Wednesday, July 28, 2021

Book Review: "Rock the Boat" by Beck Dorey-Stein

What song winds up in your head while reading this book (or even just seeing my review) is definitely a generational thing. Some (like me) hear the 70s song "Rock the Boat" by Hues Corporation; the hipper (read: younger) ones among us mostly hear Aaliyah's song of the same name.

This is a summery read about friendship, love, family, and figuring out what to do when your plans are derailed.

Kate has her life in NYC figured out, and a big part of that includes marriage to her longtime boyfriend Thomas. But when his marriage proposal doesn’t quite happen as she expects, she doesn’t go to Harvard Law like Elle in Legally Blonde (what, like it’s hard?), but she has to move out of their apartment. Licking her wounds, she moves back home to her Jersey Shore town of Sea Point and back in with her parents—but it’s only temporary.

Meanwhile, her best friend Ziggy, who has never left Sea Point, is dealing with his grief following his father’s death and trying to make sense of the financial status of the family plumbing business. He’s asked for the help of his childhood best friend Miles—the so-called “Prince of Sea Point,” who is also returning home in an effort to prove to his mother that he’s worthy of becoming the CEO of their family’s company.

The lives of Kate, Ziggy, and Miles intersect in many ways, and with all three of them in one place for the first time in a long time, there’s bound to be ups and downs. Memories will be held up to the light, old wounds will be reopened, secrets will be revealed, and each of them has to figure out what they really want.

I usually really love books like Rock the Boat, but I never warmed up to this one. While I want Ziggy to be my book boyfriend, I found Kate and Miles fairly irritating for a while. I did love the feelings they had about their hometown—whenever I visit mine I’m hit with a mixture of nostalgia, longing, and dread. But I know others have enjoyed this more, so if it sounds up your alley, give it a try!

I really enjoyed Beck Dorey-Stein’s memoir, From the Corner of the Oval, in which she recounted her years as a stenographer for the Obama administration, so I’d recommend that.

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