Published: 12 January 2017
Publisher: Interlude Press
Category: Romance (MM)/Fiction/Contemporary
When Marcus Sumter, a short order cook with dreams of being a chef, inherits a house in small town Marathon, Georgia, he leaves his big city life behind. Marcus intends to sell the house to finance his dreams, but a group of lovable busybodies, the Do Nothings, a new job at the local diner, the Tammy Dinette, and a handsome mechanic named Hank cause Marcus to rethink his plans. Will he return to the life he knew, or will he finally put down roots?
Rating: 2 Stars
The thought of a book about a small town centered around a place of comfort and tasty diner food was what drew me Lunch With the Do-Nothings…, but the book that I picked up wasn’t really comforting nor would I describe it as tasty, the kind of book I want to read again and share with everyone.
The writing gave me the sense that it was trying to be a charming women’s fiction novel, full of quirky characters and small town heart. It didn’t attain that level of substance, in my opinion, because the characters, Helen Warner in particular, felt like cardboard cutouts that the author was using to map out the book rather than full-fledged people.
Another thing was that, while I couldn’t tell the time period Dinner With the Do-Nothings… took place in for sure. Not having confirmation, I think it was somewhere between 1997 and current day because Netflix and GPS in a car are mentioned. Still, I found myself shaking my head when Marcus arrived in Marathon, the beneficiary of his grandmother’s will, and had his sexuality revealed. The attitude and things Inez Coffee, one of Helen’s and Marcus’s grandmother’s friends, said were baffling. It wasn’t horrible, I don’t think, but it was kind of weird.
There was something amiss in Marcus’s story, too. I can’t speak for if anyone else will notice this, but to me the story, his interactions with people and so on, felt like the author had written the book with a female main character and then switched the gender to make it a man (aka Marcus). The examples were subtle, just the way something was said or the way Marcus responded. This isn’t to say the actions were wrong, but something felt off around 27% and I kept noticing it as I went further.
The final reason why I decided to stop reading the book at 45% was that I felt like I’d read it all before. There are overreaching archetypes and all, but Lunch With the Do-Nothings felt so bland that I could almost swear this same book was on the shelf a dozen times over. There wasn’t anything unique to give it life, so I set it aside to look for something that did.
I received a copy of this book from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.