The Dinner List
We’ve been waiting for an hour. That’s what Audrey says. She states it with a little bit of an edge, her words just bordering on cursive. That’s the thing I think first. Not: Audrey Hepburn is at my birthday dinner, but Audrey Hepburn is annoyed.At one point or another, we’ve all been asked to name five people, living or dead, with whom we’d like to have dinner. Why do we choose the people we do? And what if that dinner was to actually happen? These are the questions Rebecca Serle contends within her utterly captivating novel, The Dinner List, a story imbued with the same delightful magical realism as One Day, and the life-changing romance of Me Before You.When Sabrina arrives at her thirtieth birthday dinner she finds at the table not just her best friend, but also three significant people from her past, and well, Audrey Hepburn. As the appetizers are served, wine poured, and dinner table conversation begins, it becomes clear that there’s a reason these six people have been gathered together.Delicious but never indulgent, sweet with just the right amount of bitter, The Dinner List is a romance for our times. Bon appetit.

The Dinner List Details

TitleThe Dinner List
Author
LanguageEnglish
ReleaseSep 11th, 2018
PublisherFlatiron Books
Rating
GenreFiction, Romance, Magical Realism, Contemporary

The Dinner List Review

  • Larry H
    January 1, 1970
    4.5 stars, rounded up for the tears it left me with.It's one of those icebreaker questions that nearly everyone gets asked at least once in their life: If you could have dinner with any five people, living or dead, who would they be?Sabrina and her college roommate, Jessica, answered that question at some point. Among those Sabrina chose were her father, who moved out when she was very young and she never knew him; Plato, because she was studying philosophy; and Audrey Hepburn, 4.5 stars, rounded up for the tears it left me with.It's one of those icebreaker questions that nearly everyone gets asked at least once in their life: If you could have dinner with any five people, living or dead, who would they be?Sabrina and her college roommate, Jessica, answered that question at some point. Among those Sabrina chose were her father, who moved out when she was very young and she never knew him; Plato, because she was studying philosophy; and Audrey Hepburn, "because I was a nineteen-year-old girl." (Her father, in particular, was a huge Hepburn fan, and in fact, named his daughter for his favorite of Hepburn's films.) She believed, for the most part, that conversation was finished.On her 30th birthday, she is scheduled to continue the tradition of meeting Jessica for dinner to celebrate. She is utterly shocked to find not only Jessica waiting for her, but a table that also includes Robert, her father; Professor Conrad, her philosophy professor, who served as a type of surrogate father figure; Audrey Hepburn. The table's fifth guest is Tobias. Tobias and Sabrina have had an on-again, off-again relationship for nearly the last decade, and while they can't always make each other completely happy, there's no doubt about just how intensely the two love each other."I'm surprised I have the ability for words, because this is insane. Maybe I'm dreaming. Maybe this is some sort of mental breakdown. I blink. I think maybe when I open my eyes it will be just Jessica seated there, which is what I'd been expecting. I have the urge to bolt out the door, or maybe go to the bathroom, splash some cold water on my face to determine whether or not they're really here—whether we're all really here together."Once the initial shock of the gathering wears off, and Sabrina resigns herself to the fact that this whole experience might not be real, nor is there any rational explanation for it, she realizes she has until midnight to enjoy the assemblage. Why not take advantage of those who joined her, to address unresolved issues, make peace where necessary, and understand why certain things happened the way they did? Little by little, she realizes one of the guests is there for one particular purpose, a purpose Sabrina is absolutely not ready for. The Dinner List is fascinating, emotional, and beautifully poignant. Yes, it requires you to suspend your disbelief as you read the book, unless these types of dinner parties happen often in your life. Certainly you can see how the plot may develop, but you may hope, as I did, that Rebecca Serle may have some other magical arrows in store. This is a book for anyone who wishes they had said important things to people who are/were important to them, but couldn't find the courage or the opportunity.The book alternates between the dinner party and the story of Tobias and Sabrina's relationship, and how it affected those around them. It's a beautiful story on its own, made ever more poignant and hopeful by the circumstances that brought everyone together. This is a tremendously insightful story, with each of the dinner guests weighing in with their perspectives on life, love, loss, family, and regrets. The Dinner List may not be a book for everyone, but being a total sap, it totally worked for me. I can't even begin to count how many times I've wished I had one more opportunity to get closure with people who are no longer in my life for one reason or another, so the emotions felt very genuine. If you can embrace this concept, think about whom you might want to dine with, and then pick up this book! (Maybe it will make you sob as much as I did, lol.)See all of my reviews at itseithersadnessoreuphoria.blogspot.com, or check out my list of the best books I read in 2017 at https://itseithersadnessoreuphoria.blogspot.com/2018/01/the-best-books-i-read-in-2017.html.
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  • Norma * Traveling Sister
    January 1, 1970
    Unique, wistful & magical!Such an imaginative premise that will have you asking yourself if you could invite five people living or dead to a dinner party who would you choose? THE DINNER LIST by REBECCA SERLE is a wonderful, captivating, touching, fun and light-hearted tale that I was immediately drawn into and devoured rather quickly. REBECCA SERLE delivers an intriguing, engaging, complex and well-written story here told in short alternating chapters to make this a quick and ea Unique, wistful & magical!Such an imaginative premise that will have you asking yourself if you could invite five people living or dead to a dinner party who would you choose? THE DINNER LIST by REBECCA SERLE is a wonderful, captivating, touching, fun and light-hearted tale that I was immediately drawn into and devoured rather quickly. REBECCA SERLE delivers an intriguing, engaging, complex and well-written story here told in short alternating chapters to make this a quick and easy read. The story was filled with diverse and unique characters, an enchanting and delicious setting, and a heartfelt and insightful storyline. Although, I really enjoyed this one and I was swept right under its spell the drama wore me down a little bit. Sabrina has some issues here that she is dealing with and a lot she is confronting from her past. Normally I welcome a lot of drama in my novels but for some reason it became a little exhausting and suspecting one of the twists was a little disheartening lessening the impact of the pivotal moment for me.The storyline definitely had me dreaming and pondering which five guests I would choose and wouldn’t it be fun if fantasy just became reality.Norma’s Stats:Cover: That striking, bright & bold yellow cover definitely caught my eye and definitely enticed me into buying and reading this book. Title: The title definitely intrigued me and it is a fitting and excellent representation to storyline. Writing/Prose: Well-written, fluid, witty, beautiful and engaging.Plot: Engrossing, insightful, thought-provoking, interesting, heartfelt, fast-paced, and entertaining.Ending: Bittersweet, tearjerker and satisfying. Overall: This was an all around fabulous book that was beautifully poignant with an absolutely wonderful message! Would recommend!All of our Traveling Sisters Reviews can be found on our sister blog:https://twosisterslostinacoulee.com
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  • Melanie
    January 1, 1970
    This was my pick for the August 2018 Book of the Month box! “I love you, but it doesn’t mean anything if you’re not happy.” Friends, I wanted to love this so much. And at first, this really did feel like watching a lucid dream play out, and I felt so enthralled and captivated! But as time went on, I just cared less and less about the dinner, about the past, and about this book. The Dinner List is a play on the conversation starter of which five people would you bring to a dinner party, dead or alive? And our mainbox! This was my pick for the August 2018 Book of the Month box! “I love you, but it doesn’t mean anything if you’re not happy.” Friends, I wanted to love this so much. And at first, this really did feel like watching a lucid dream play out, and I felt so enthralled and captivated! But as time went on, I just cared less and less about the dinner, about the past, and about this book. The Dinner List is a play on the conversation starter of which five people would you bring to a dinner party, dead or alive? And our main character, Sabrina, is living that reality on her thirtieth birthday this December. We get thrown into a present day restaurant with her and the five people she chose, while the chapters alternate between her past and a romance that has completely consumed her life for almost a decade. ➽ Audrey Hepburn -I mean, she’s pretty self-explanatory. But besides being Sabrina’s namesake, her movies also held a high importance in some pivotal moments in Sabrina’s life. ➽ Professor Conrad - A college professor who I guess made a big impact on her. I’ll be honest, I kept waiting for “more” with this dinner guest choice. ➽ Robert - The father that she never knew, because he left when she was little.➽ Jessica - Her best friend throughout most of her life. ➽ Tobias - The greatest love of her life. And again, this story is truly about why he is at this dinner and why they aren’t currently together. “But it's also not an easy thing to be married to darkness. Eventually I dimmed so far I extinguished.” Yet, the constant theme of this book is fate and how a ripple effect can really change our lives because of a few choices we made while not really even thinking. I mean, I know this is true of my life, and I’m sure for most of you. Yet, we get to see Sabrina’s play out more and more between each alternating chapter. As I read through more and more of the story, I felt more captivated by the chapters set in the past and found the present dinner chapters much less enjoyable. Especially with the friend Jessica. I honestly started to hate her towards the end of the book, which I’m not sure will be a mutual feeling with more readers, or not. I mean, this entire book is trying to talk about how none of us are perfect, and how we all make mistakes. But, man, Jessica just felt like such a bad friend throughout this entire novel. Like, she had no redeeming qualities for me, like everyone else at the table did. “All we needed was to stay this close. Right up against each other, without any space between us. If we did that, we were good. It was just the world—with all its loud chaos, its demands and people and air—that made us fight…”” But I will also be honest and say that I disliked Sabrina and Tobias more, too. I feel like this just really isn't the healthiest depiction of love. And I get that love can be messy, and complicated, and hard to even put into words, but you have to be happy. You can’t keep settling, over and over, because you’re scared of upsetting your partner. I will say that I don’t even know what Sabrina ever truly wanted, but I never once thought her and Tobias had anything remotely healthy. Sex and cuddling are important, but you have to be able to count on the person you’re sharing your life with. And that doesn’t have an age limit and shouldn’t be glossed over like, “oh they just don’t want to grow up!” I’ve seen sixteen-year-olds in healthier relationships than them. And you never, ever, have to lose something to know it’s worth and value. Miss me with that garbage thinking. Overall, this book just wasn’t for me. And I hope if you pick it up that you’ll enjoy it more than I did. I also recommend reading this in close to one or two sittings for a better experience. I almost think me putting it down for fifty pages at a time did me a disservice even more, since the story really does have a “dream like” quality to it, and I was probably making it feel more jarring than it needed to be. Blog | Instagram | Twitter | Tumblr | Youtube | TwitchContent and trigger warnings for abandonment, talk of alcoholism, talk of cheating, talk of miscarrying, talk of unhealthy dieting, talk of cancer, and loss of a loved one. Buddy read with Caidyn at BW Reviews! ❤
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  • Kylie D
    January 1, 1970
    Who would you invite to your theoretical dinner party? You know, the one where you can have 5 people, living or dead turn up? For Sabrina's 30th Birthday she invites her best friend, her college professor, her estranged late father, the love of her life and, well, Audrey Hepburn. So imagine her surprise when she turns up to dinner and they're all sitting there waiting for her.This is a poignant tale, sad, and funny at times, as Sabrina travels through her life recalling events that b Who would you invite to your theoretical dinner party? You know, the one where you can have 5 people, living or dead turn up? For Sabrina's 30th Birthday she invites her best friend, her college professor, her estranged late father, the love of her life and, well, Audrey Hepburn. So imagine her surprise when she turns up to dinner and they're all sitting there waiting for her.This is a poignant tale, sad, and funny at times, as Sabrina travels through her life recalling events that brought her here. But mainly it's a love story, the all-consuming love between Tobias and herself.It's a brilliantly told tale, original and bittersweet and I have no hesitation in recommending it.So, who would you have at your dinner party?
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  • Jenny
    January 1, 1970
    We've all done it before. We've daydreamed, analyzed, pondered, wished and sometimes argued about it. What five people would you invite to dinner if you could have anyone. Living or dead, famous or family, past or present, real or fictional, people you know or someone you've never met - those are a few of the questions we have contemplated when making our ultimate dinner list.Years ago, thirty year old Sabrina and her best friend, Jessica, make a list of five people they want at their dinn We've all done it before. We've daydreamed, analyzed, pondered, wished and sometimes argued about it. What five people would you invite to dinner if you could have anyone. Living or dead, famous or family, past or present, real or fictional, people you know or someone you've never met - those are a few of the questions we have contemplated when making our ultimate dinner list.Years ago, thirty year old Sabrina and her best friend, Jessica, make a list of five people they want at their dinner. Years later, Sabrina's list becomes a reality at her 30th birthday dinner.Rebecca Serle's book, The Dinner List, invites us to take a seat at the table for a lively dinner full of conversation. Sabrina, along with Jessica, spends the evening with a professor from the past, her absentee father, her ex-fiancee and Audrey Hepburn. Why Audrey Hepburn? The real question should be, why not Audrey Hepburn. It's hard not to fall in love with this story as you will become invested in each character's story. Serle's character development is rich and deep. You will feel yourself laughing at times as well as shedding a few tears with each one of these characters and their story.Former North Carolina State basketball coach, Jim Valvano, once said, "We should do three things everyday of our life. Number one is laugh, you should laugh every day. Number two is to think, we should spend some time in thought, and number three is you should have your emotions moved to tears."The Dinner List gives us an abundance of all those things inside a beautiful yellow cover. Not only do you get a wonderful story from Serle, you will find yourself thinking and daydreaming of your "dinner list" as an extra bonus. Add this book to your must read shelves and enjoy the meal. For readers looking to add The Dinner List to your book clubs, make sure to allow extra time because you and your friends should enjoy this discussion over dinner and dessert for sure!I received an advance copy of this book from Netgalley. My reviews are unbiased and you can follow all of my reviews at thejwordpress.wordpress.com as well as Goodreads. #Netgalley #TheDinnerList
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  • Kristin (KC) - Traveling Sister
    January 1, 1970
    *4 Stars* for a unique read that warms the soul, touches the heart, and stings the tear ducts! Very much enjoyed this one! RTC...
  • Erin
    January 1, 1970
    3.5 stars Audiobook narrated by the author, Rebecca Serle 5h 50 min 39secs Who are the 5 people, living or dead, that you would invite to dinner? Now I have been asked this question at different times of my life( FYI- General Romeo Dallaire, Jane Austen, Tolstoy, Anne Frank, and Meryl Streep), but I have never considered adding people from my personal life ( am I terrible?). That's what makes The Dinner List so refreshingly original. While we know the question, Sabrina , our main character, arrive 3.5 stars Audiobook narrated by the author, Rebecca Serle 5h 50 min 39secs Who are the 5 people, living or dead, that you would invite to dinner? Now I have been asked this question at different times of my life( FYI- General Romeo Dallaire, Jane Austen, Tolstoy, Anne Frank, and Meryl Streep), but I have never considered adding people from my personal life ( am I terrible?). That's what makes The Dinner List so refreshingly original. While we know the question, Sabrina , our main character, arrives at a dinner with her father,Robert, her best friend, Jessica, her ex-boyfriend, Tobias, her college professor, Conrad, and a 40ish Audrey Hepburn. Interlaced with the dinner table talk are flashbacks that are heavy on Jessica and Tobias' role in Sabrina's life. Since it is Sabrina's "dinner", it is her life under the microscope and all her dinner guests are there to help her consider what she will do next while also coming face to face with her past. I would definitely recommend to a friend!
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  • Elyse (retired from reviewing/semi hiatus) Walters
    January 1, 1970
    Average-Enjoyable!Dreamy ‘fantasy’ fun:“what five people would you invite to dinner - dead or alive? Paul and I played this game while walking last Saturday morning. We both had Robin Williams - Jimmy Kimmel- our father’s whom we both lost to death as children - each other - and we tossed around other names such as John Lennon .... thinking we might have some nice music at the dinner table.... and the Dalai Lama to hold the space of spirituality. So - this book got my imaginati Average-Enjoyable!Dreamy ‘fantasy’ fun:“what five people would you invite to dinner - dead or alive? Paul and I played this game while walking last Saturday morning. We both had Robin Williams - Jimmy Kimmel- our father’s whom we both lost to death as children - each other - and we tossed around other names such as John Lennon .... thinking we might have some nice music at the dinner table.... and the Dalai Lama to hold the space of spirituality. So - this book got my imagination fired up... ...much was quite serious and sad- ....parts were a little bland...needing more flair of humor and jazzy pizzazz. But as I got deeper into the story -came upon surprises that were delightful -and/or sometimes made me want to weep - my heart warmed more. I did question why there was emphasis on smoking. Sabrina started smoking because the first time she kissed Tobias he smelled like smoke and honey. So she took up smoking. I would’ve rather seen her be a beekeeper.A touch of romance ...Tender & pleasurable ...but overall not wildly entertaining.
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  • Jenny
    January 1, 1970
    We've all done it before. We've daydreamed, analyzed, pondered, wished and sometimes argued about it. What five people would you invite to dinner if you could have anyone. Living or dead, famous or family, past or present, real or fictional, people you know or someone you've never met - those are a few of the questions we have contemplated when making our ultimate dinner list.Years ago, thirty year old Sabrina and her best friend, Jessica, make a list of five people they want at their dinn We've all done it before. We've daydreamed, analyzed, pondered, wished and sometimes argued about it. What five people would you invite to dinner if you could have anyone. Living or dead, famous or family, past or present, real or fictional, people you know or someone you've never met - those are a few of the questions we have contemplated when making our ultimate dinner list.Years ago, thirty year old Sabrina and her best friend, Jessica, make a list of five people they want at their dinner. Years later, Sabrina's list becomes a reality at her 30th birthday dinner.Rebecca Serle's book, The Dinner List, invites us to take a seat at the table for a lively dinner full of conversation. Sabrina, along with Jessica, spends the evening with a professor from the past, her absentee father, her ex-fiancee and Audrey Hepburn. Why Audrey Hepburn? The real question should be, why not Audrey Hepburn. It's hard not to fall in love with this story as you will become invested in each character's story. Serle's character development is rich and deep. You will feel yourself laughing at times as well as shedding a few tears with each one of these characters and their story.Former North Carolina State basketball coach, Jim Valvano, once said, "We should do three things everyday of our life. Number one is laugh, you should laugh every day. Number two is to think, we should spend some time in thought, and number three is you should have your emotions moved to tears."The Dinner List gives us an abundance of all those things inside a beautiful yellow cover. Not only do you get a wonderful story from Serle, you will find yourself thinking and daydreaming of your "dinner list" as an extra bonus. Add this book to your must read shelves and enjoy the meal. For readers looking to add The Dinner List to your book clubs, make sure to allow extra time because you and your friends should enjoy this discussion over dinner and dessert for sure!I received an advance copy of this book from Netgalley. My reviews are unbiased and you can follow all of my reviews at thejwordpress.wordpress.com as well as Goodreads. #Netgalley #TheDinnerList
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  • leslie hamod
    January 1, 1970
    If you had a dinner party and you could invite five people, who would you choose?Ah! I can literally hear your minds! I must pick people who would impress, people with well known names, perhaps a famous writer or painter. I am correct! Am I not?!! We must never choose a nobody. Who would think us so lowly!But have you anyone with whom things went awry? Some unfinished business perhaps, some one beloved but lost?This book transcends the fatal flaw in us all, pride! Gasp! Not us, If you had a dinner party and you could invite five people, who would you choose?Ah! I can literally hear your minds! I must pick people who would impress, people with well known names, perhaps a famous writer or painter. I am correct! Am I not?!! We must never choose a nobody. Who would think us so lowly!But have you anyone with whom things went awry? Some unfinished business perhaps, some one beloved but lost?This book transcends the fatal flaw in us all, pride! Gasp! Not us, you are thinking.But suppose this dinner did include those people who actually have made us who we are? Friends, a parent or an old lover!What to talk about? And how to go about it!The message is hidden in this book. I won't tell. None of the guests present can tell! One of the best books I've has the opportunity to read. This is not only highly recommended but it is a MUST READ!
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  • Brandice
    January 1, 1970
    The Dinner List is the story of Sabrina’s 30th birthday, in which she arrives at a restaurant and 5 guests are waiting for dinner with her. The guests include Tobias, her ex-boyfriend, Robert, her father, Jessica, her best friend, Conrad, one of her former professors, and Audrey Hepburn. The story shifts from the here and now to events in Sabrina’s life, prior to the dinner party. This was a cute story, and a bit deeper than I initially anticipated. I enjoyed the premise - Who hasn’t been hit with a The Dinner List is the story of Sabrina’s 30th birthday, in which she arrives at a restaurant and 5 guests are waiting for dinner with her. The guests include Tobias, her ex-boyfriend, Robert, her father, Jessica, her best friend, Conrad, one of her former professors, and Audrey Hepburn. The story shifts from the here and now to events in Sabrina’s life, prior to the dinner party. This was a cute story, and a bit deeper than I initially anticipated. I enjoyed the premise - Who hasn’t been hit with a question along these lines before? Who would you invite to such an event? The options are endless! I thought The Dinner List was good but not great. I found Sabrina to be a little too timid for the annoyance level she had with some of the other characters. While I felt like her irritations were valid, I was irritated by the way she handled things - more than once. I did enjoy this book enough that I would read more from Serle.
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  • Heather
    January 1, 1970
    I love how unique and interesting the plot is and how it was executed..The characters in this book were messy, the friendships were messy and the romance was messy but I actually enjoyed that. It showed realistic relationships and how messy everyone is and how flawed we all are..It’s a quick read at only 276 pages and the ending and whole book was bittersweet. I love the idea of the dinner party and how it was written!.My rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐ I love how unique and interesting the plot is and how it was executed..The characters in this book were messy, the friendships were messy and the romance was messy but I actually enjoyed that. It showed realistic relationships and how messy everyone is and how flawed we all are..It’s a quick read at only 276 pages and the ending and whole book was bittersweet. I love the idea of the dinner party and how it was written!.My rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
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  • Book of the Month
    January 1, 1970
    Why I Love Itby Natalie ReeceAs someone who has watched Sabrina and Breakfast at Tiffany’s more times than I can count, I was immediately sucked into The Dinner List, which is about a normal woman who shows up to dinner only to find Audrey Hepburn, snifter of scotch in hand, sitting at the table. The premise of the book is brilliant: If you could have dinner with any five people, living or dead, who would you choose? What would you uncover in that one night?The story takes place all in Why I Love Itby Natalie ReeceAs someone who has watched Sabrina and Breakfast at Tiffany’s more times than I can count, I was immediately sucked into The Dinner List, which is about a normal woman who shows up to dinner only to find Audrey Hepburn, snifter of scotch in hand, sitting at the table. The premise of the book is brilliant: If you could have dinner with any five people, living or dead, who would you choose? What would you uncover in that one night?The story takes place all in one night, at a birthday party for Sabrina (note the namesake here) that four notable people from her past—along with Audrey—attend. It also takes place across an entire decade-long relationship between Sabrina and the great love of her life, Tobias. In one chapter, we’re placed in this mystical dinner setting, and in the next, we’re being fed pieces of their relationship that leave you questioning—what happened between them? We learn not just about Sabrina’s relationship with Tobias, but also about her more strained connections with her father, Robert, as well as with her best friend, Jessica. There’s also a wise and eccentric professor from her college days, oh, and did I mention Audrey Hepburn?The Dinner List made me swoon, dream, and wonder. While wrapped up in the book, I almost felt as if this too could happen to me. That one night I might wind up at dinner with people who I’ve loved and lost, and finally get a chance to say what I always wished I had said before.Read more at: https://www.bookofthemonth.com/the-di...
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  • Cindy Burnett
    January 1, 1970
    4.5 starsThe Dinner List is a fabulous read – thought-provoking, contemplative, and a bit magical. Sabrina arrives at her 30th birthday dinner expecting to dine with just her best friend and instead finds Audrey Hepburn and 3 other important people from her past waiting to share the meal with her. She recollects a time when she was asked to name 5 people, living or dead, with whom she would like to eat dinner and realizes that these individuals are now there to celebrate her birthday 4.5 starsThe Dinner List is a fabulous read – thought-provoking, contemplative, and a bit magical. Sabrina arrives at her 30th birthday dinner expecting to dine with just her best friend and instead finds Audrey Hepburn and 3 other important people from her past waiting to share the meal with her. She recollects a time when she was asked to name 5 people, living or dead, with whom she would like to eat dinner and realizes that these individuals are now there to celebrate her birthday. As the evening unfolds and the various courses are served, Sabrina’s meal with these 5 people helps her come to terms with her past and become better prepared to face her future. What more could you ask for in a 30th birthday dinner?The inclusion of Audrey Hepburn was what first drew me to this book since I am a huge fan of hers. She was the perfect individual to insert into this story. For purposes of telling the story, Searle chose only one famous individual, Audrey Hepburn, and the rest were significant to Sabrina. As I was reading, I was wishing that there had been at least one more historically significant (or just famous) individual in the tale because I loved the sections with Audrey in them the best. After reading The Dinner List, I have pondered numerous times who I would include at such a dinner. Currently (though I am sure such a thing changes over time), I would want to dine with Johnny Cash, Robert Frost, Mary Pickford, Harriet Tubman, and Martin Luther King, Jr. What a dinner that would be! One of my favorite things about this book was the thought I have put into this list ever since I finished the book.Covers that match the tenor of book always make me happy. Choosing bright yellow for the cover was a stroke of genius. It draws attention to the book and suits the tone of the story perfectly.The Dinner List is a beautiful story that will stay with me for a long time. It is a creative and unique tale.
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  • Sara
    January 1, 1970
    This book was in my pile of "books that have shown up as ARCS on my porch" and I was hoping for a light fluffy read to escape the perpetual flow of bad news on my Twitter feed. However, I still ended up feeling kind of depressed after reading this novel. The premise is one of those awful "get to know you" ice-breaker questions -- imagine you could invite any five people to have dinner with you (on your 30th birthday, no less). In this story, Sabrina chooses her best friend, her estranged dad, he This book was in my pile of "books that have shown up as ARCS on my porch" and I was hoping for a light fluffy read to escape the perpetual flow of bad news on my Twitter feed. However, I still ended up feeling kind of depressed after reading this novel. The premise is one of those awful "get to know you" ice-breaker questions -- imagine you could invite any five people to have dinner with you (on your 30th birthday, no less). In this story, Sabrina chooses her best friend, her estranged dad, her on-again-off-again boyfriend, an old college professor, and Audrey Hepburn (what did she do to deserve this?!?). Having trundled past my 30th birthday a few years ago, I found this choice of people to be rather uninspired -- but hey, you do you.I think part of my disconnect with this story was that I actually sympathized with both Sabrina and her best friend, Jessica, in their life choices, but also wanted to shake some sense into them. Jessica: "[Sabrina] had this sense [that her romantic relationship] was just supposed to work, and you weren't supposed to have to work for it... like their love story was so epic the day-to-day didn't matter. But that's what relationships are. They're day-to-day."Sabrina: "I made a salad with arugula and onions and some pine nuts I found in our cabinet. Tobias was always buying food supplies I didn't think we could afford, but this time I didn't care. I was grateful for all of it, for the way the food was bringing us back together. We ate on the living room floor because we didn't have a table, and because there was something romantic about being young and broke and in love. And when you're young and broke and in love you eat lasagna on the floor. Although it didn't escape me that there was a difference between being broke at twenty-two and at twenty-eight."Me: ... you live in freaking Manhattan and you work in publishing.
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  • Carolyn
    January 1, 1970
    When Sabrina arrives at her 30th birthday dinner, she finds the five people (dead or alive) she would invite to dinner seated around the table. There is her best friend from college, Jessica (now more distant as she is married with a baby), her father Robert (recently deceased, who left the family when Sabrina was young), Conrad, her favourite college professor, Audrey Hepburn (deceased) and Tobias, the love of her life.The seminal events of Jessica's life are revisited through each When Sabrina arrives at her 30th birthday dinner, she finds the five people (dead or alive) she would invite to dinner seated around the table. There is her best friend from college, Jessica (now more distant as she is married with a baby), her father Robert (recently deceased, who left the family when Sabrina was young), Conrad, her favourite college professor, Audrey Hepburn (deceased) and Tobias, the love of her life.The seminal events of Jessica's life are revisited through each course of the meal until midnight as she tries to make sense of the important relationships and painful events in her life - those with Robert, Jessica and Tobias. At times humorous, this a bittersweet love story, although I found both Jessica and Tobias to be somewhat self-centred and selfish and didn't fully engage with either character.3.5★
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  • Mandy White
    January 1, 1970
    Beautiful beautiful story! Just loved it. I am a big fan of Audrey Hepburn and she would definitely be on my Dinner List. This book was fun, it was sad, it makes you laugh and makes you think. So happy that I found it.
  • Darinda
    January 1, 1970
    Sabrina’s birthday dinner has quite the guest list – her best friend, her father, her boyfriend, her favorite college professor, and Audrey Hepburn. This is not any normal dinner gathering, and it seems Sabrina has some things from her past to discuss with the invited guests.A unique and magical story that answers the question that many people have discussed – If you could have dinner with any five people, living or dead, who would they be? Sabrina chooses people she cares about, and Sabrina’s birthday dinner has quite the guest list – her best friend, her father, her boyfriend, her favorite college professor, and Audrey Hepburn. This is not any normal dinner gathering, and it seems Sabrina has some things from her past to discuss with the invited guests.A unique and magical story that answers the question that many people have discussed – If you could have dinner with any five people, living or dead, who would they be? Sabrina chooses people she cares about, and Audrey Hepburn. Because, who wouldn’t invite Audrey.As the dinner progresses, it’s clear there are some serious topics to be discussed. While sometimes emotional, there are moments of humor. A delightful book for readers who enjoy magical realism. Thought-provoking, engaging, and heart-breaking.
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  • Bookworm
    January 1, 1970
    A gracious thank you to Flatiron Books and Rebecca Serle for an advanced copy of The Dinner List. I’m giving ALL the stars for this one! I will admit I was hovering between 4 and 4.5 but then that ending knocked me off my feet...oh geez what an ending!! This book is more than just a love story although it IS ALSO a beautifully crafted love story. . It is about how our past skeletons affect our future decisions. It is about learning how to forgive. It is about being honest with oneself and growin A gracious thank you to Flatiron Books and Rebecca Serle for an advanced copy of The Dinner List. I’m giving ALL the stars for this one! I will admit I was hovering between 4 and 4.5 but then that ending knocked me off my feet...oh geez what an ending!! This book is more than just a love story although it IS ALSO a beautifully crafted love story. . It is about how our past skeletons affect our future decisions. It is about learning how to forgive. It is about being honest with oneself and growing up. It is about much more but I don’t want to give anything away. If you have ever had that one true love that broke your heart, this is your book. This is an emotionally complex story that really makes you think. Imagine you could invite any 5 people of your choosing - dead or alive - to a dinner party. That’s what happens to Sabrina on her 30th birthday. Her and her best friend Jessica have always met for dinner on each others birthdays, but this year a few unexpected guests show up as well. These guests are on a dinner guest list that Sabrina made up years ago - her absent father Robert, her old university professor Conrad, Audrey Hepburn, her ex-fiancé Tobias and Jessica. As the night gets going and the conversation begins, Sabrina begins to understand the true reason for each person being at the dinner.The writing is light and effortless with a twist of humour. It brings the reader in as though they are a fly on the wall at this dinner party. The story is both thought=provoking and moving. I was hooked from the get go. Absolutely recommend!
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  • Tom Donaghey
    January 1, 1970
    THE DINNER LIST by Rebecca Serle is not the book for me. While well written with some nice characters, I found the central concept of the “Which five people would you invite…” a bit out of date although still workable for this purpose. That Sabrina, the main character, has chosen the father that abandoned her family when she was five and has since died seemed a little forced. If she cared so much about him why didn’t she contact him when she was a adult. This dinner party is to happen 25 years l THE DINNER LIST by Rebecca Serle is not the book for me. While well written with some nice characters, I found the central concept of the “Which five people would you invite…” a bit out of date although still workable for this purpose. That Sabrina, the main character, has chosen the father that abandoned her family when she was five and has since died seemed a little forced. If she cared so much about him why didn’t she contact him when she was a adult. This dinner party is to happen 25 years later so she did have time. Her ex-boyfriend/fiancé is only there so she can exploit the vagaries of a sad romance. (It seems that both people in a relationship have to work at it, but here neither appear to have made the effort needed to make it happen.) They stood side by side on the west coast at a photo display and said only one or two sentences to each other. The second meeting came several years later on a NY subway. Holy ‘When Harry met…’ The situation with her best friend Jess is similar. Jessica seems to be a stranger for the past several years mostly because Sabby hasn’t made the effort to keep in contact with new mother Jess. Again, if you want a relationship, you have to WANT it and work for it. The college professor is a daddy stand-in who I found didn’t add much to lighten the oppressive mood of the novel. Finally there is Audrey Hepburn to toss in some well needed style and panache. There is a surprise twist tossed into the mix that I shout would help the story, but from it didn’t This entire novel felt like an over long writing assignment that was given to Ms. Serle by her therapist, not that I would know if she was in that situation. I felt as if the main character was a substitute for the author and the book was a “working out” of issues. But I’m probably wrong about that being the case. I won this book through Goodreads.
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  • DeAnn
    January 1, 1970
    4 original stars to this whimsical bookThis book has an interesting premise -- who would be at your birthday dinner if you could invite anyone? There's a definite suspension of belief that you need to enjoy this book. Sabrina arrives to her birthday dinner to discover Audrey Hepburn, her best friend, a boyfriend, her father, and a favorite college professor. The group delve into some deep topics and some old issues are worked through for Sabrina. The reader discovers why these partic 4 original stars to this whimsical bookThis book has an interesting premise -- who would be at your birthday dinner if you could invite anyone? There's a definite suspension of belief that you need to enjoy this book. Sabrina arrives to her birthday dinner to discover Audrey Hepburn, her best friend, a boyfriend, her father, and a favorite college professor. The group delve into some deep topics and some old issues are worked through for Sabrina. The reader discovers why these particular people are at her dinner.A quick sweet read that sparked conversation for my family about who they would invite . . . who's on your list?
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  • Ramona
    January 1, 1970
    This is great little book that was different from my usual picks. It has a fun feel, a light-hearted vibe that sort of gives it a 'breath of fresh air' feel as you're moving through the chapters. The chapters are short, packed with quick dialogue that do most of the story telling, making it a very quick read. Overall the book has a wonderful message, and it's a fun and sometimes tender journey to the end.Sabrina shows up for her traditional birthday dinner with her best friend Jessic This is great little book that was different from my usual picks. It has a fun feel, a light-hearted vibe that sort of gives it a 'breath of fresh air' feel as you're moving through the chapters. The chapters are short, packed with quick dialogue that do most of the story telling, making it a very quick read. Overall the book has a wonderful message, and it's a fun and sometimes tender journey to the end.Sabrina shows up for her traditional birthday dinner with her best friend Jessica, only Jessica is not the only guest. To her surprise there are 4 other guests, including Audrey Hepburn, her estranged and long gone father, a favorite college professor, and the love of her life (who she has not seen for years). She realizes her fantasy dinner list of 5 people, dead or alive, has become a reality, and for one night she gets to sit and dine with them and try to figure out what she can possibly learn from them, now that the hands of time have put so much between her and every guest at the table.To enjoy this book you need to put reality on the back burner, and just read it for what it is- an imaginative look at how the people we love and look up to, and maybe even don't know at all, inspire and effect us. At first that was hard for me, but as I found myself relaxing into to the premise a little I really began to enjoy this book. I often caught myself thinking about who my 5 guests would be, and why. I caught myself pondering past relationships of many kinds, thinking about friends I thought I would always be close to, and why life has moved us so far from each other. The book closes with a nice ending, a little bittersweet, but still satisfying. I am glad I picked it for my Book of the Month- as I am not sure I would have been drawn to it in the book store. It made for fun reading and even better, lots of things to ponder about time.
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  • Wendy
    January 1, 1970
    Disclaimer - I received an ARC of this book through Goodreads' giveaway program. None of the characters had the slightest degree of depth; the two main characters were never able to solve, or even discuss their differences or any problems that came up between themselves. The only solutions they came up with were to break-up or have sex. I loved the concept of the book, but disliked the execution.
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  • ♥ Sandi ❣
    January 1, 1970
    4 starsGreat twist on a story ... a dinner party with 6 people - both living and dead. The question is. "Who would you invite to a dinner party?"This was Sabrina's dinner party and her selection of guests. I thought this book had a fun twist. It was well written and it took some time to decide who was alive and who had passed. Then in alternating chapters, you revisit Sabrina's life, opposite the happenings at the dinner party. Thinking that Sabrina was just a very angry 4 starsGreat twist on a story ... a dinner party with 6 people - both living and dead. The question is. "Who would you invite to a dinner party?"This was Sabrina's dinner party and her selection of guests. I thought this book had a fun twist. It was well written and it took some time to decide who was alive and who had passed. Then in alternating chapters, you revisit Sabrina's life, opposite the happenings at the dinner party. Thinking that Sabrina was just a very angry person in the beginning of the story, I came to realize that finally at 30 yrs old she needed to reconcile her past to be able to move forward. I questioned one of the characters she had invited to her dinner party. I saw the connection between them, but felt that surely she could have chosen a better dinner guest. Even after finishing the book I still do not fully understand that particular selection, however the rest of the people chosen were all intricate to her life in one form or another. Good book, as it was a change of pace, it was written well, and it held my interest. Would definitely read another book by Serle.
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  • Marianne
    January 1, 1970
    3.5★s“That was something Tobias always said. Fifty-fifty. In the beginning, I loved it. It proved he was complicated, that he refused a bottom line. I thought it meant he saw truth in things that were frivolous, and frivolity in things that were fundamental. It was a way of looking at the world that allowed the air in. but after a few years it just began to confuse me. It was like shifting sands – I couldn’t tell anymore what was real to him. When I’d ask if he was mad at me, and he said ‘ 3.5★s“That was something Tobias always said. Fifty-fifty. In the beginning, I loved it. It proved he was complicated, that he refused a bottom line. I thought it meant he saw truth in things that were frivolous, and frivolity in things that were fundamental. It was a way of looking at the world that allowed the air in. but after a few years it just began to confuse me. It was like shifting sands – I couldn’t tell anymore what was real to him. When I’d ask if he was mad at me, and he said ‘fifty-fifty,’ what did it mean?”The Dinner List is a novel by American TV writer and author, Rebecca Serle. Back when Sabrina was still at college, her best friend Jessica got her to write her dinner list: the five people, living or dead, whom she would invite to the ultimate dinner. There were minor changes over the years, but here she is now, on her thirtieth birthday, sitting at a table with them: Jessica, Tobias, Robert, Professor Conrad, and Audrey Hepburn. Audrey, of course, everyone knows, and who wouldn’t want her there?; Sabrina’s father Robert, now deceased, left her life when she was very young; Conrad, her college philosophy professor, she hasn’t seen since she graduated; Jessica, now married and a recent mother, she sees very occasionally; and Tobias, the love of her life, well Tobias left a year ago. They’re in a great little restaurant, having wonderful food and wine (except Robert, who is an alcoholic), and they’re getting down to the brass tacks of life. The concept is an intriguing one, and obviously a bit of magical reality is needed to achieve it. With each chapter, the narrative alternates between the dinner party and Sabrina’s life from the moment she first encounters Tobias. The gathering allows Sabrina to ask the questions that have plagued her for years, in some cases, or for months, at least. Audrey and the Professor act in sort of mature advisory roles, moderators, almost. Serle gives her characters plenty of wise words but, despite the small cast, the support characters, apart from Jessica, are barely beyond stereotypical. Jessica does blast her best friend with this: “’You’re incredible,’ she says. ‘You’re never responsible, right? It’s never your fault. People are human, Sabrina! They screw up and they’re not perfect and they’re selfish and sometimes they’re doing the best they can.’”Sabrina is a sort of likeable character, although she does act thirty going on nineteen much of the time, especially regards her emotional maturity. Her belief that her relationship with Tobias is written in the stars and will thrive without effort, just emphasises her naivete (“We were meant to be epic. We were meant to hover above the normalcy…the same rules didn’t apply to us.”). Tobias is similarly idealistic about work and career and life in general. Their wonderful, meant-to-be romance isn’t entirely convincing. “All we needed was to stay this close. Right up against each other, without any space between us. If we did that we were good. It was just the world – with all its loud chaos, its demands and people and air – that made us fight, that made us separate, that was driving us apart.”There are certainly moments of joy, moments of raw emotion, moments of laughter, but there’s something missing here. It does end on a hopeful note, and perhaps a bit more length would have allowed the reader to experience a Sabrina with more maturity. Serle seems to have potential, but it’s not fully realised here.
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  • Carlene Inspired
    January 1, 1970
    4.5 StarsThe Dinner List is an imaginative, heart-wrenching tale that asks its narrator, Sabrina, if she could invite five people to dinner who would it be? Her list consists of her father, her best friend, her boyfriend, an old college professor, and Audrey Hepburn. When Sabrina arrives at her thirtieth birthday dinner she is surprised to find that it isn't just her best friend Jessica in attendance. There is tension at the table though, as it is revealed there is a purpose behind t 4.5 StarsThe Dinner List is an imaginative, heart-wrenching tale that asks its narrator, Sabrina, if she could invite five people to dinner who would it be? Her list consists of her father, her best friend, her boyfriend, an old college professor, and Audrey Hepburn. When Sabrina arrives at her thirtieth birthday dinner she is surprised to find that it isn't just her best friend Jessica in attendance. There is tension at the table though, as it is revealed there is a purpose behind the special guests being there. Rebecca Serle explores personal growth, forgiveness, and acceptance as the dinner progresses from simple topics to those that weigh Sabrina down daily. We've all pondered over this question at some point in our life; would we pick someone famous or maybe someone we had lost? For Sabrina, she selects those she knows and loves, someone she wants to know, someone she wants to learn more from, and a woman she idolizes and connects to many important parts of her life. The story begins at the table, with alternating chapters taking us back into Sabrina's past. We learn about her friendships, her relationships, and the events that lead to the dinner. It's a sentimental tale, one where we see Sabrina grow and accept that she must both forgive others and forgive herself if she is to ever succeed going forward. I loved how the story was crafted, directing large moments in Sabrina's life and revealing to us the impact those events had on her and on others. It's imaginative, a story that I know has been done in the past, but has not left such a lasting impact on me. It's also incredibly sentimental, this feeling of wanting someone or something, being able to touch it, but knowing it isn't tangible once the dinner is over. This sounds sort of odd, considering I did give 4.5 Stars and not 5 Stars, but The Dinner List is a novel that NEEDS to be on your TBR list. I wasn't engaged the first 40% of the novel, I struggled to want to continue reading and I admit the only thing that kept me reading was the other reviews I had seen. Then came the nitty-gritty, deep part of the novel and I was done for. Once the story picked up I was turning the pages so quickly and trying to get every bit out of this novel I could. With tears streaming down my face and my heart aching I finished this novel in love with it. I highlighted so many passages and have thought of it several times since finishing it a few days ago. It's a fantastic chick-lit novel, with main character, Sabrina, questioning life, love, and the future she must create for herself.
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  • Betty
    January 1, 1970
    THE DINNER LIST is based on the hypothetical question of which five people, living or dead, you would like to have around a dinner table. What started as a mental exercise between Sabrina and her best friend Jessica when they were nineteen years old becomes reality at Sabrina’s thirtieth birthday dinner. Seated around the restaurant table are Jessica, Sabrina’s ex- fiancé Tobias who seemed as immature as Sabrina, her deceased father Robert who abandoned his family when Sabrina was only five, her THE DINNER LIST is based on the hypothetical question of which five people, living or dead, you would like to have around a dinner table. What started as a mental exercise between Sabrina and her best friend Jessica when they were nineteen years old becomes reality at Sabrina’s thirtieth birthday dinner. Seated around the restaurant table are Jessica, Sabrina’s ex- fiancé Tobias who seemed as immature as Sabrina, her deceased father Robert who abandoned his family when Sabrina was only five, her college professor Conrad who love Plato, and Audrey Hepburn. I thought it would be a light, fun read but instead, sadly, found it to be too drawn out. I could not evoke feelings for any of the characters until the very end of the book. It seemed none of these characters really wanted to work on having a relationship. Sabrina was so self-centered she couldn’t see these people objectively. Only when it was too late did she realize what she really missed out on with these people. (A lesson for all of us.)I received an ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review.
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  • Stephanie (Stephanie's Novel Fiction~on hiatus))
    January 1, 1970
    3.5 starsA definite tearjerker...quirky, romantic, sweet.
  • MaryBeth's Bookshelf
    January 1, 1970
    Thank you Flatiron Books for a free review copy.If you could invite 5 people to dinner, dead or alive, who would it be? The Dinner List revolves around just that. It's Sabrina's 30th birthday and she's invited the 5 people who have impacted her life the most - her long-lost father, a beloved professor, her best friend, her boyfriend, and Audrey Hepburn. Over the course of one night, we find out why each of these people are so important as Sabrina reveals stories about both the past a Thank you Flatiron Books for a free review copy.If you could invite 5 people to dinner, dead or alive, who would it be? The Dinner List revolves around just that. It's Sabrina's 30th birthday and she's invited the 5 people who have impacted her life the most - her long-lost father, a beloved professor, her best friend, her boyfriend, and Audrey Hepburn. Over the course of one night, we find out why each of these people are so important as Sabrina reveals stories about both the past and present.I absolutely LOVED The Dinner List! I've never read anything like this. I could not put this one down - highly recommend!
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  • Courtney Gores
    January 1, 1970
    When I first started this book I could not figure out why it had such a high rating. Part of this was my mistake from buying the audible instead of the actual book. The author chose to narrate the story, whether this was to cut costs or not they should have just spent the extra money. Serle read through this story sounding very bored, and would occasionally rush through sentences too quickly. It reminded me of high school when students would go around the room, reading out of a textbook. It soun When I first started this book I could not figure out why it had such a high rating. Part of this was my mistake from buying the audible instead of the actual book. The author chose to narrate the story, whether this was to cut costs or not they should have just spent the extra money. Serle read through this story sounding very bored, and would occasionally rush through sentences too quickly. It reminded me of high school when students would go around the room, reading out of a textbook. It sounded more like a short story or personal essay written by a student and not the work of a published author.Beyond the horrible narration, this story had a lot of potential but it never took off for me. Tobias and Sabrina never seemed like a good fit, and Jessica and Sabrina's friendship didn't seem that strong either. Overall, Sabrina was not a very likable character. ((SPOILERS)) I kept hoping for the story to get better but in the end, the whole dinner party's resolution came to Sabrina telling Tobias "we need to move on." And POOF that was it. He got out of limbo.In conclusion.... please do not buy the audible if you want to semi-enjoy this book.
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