Dear Great Book Guru, This Saturday is the Sea Cliff Civic Association’s annual Progressive Dinner. It is my first time attending and I am very excited and a little anxious. I would feel more comfortable if I have a book to mention. Any thoughts? Progressive Dinner Diner
Dear Progressive Dinner Diner, Tina Marchese does an amazing job each year organizing this iconic event so you have nothing to fear- but I do have a great conversation starter: ALTERNATE SIDE by Anna Quindlen. This is a tale of New York City life told from the perspective of Nora Nolan, director of a small museum and owner of a brownstone in the rarest of locations: a Manhattan cul-de-sac with even more remarkably… an adjacent parking lot - hence no need for the dreaded NYC alternate side of the street parking. But in this novel, alternate side also stands for the social and economic divide that exists in Nora’s world with its many - as she calls them - “first world problems” that are outsourced to a cadre of nannies, housekeepers, and handymen. When a resident with anger management issues attacks one of these workers with a golf club, the underbelly of class, race, and gender inequalities is revealed. Marriages, friendships, careers, fortunes… all shift as “alternate sides” are chosen. A wonderfully perceptive look into a world we can all recognize. Highly recommended!