The Island is a story about relationships centered around four women: Birdie, Chess, Tate and India.
Birdie, a divorcee, planning her daughter’s wedding and generally looking for things to occupy her time since her divorce from Grant two years ago. She proposes a last hurrah of sorts with Chess, her eldest daughter. who is getting married in the Fall. She would like to go to Tuckernuck Island (near Nantucket) and spend two weeks at the old Tate family house. Chess, a successful editor at Glamorous Home, initially is hesitant. She then decides to go with her mom.
Birdie calls the man who had been the caretaker of the house and asks him to prepare it for their stay. The caretaker is retired, but his son, Barrett, can take care of the renovations to those house. After being abandoned for thirteen years the house has seen better days. It needs a lot of repair, but Barrett feels that he can have it repaired in time for Birdie’s trip with her daughter in July.
Then everything changes. Chess calls off the wedding and she quits her job. She also cuts her beautiful hair. She flees the city to stay with her mother. And then tragedy strikes, her ex-finance dies in a mountain climbing accident. Continue reading
Synopsis: Betty Weissman is stunned when her husband, Joseph, of 48 years announced that he would like a divorce sitting “irreconcilable difference”. When Betty is forced to leave her and Joseph’s apartment in New York and flee to Westport she is joined by her daughter Miranda, who’s career as a successful literary agent crashed after yet another one of her clients is found guilty of lying about their book. Annie, Betty and Joseph’s other daughter, moves to Westport to keep an eye on her mother, sister and manage the finance
My thoughts: This book was a huge disappointment. I bought the book as a result of seeing a glowing review in the New York Times. Other reviews I read suggested this was going to be a funny book about a mother and her daughters exiled in Westport. Either Schine forgot to bring the funny or these reviewers have a wildly different definition of what is funny compared to me.
I found myself struggling to finish the book. After about 100 pages I thought about giving it up but since I actually bought the book I felt like I should see it to the end. I also kept thinking that it would improve. It did not.
The women in the book were annoying and weak. I wanted to care about Betty, Annie and Miranda and their plights but I couldn’t be bothered because I never felt any sort of connection to them or any of the other characters. The only character I did enjoy was that of a young child, Harry, who ends up being cared for by Miranda.
Lastly, I think if Jane Austen were to read this book I really don’t think she would be happy with the comparisons to Sense and Sensibility. That book is a classic. This is not.