Each month, the Bustle Book Clubasks an author to recommend a book they think everyone should read. In January, To All The Boys I've Loved Before author Jenny Han recommended The Dinner List by Rebecca Serle. Follow along with the book club on Bustle and join the conversation on Goodreads.
At the heart of The Dinner List is a question my friends and I have asked each other a million times: If you could share a meal with any five people, living or dead, who would they be? Over the years, I have come up with dozens of my own lists, some populated with my literary heroes and favorite Hollywood, others filled with forgotten friends and lost loved ones. I've imagined who I would sit next to, what questions I'd ask, what advice I'd surely receive from. I've even imagined what I would want to eat — no matter who is at the table, coconut shrimp is on the menu — but what I haven't imagined is how the dinner would actually go. If I sat down with a deceased relative or a best friend from childhood who I haven't seen in years, what exactly would we say? How would interacting with my past make me feel about the present?
These are the questions The Dinner List asks and tries to find answers to. That is what makes the experience of the main character, Sabrina, sitting down for a meal with five fantasy guests — her father, an ex-lover, an old friend, a former mentor, and Audrey Hepburn — read less like an epic dream and more like a heartfelt therapy session. Over the course of dinner, Sabrina and the readers following along on her journey have the opportunity to learn a lot about love and friendship, loss and forgetting, and that pesky task we all have to face some day: growing up.
If you haven't started Serle's novel yet, these 11 quotes from The Dinner List will convince you this novel is worth the read. (That is, if Jenny Han's recommendation hasn't already.)