Book Review: Dinner at the Schnabels by Toni Jordan

About the Book:

You can marry into them, but can you ever really be one of them?

A novel about marriage, love and family.

Things haven’t gone well for Simon Larsen lately. He adores his wife, Tansy, and his children, but since his business failed and he lost the family home, he can’t seem to get off the couch.

His larger-than-life in-laws, the Schnabels – Tansy’s mother, sister and brother – won’t get off his case. To keep everyone happy, Simon needs to do one little job: he has a week to landscape a friend’s backyard for an important Schnabel family event.

But as the week progresses, Simon is derailed by the arrival of an unexpected house guest. Then he discovers Tansy is harbouring a secret. As his world spins out of control, who can Simon really count on when the chips are down?

Life with the Schnabels is messy, chaotic and joyful, and Dinner with the Schnabels is as heart-warming as it is outrageously funny.

Published by Hachette Australia

Released 30th March 2022

My Thoughts:

What an absolute delight this novel was to read. For a start, laugh out loud funny, which is honestly all too rare, so many authors try too hard with comedy, and it can often seem over blown. Here though, the wit and humour was just so intelligent, cutting, and on point. The dialogue was particularly entertaining, likewise all of Simon’s introspection, along with his analysis and internal impressions on what was going on around him and the people he was interacting with at any given time. This is the sort of novel that is both uniquely Australian yet universally appealing.

Simon has been having a bad run. Since the pandemic, he has lost his business, his house, his self-esteem, and his self-worth. Across the course of a week, we move in with Simon and his wife Tansy, their two children and his wife’s half-sister, squeezed into a two-bedroom flat, and we get to know all the ins and outs of this family, the good, the bad, and the even worse. Simon has one week to landscape a backyard in preparation for a memorial service. What could go wrong? So much. So, so much.

Along the way, in amongst the laughs and whiplash moments with the in-laws, we gain insight into the way in which two years of repeated pandemic lockdowns have taken their toll on Australian families, particularly those who owned their own businesses. For all the humour, Simon’s experiences are all too real and his situation may be relatable to many.

This is one novel that would make a brilliant TV series in the right hands with the right actors. If you’re looking for sharply intelligent humour, on point feels, and that magic of not wanting to put the book down until the very end, Dinner with the Schnabels needs to be your next read.


Thanks to the publisher for the review copy.

8 thoughts on “Book Review: Dinner at the Schnabels by Toni Jordan

  1. Pingback: Dinner with the Schnabels by Toni Jordan, Review: Hilarious

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