“The Dinner Party” by Brenda Janowitz was a thought-provoking novel. The plot involves a dinner party given as a Seder Supper. Rebecca Gold of Greenwich has been dating Henry Rothschild for about three months and asks her mother if she may bring Henry as a guest at the family Seder. Sylvia is ecstatic and determined to make this dinner perfect in every way. The Rothschilds are an extremely upper crust Jewish family and Becca’s mother wants to make a good impression. She goes all out to spruce up the house, investigates the Rothschilds on-line to make sure she knows all about them. Even though the family loves the Seder suppers that Sylvia has prepared before, she decides to hire a chef to make it an even more memorable evening. She invites her other daughter Sarah and her boyfriend Joe and even Joe’s very Italian mother. Even though much money has been spent and much planning has gone into making this a dinner to remember, everything falls apart. Eventually, all present come to realize that it isn’t the dinner itself or the table decorations, or the wine or anything else but good old family togetherness that is the most important thing.
I found this novel entertaining and humorous. I saw myself somewhat in Sylvia. Sometimes I try to hard to make everything perfect. It was quite revealing to read this book and discover what I already knew…family is everything.
This Passover Seder is not just any Passover Seder. Yes, there will be a quick service and then a festive meal afterwards, but this night is different from all other nights. This will be the night the Golds of Greenwich meet the Rothschilds of New York City.
The Rothschilds are the stuff of legends. They control banks, own vineyards in Napa, diamond mines in Africa, and even an organic farm somewhere in the Midwest that produces the most popular Romaine lettuce consumed in this country. And now, Sylvia Gold's daughter is dating one of them.
When Sylvia finds out that her youngest of three is going to bring her new boyfriend to the Seder, she's giddy. When she finds out that his parents are coming, too, she darn near faints. Making a good impression is all she thinks about. Well, almost. She still has to consider her other daughter, Sarah, who'll be coming with her less than appropriate beau and his overly dramatic Italian mother. But the drama won't stop there. Because despite the food and the wine, despite the new linen and the fresh flowers, the holidays are about family. Long forgotten memories come to the surface. Old grievances play out. And Sylvia Gold has to learn how to let her family go.