are several plotlines in this novel that, when combined, all seem a little ludicrous. Georgia's fiance Ben's secret involves a movie star. The crazy issues between the brothers. The problems and arrangement between her parents. What happens with the vineyard. Even the ending. One or two of the storylines, perhaps, I would have found more believable. All together, it is a bit much. Add in Georgia's constant vacillating (I'm getting married! I'm not! I am!), and it gets to be a bit old.
However, I have to cut Georgia some slack, as I realize, despite the lawyerly job and upcoming wedding, she's young, and she has had quite a shock. She eventually grew on me a bit as the storyline progressed and she herself grew up a bit. And, as silly and as "neat" (as in, neatly tied up) the ending was, it warmed my heart a bit and made me end the book on a good note.
Still, I think I may pick up a Michael Jordan biography next. I'm a little tired of flighty thirty-somethings! Time for a clever, genius, and sometimes angry athlete for a change of pace.
(Note: I received an advance ebook copy of this book from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.)