Book Review: Seating Arrangements by Maggie Shipstead
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Book Review: Seating Arrangements by Maggie Shipstead

New York Times Best Seller, Oprah 2.0 Book Club Must Read
Planning a wedding from start to finish can be exhausting and overwhelming, but cheering for his own daughter's big day presents unexpected challenges to Winn Van Meter, whose "masculine world of peace and quiet" is turned upside down by a slew of things conspiring to happen together over just three days. Winn is a fictional character from Maggie Shipstead's first novel Seating Arrangements, which has already hit the New York Times Best Seller list and was selected as a must read by the Oprah 2.0 Book Club!

Set on exclusive Nantucket-like island during the weekend of an extravagant wedding, the book leads us into the privileged yet unauthentic lives of the social elite. The story is undoubtedly eventful. A pregnant bride, a troublesome bridesmaid, an unplanned baby, an exploding whale and marital infidelity are not the only mishaps you may expect while reading the book.

While reading Seating Arrangements, I was most attracted by its refined language and writing style rather than the intricate storyline. The story is told through the lens of a father, a husband and ultimately a man trying to suppress his dangerous desires. There's no way to tell that the author is actually of the opposite gender. This is a fresh reading experience for me, as most of the fictions I've read had an unambiguous female focus.

Maggie Shipstead strikes me as a highly talented writer, as exemplified by how well she reveals the dark side of the upper class with an exquisite sense of humor. The book is rich in intriguing metaphors that are original and amazingly accurate. Just as Maggie indicated in an interview: Every word matters!

What I also love about the book is that it reinforces the importance of family, love and faith instead of merely ridiculing the characters for their misbehavior.

Whether for the story or the storytelling, the book provides an excellent summer read. You may get a hardcover copy for less than $15 on Amazon.

About the author:
Maggie Shipstead is a graduate of Harvard and of the Iowa Writers' Workshop. She is also a recipient of the Stegner Fellowship from Stanford University. Her short fiction has appeared in Tin House, VQR, Glimmer Train, The Best American Short Stories, and other publications.

Disclosure: I received free book to facilitate my honest review as a member of the Role Mommy Book Club. No monetary exchange took place. All views and opinions expressed are my own and may differ from yours.

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