A review by theespressoedition
The Dinner List, by Rebecca Serle

emotional reflective sad slow-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? Character
  • Strong character development? Yes
  • Loveable characters? Yes
  • Diverse cast of characters? No
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? Yes


It's been a very long time since a book has made me feel so deeply.

Sometime last year, I read In Five Years and fell in love with Serle's writing style. One of the things I noticed was that this book had a similar feeling to it. You begin the story not entirely sure of what the heck is happening but as it progresses and you understand all the pieces falling into place, you become emotionally attached to the characters and you actually feel what they're feeling.

When I finished The Dinner List, I had to set the book down, gulp in some air, and get a hug from my husband because I was crying so hard. I wasn't misty or even a little teary. I was near weeping. I can't even remember the last time a book had that effect on me.

You don't necessarily think you'll be emotionally impacted when you hear about a story where the protagonist gets to dine with her "anyone dead or alive" list. I mean, Audrey Hepburn, her estranged and deceased father, her college professor, her best friend, and her ex-boyfriend? What an odd compilation of characters. I appreciated how the story unfolded using a dual timeline. One chapter would take place at dinner and the next was past-tense, reliving what Sabrina experienced in her whirlwind (if not tumultuous) relationship with Tobias.

I found myself completely absorbed in their romance. I also posed the question of "who would I like to dine with?" on a number of occasions while I read. By the end, I was a wreck (in the best way), but also had a lot of thinking to do. It made me want to read this book again and again.

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