Book Review Fiction Magical Realism

The Dinner List by Rebecca Serle – Book Review

The first book I’ve ever read by Rebecca Serle is In Five Years, which is probably one of her best-selling novels. I read The Dinner List after, and to be honest I enjoyed this book so much more. Both books had a magical realism element to it and both stories are also an emotional read, but I found The Dinner List to be more profound and impactful. 

Read below to see a summary and what I thought of it!

Pub Date: September 11, 2018

Publisher: Flatiron Books

Number of Pages: 228 (paperback)

Genre: Fiction, Magical Realism, Women’s Fiction


Rebecca Serle, author of The Dinner List


The Dinner List is a story that takes place over the course of a five-hour dinner party, to celebrate Sabrina’s 30th birthday. Back in college, Sabrina and her best friend Jessica played the dinner list game where they would come up with five people (living or dead) who you would want to have dinner with. Now at her dinner party are those 5 guests that she chose: Audrey Hepburn, her estranged father, her philosophy professor, her best friend Jessica, and Tobias the love of her life.

my thoughts

This book has such a unique premise and it captivated me. It is touching and beautifully poignant. It touches on topics such as loss, failed relationships, regrets and forgiveness. It makes you reflect on your own relationships in life. We all have one of those moments where we wish we had done and said things to the people that matter to us, but didn’t have the courage or opportunity to do it.

“That’s the thing about life — these moments that define us emerge out of nothing. A missed call. A trip down the stairs. A car accident. They happen in a moment, a breath.”

The story is told in alternating timelines between the current dinner party, and Sabrina’s past as she takes us through the events in her life that brought her to where she is now. As we go through her past, we find out why each of the guests are important and how they all helped her realize how she can move forward in her life.

While this book is a sad and emotional read, I truly enjoyed it. It’s insightful and contemplative. It also makes me ponder who I would choose to be on my list if this were to become reality.

my rating

Rating: 4 out of 5.

you might also like

If you like reading books with some magical realism element, then you might also like The Midnight Library, which by the way is one of my favourite books.

Some of my favourite quotes

“The most important thing in communication is hearing what isn’t said.”

“People in relationships are either flowers or gardeners. Two flowers shouldn’t partner; they need someone to support them, to help them grow. ….. There are flowers and gardeners. Flowers bloom; gardeners tend. Two flowers, no tending everything dies.”

If you could host this magical dinner party, who would be on your list (dead or alive) and why?


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