Dear Great Book Guru, I recently attended an incredible concert here in Sea Cliff. Jimmy Moore was scheduled to perform at Roslyn Park but weather forecasts were dire, so he moved the concert to his studio. He was magnificent! Afterwards, we stayed around chatting and someone mentioned a new book about a family of restaurateurs. It sounded interesting - any thoughts? Music Maven
Dear Music Maven, I’m a big fan of Jimmy Moore’s music too and I think I know the book that was mentioned: MARRYING THE KETCHUPS by Jennifer Close. This is the story of three generations of Sullivans – a Chicago family whose lives center around JP Sullivan’s Bar and Restaurant. The story opens as the Cubs win the World Series, Donald Trump is elected president, and Bud - the family patriarch - dies unexpectedly. The reactions of the family to these events make for a great comic novel both tender and shocking. Each of the grandchildren has a story - starting with Gretchen, a lead singer in a band who wonders if she will ever really make it. Her grandfather’s death makes her reconsider many of her choices. Her older sister Jane begins to suspect her marriage is not as stable as she thought while their cousin Teddy - longstanding bartender - finds himself being stalked by a mysterious customer. Each of the family reacts to the changes that time and mortality bring in startlingly different and sometimes hilarious ways. This is a quick read with a subtle message – recommended!