As the weather gets warmer, Jenna Bush Hager has the perfect book to take outside and read in the sun. For April 2021, the TODAY book expert has picked "Good Company" by Cynthia D'Aprix Sweeney as her Read With Jenna book club pick.
"'Good Company' by Cynthia D'Aprix Sweeney is filled with charm, humor and grace. I was captivated by the way the author writes intimately about human connection, including the ties between mothers and daughters, husbands and wives, and friends," said Jenna.
The story begins when, 20 years into her happy marriage, Flora Mancini discovers an envelope containing the wedding ring her husband claimed to have lost years prior. With this discovery, everything Flora thinks she knows about herself, her marriage to her husband and her relationship with her best friend, Margot, is flipped upside down.
The book, which alternates between people and periods of time, discusses the many different types of relationships we experience in a lifetime and the ways in which circumstances of life get in the way.
Early in their marriage, Julian and Flora were struggling artists living in Manhattan, making just enough to raise their daughter, Ruby, and keep Julian’s theater company afloat. When a move to Los Angeles brings stability and success for the first time, the family feels as though they can finally breathe. In LA, they are also reconnected with their longtime friend turned Hollywood star, Margot.
As their daughter gets older and new revelations come to light, the couple find themselves reevaluating their relationship.
"It’s in some ways a coming-of-age book for a woman that is about to become an empty nester. We will always evolve and change. Watching this character do that will feel very relatable for a lot of different women," said Jenna.
The author said it is no coincidence that she wrote a book about people reassessing life in their middle age right after she completely changed her life at that time. She said two very interesting things were happening in her life as she started the book. First, a lot of her friends were getting divorced, and second, she had her wedding band, which was passed down from her grandmother, stolen from a hotel room.
"I couldn’t believe how many other people had stories of a lost piece of jewelry," said D'Aprix Sweeney. "I thought, well, maybe that’s how the book starts, maybe I put that lost ring into the book. As soon as I did that, as soon as I had Flora go into that garage and find the wedding ring, everything kind of fell into place."
D'Aprix Sweeney also expressed the importance of addressing marriage and divorce through fiction.
"I think that people think that if a marriage doesn’t last till death do us part, that it's been a failure and I don’t think that’s true. I think that some relationships just reach their natural end and it doesn't mean that you have had an unsuccessful marriage, maybe it means that you had a very successful 20-year-old marriage and raised your kids and you are both in different places now," said the author.
The book explores themes of love, family and middle-aged adulthood with a combination of tenderness and humor.
Jenna said, "Cynthia writes about really beautiful relationships. They feel really real and that’s one of the reasons why I think it will be a really fun book to discuss."
For more book recommendations, check out:
- 'The Vanishing Half' author Brit Bennett shares 6 books you should read now
- 5 books to read if you enjoyed 'Send For Me,' by Lauren Fox
- 6 books to read if you enjoyed 'The Four Winds,' by Kristin Hannah