Book Review: Eight Hundred Grapes by Laura Dave

23492613It takes 800 grapes to make a bottle of wine. But what does it take to make a family? And keep it?

Laura Dave’s Eight Hundred Grapes is a wonderful family drama that explores the intricacies between members of a family, and what it takes to keep them together. The feel of the story is reminiscent of The Family Stone movie from 2005.

Georgia Ford’s upcoming wedding comes to a crashing halt. She runs from Los Angeles, back to her home in Sonoma County, where her family has operated a boutique vineyard for the last thirty years. Georgia needs the comfort of returning to her roots, but is shocked at what she finds when she gets there. Her once close-knit family is turned inside-out. Estranged twin brothers, parents unsure of what they want from life. Secrets kept from her at a distance now stare her in the face, tilting her equilibrium. Georgia thought she knew what she wanted her life to be, but now everything seems uncertain and disjointed.

The theme consistently running through the novel is the synchronization of events.  Unlike fate, everything must be ready.

Synchronization – the coordination of events to operate in union….systems operating with all their parts in synchrony….the interrelationship of things that might normally exist separately. In physics: It’s called simultaneity. In Music: rhythm. In your life: epic failure.

This was an interesting concept to consider. How many of us have been in situations where we thought we were ready for a particular event in our lives, only to find that for some totally unfathomable reason, our stars just weren’t aligned, our universe not ready? Or the opposite – when it’s right, you feel it, way down deep?

The book also explores the choices we all make in our lives, especially involving relationships. Georgia’s mother warns her to be careful what you give up. You many never get it back. And Georgia comes to realize how true her mother’s words are.

I enjoyed Laura Dave’s writing style – very introspective, and eloquent in all the right places. If you like a good family drama, I recommend Eight Hundred Grapes.

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