on August 2, 2011
....in hopes of saving someone else from wasting time on this book. The number of positive reviews on this site makes me concerned about whether I can trust amazon.com reviews in my own search for decent reading material. At least one person writing a positive review acknowledged knowing the author--I can only assume the rest were her friends or immediate family members as well . The characters had no depth, the dialogue was laughable and the made women in general look and sound horrendous. There wasn't any inside information, just the same old Vera Wang and Louboutin name-dropping. I picked it up as a beach read, knowing it would be light and I just kept hoping it would improve or begin to tie the characters together in some way beyond gender. I only kept going because I have tremendous difficulty abandoning any book I've begun without finishing it. Do yourself a favor and don't pick it up.
on March 3, 2015
Chick lit? With a cover like that? You bet. Light and fluffy but not necessarily frothy. The dark side behind all those gorgeous and lavish bridal magazines - the ladder climbing, the back stabbing, the pressure for perfection - no magazine subject matter would appear to be immune.
The bridal magazine is 'Your Wedding'. Grace is the editor, probably modeled on Anna Wintour or Amanda Priestly, has been at the helm of the magazine for many years. Not old - 56, but perceived as being past it by the men who run the show, she is brutally replaced by Lucky (annoying name), who is young, ambitious, talented and far too skinny. From the start she charges through with the changes she wants to make, in the process alienating the other staff. There are two other women who have been on the magazine for a long time - Sara, early 40s, looking for love, and Felice, similar age, married with a teenage son going through his own teenage dramas. The magazine, the changes taking place and the impact these have on the lives of these four women are the core of the book. But we also learn quite a lot about the back stories of each of these women. As well as a fair bit about the nasty world of magazine publishing.
It's hardly literary fiction, but it is not so bad as to not be an enjoyable read. There is quite good commentary on the ageing process while working in the beauty industry which is essentially what bridal magazines are, being single/married/a mother/ working in such a ruthless industry. And how we define our own personal image when we are surrounded by fantasy images which of course is what us average mortals face every day, but much more so in a bridal magazine where everything is about creating a fantasy. And finally, is it all worth it really?
on September 6, 2011
The Wedding Writer by Susan Schneider is one saucy and juicy read! It's a behind the scenes look at the goings on at a bridal magazine publishing house including all the fighting, back stabbing, job stealing, and gossip that goes along with it. We also get a better look into the lives of four women: Lucky, Grace, Sara, and Felice who work there, or in Grace's case - who had worked there. Now, I'm single and I've never, even as a young girl, been interested in a wedding but I loved this book! I do enjoy reading books that describe the workings at magazine publishing houses and I loved the mentions of all the top designers, shoes, and dresses - all that goes along with the wedding. As well, any novel that delves into the lives of women always manages to catch my attention and this novel definitely had that.
Lucky, who has had a bit of a rocky life, is writing wedding stories for a huge bridal magazine called Your Wedding and she's good at it. However Lucky is hungry for more and has always been driven and ambitious. She wants to get to the top and sometimes to get there you have to walk on some toes that maybe you'd rather not. So when Lucky is offered the top position of Editor-in-Chief she jumps at it, even though it means ousting her best friend Grace. She rationalizes it by thinking that Grace is up there in years now and she's had her chance; now it's time for Lucky to shine and show what she can do.
For Grace, losing her job is devastating. She has based her whole life on working at the expense of friends and even her daughter Isla, not to mention a life of her own. Yet she thrived on it and loved it. Without her job, who is she? She is beyond stressed and to top it off her body starts rebelling against her and her hair is falling out. What else could possibly go wrong? Along with that she feels betrayed by someone, Lucky, who she thought was a friend.
For Sara, who absolutely idolized Grace, the job without her is not the same and she's not all that fond of Lucky to begin with. She's good at her job though but does she really want to work for someone she doesn't respect? Sara is another one who has devoted her life to the magazine and is still not married and has no prospects - or does she? There was that man she met so long ago...
Felice is a wife and mother. Her son has been doing nothing but worrying her sick lately and it doesn't seem to be getting better. She too is stressed beyond her limits. Work is her only refuge, a place where she knows what needs to be done and she does it well. Yet her whole life seems to be falling apart around her and she's just watching it - is the job really worth all that?
With Lucky's promotion things begin to unravel and Lucky starts to wonder if it's all worth it - the back stabbing and grovelling. She wants to make it to the big time and be respected - it's all she's ever wanted, but things don't seem to be going along as smoothly as she had hoped. Not to mention that you're never really safe; it seems there is always someone waiting in the wings to stab you in the back believing they can do a better job than you.
This novel, while a chick lit, also delves deeper than that. It touches on some issues like women aging in the work force and how, more often than not, they are tossed over for a younger model. In some professions this may not matter as much but in a publishing industry like the bridal magazine, it's huge. Younger means better and fresher ideas. Being on the older side myself this isn't something I agree with at all. I think that The Wedding Writer would make a good book club pick for this reason as well as I think the individual women's lives could spark some good conversation.
I really enjoyed The Wedding Writer by Susan Schneider. I think those that love weddings or like reading books that describe the behind the scenes at a magazine would enjoy reading this novel. I picked it up and had it finished the next day as I wanted to keep getting back to it to see what would happen next. It was a welcome read after the last one I had so I appreciated it even more!
I don't know about you but I love reading bridal magazines. I'm not a huge fan of the wedding shows on TV but give me a copy of Modern Bride any day. Even old issues are still fun to go through and have tons of useful information. I had a year subscription prior to the year I got married and I've kept all those issues. I still pull them out every now and then for "light reading." Therefore, I was really looking forward to this book which gives the behind the scenes look at what goes on in putting together one of those magazines.
The book is written in the present tense. This might be a bit hard to get used to in the beginning. However I soon found myself pretty much ignoring the tense and actually reading the book in third person past tense which didn't really affect how I viewed the story at all. The story focuses on four women who work or have worked at Your Wedding. I felt that it was a bit awkward at how each women was presented. The chapters would list the name of the woman whose POV we were looking through but then halfway through a chapter it would shift to another woman. This got very confusing at times because I kept mixing up characters and couldn't figure out who exactly was the focus of a chapter. I do wish that all four women actually had time in the book to get together as a group. They splinter off into sections but are never together as a whole.
I still enjoyed learning about Lucky, Grace, Felice and Sara. Throughout the story we learn more about their characters and what led them to working at the magazine as well as their lives outside of their work. They aren't always likable characters, in fact there are times where I sighed heavily due to annoyance at them. However, they all have scenes that show a different side of them that they keep hidden from the rest of the world. Lucky particularly stands out to me, as she has a very dysfunctional family and her relationship with her mother is not a healthy one.
For those readers that are into shows like Say Yes to the Dress or Bridezillas, there is much to squeal about in this book. Schnieder goes inside the wedding industry world as we learn about dresses, shoes, cakes, dining ware, etc. It's fun to be in the photo shoot for the cover of the magazine or attend the fashion shows where the magazine learns about the latest fashions in bridal couture.
Even if you're not into weddings and all that sort of talk, this was still a fun book to read. It's a light read but it's quite informative as well. One thing I found very interesting is how women who were in an authoritative position seemed to treat women below them. Not that you should be giving freebies to your own gender, but it seemed that most of the women felt that they had to be harder on other women and not to men. I also enjoyed learning more about the magazine business. It's a good read when you're in the mood for the not so heavy and a great escape from the hard things in life.
on July 1, 2011
A great girlie chick lit to get an insider's look into the magazine world and more specifically the bridal magazine world. I absolutely adored that at the center of this book were women who held powerful positions and took the reigns on the professional lives. Ironic, that only one of the main characters was in a successful marriage with child.
Being a woman who always wanted to be in the working world and never seeing myself as the stay at home mom - nothing wrong with that role, my mom was an excellent CEO of the household - I just don't see myself as handling that kind of a job! I loved reading a book where women are in a professional situation and are succeeding. The interactions between women in the workforce is unique, as we are a more feeling gender, in the most part, I think it is extra hard for us to check our feelings at the door of our offices. I am guilty, but I think with each year I am in the workforce I realize that a job is a job and friends are friends.
Spoken from different perspectives, it was easy to realize which character was speaking. I think they each had a unique voice that made for a full story to be told. From beginning to end, I was rooting for each woman to find success in her own way - may it be out of the office, in a relationship or on the homefront. I honestly would love to see a sequel and see where the women end up and how through their relationships they affect one another beyond the workplace.
A great piece of women's fiction that is perfect for a weekend read. Light, but full of heart I would recommend it to any age group.
on June 15, 2011
You know it's Chick Lit because: (a) The word wedding appears in the title (this is not always a giveaway --- think Carson McCullers --- but it's usually a clue); (b) The cover is pink, with a picture of high heels; and (c) The main character's name is Lucky.
But it is smart Chick Lit: witty, bordering on satirical, and genuinely touching. And I'm not saying that just because I know the author, a friend and colleague from my own editorial days and a nuptial insider who has worked on wedding glossies for a decade. Susan Schneider has created a fictional magazine, Your Wedding, that is so thoroughly imagined that I wouldn't be surprised to see it at my local newsstand.
Readers may or may not know that magazine editing is a lot like show business. Hirings and firings, redesigns and reinventions happen with some regularity, the key variables being circulation figures and ad sales. THE WEDDING WRITER dives right into one such crisis. Leigh "Lucky" Quinn is promoted to editor-in-chief of Your Wedding,while Grace Ralston, who hired and mentored her, is fired. For the first 80 pages or so, chapters alternate between Lucky's point of view (guilt and exhilaration) and Grace's (depression and hair loss). Then two more voices are added: Sara, the longtime fashion editor (unmarried with sisters), and the art director, Felice (married with one sullen adolescent child). As they grapple with conflicts about the content of their work and the quality of their lives (marriage vs. singlehood, kids or not, career vs. friendship, flat shoes or heels), we get to know and care about each of them.
Which is to say that Schneider largely avoids stereotypes, normally the bane of genre writing. Grace is not some crass, manipulative harpy, nor is Lucky a feminist heroine. Abdul, Grace's limo driver, turns out to be a lot more than a handsome face at the wheel, and the junior editors and assistants at Your Wedding are crisply and memorably drawn. I loved Grace's gay daughter and her partner (whose wedding is the only real live matrimonial event in the novel). There are a few purely noxious characters, but they are mostly corporate types like Jeff, the sleazy publisher of Your Wedding, who predictably wants more than a business relationship with Lucky.
Writing good light fiction is always a balancing act between entertainment and substance. Schneider's book is not MADAME BOVARY, but at times it has surprising depth. The chapter in which Lucky goes home for Christmas is a tense, poignant encounter between a newly successful urban woman and her unstylish, borderline desperate family. Felice's torturous relationship with her difficult teenage son is also handled remarkably well.
I must say, though, that I found Sara and Felice less compelling than the other protagonists. I understand why Schneider wanted to include their voices: to represent different kinds of women as well as to dramatize the loyalty issues that arise in a transition from old regime to new. But I don't think they are nearly as strong or complex as Grace and Lucky. Just listen to Grace on her age: "She's merely fifty-one. Fifty-two, actually. Fifty-threeish, to be perfectly honest, till her next birthday, when she turns, oh God, fifty-six." The timing is impeccable.
Equally so is Schneider's detailed peek at her slice of media society. From roaches in the office to sunburns on photo shoots, vertiginous heels to pricey haircuts, she conjures a harsh, glossy world in which every magazine --- and every editor --- is trying to survive. Especially in Lucky's encounters with the corporate hierarchy, Schneider gives us a wickedly funny take on the opportunistic numbers-crunching of magazine executives and their henchmen (henchwoman, in this case: the unforgettable Nadia Milosovici, "aka the Axe Lady, the company's bass-voiced HR autocrat, who reaches no higher than the clavicles of even her shortest coworkers...").
THE WEDDING WRITER's drama is also an accurate commentary on the way economic crisis and the "new" media have affected women's magazines. Grace resists the Internet, convinced it means the death of taste; Lucky expands the magazine's online presence and starts a reality-TV show. Under Grace, the traditionalist, Your Wedding's tagline on the cover was The Bridal Classic. Lucky wants to change that to Brides Go Shopping, an all-too-plausible indication of how much magazines are now given over to marketing. Many Chick Lit novels, in fact, drop brand names so relentlessly that one suspects product placement. Schneider, to her credit, doesn't clobber readers with designer merchandise. She hits us with a Louboutin here, a Vera Wang there, as needed.
It's easy to ridicule wedding magazines, bridezillas, the whole elaborate cakewalk of getting married. Although Schneider's novel offers plenty of critical perspective, it also has, well, heart. "The best [wedding stories] give me a good cry," Grace tells Lucky. "A refreshing catharsis. Weddings assure us all's right with the world." THE WEDDING WRITER manages to avoid cheap shots, on the one hand, and sentimental formulas on the other. Schneider has real affection both for the women who put out the magazines and the brides who swear by them, and it shows.
I hope we get a chance to take another stroll down the aisle with Lucky and Grace. I miss them already.
--- Reviewed by Kathy Weissman
on November 1, 2011
Delivers all the seductive pleasures of The Devil Wears Prada and Sex and the City -- but also goes much deeper, plumbing women's relationship to work as a source of fulfillment, validation, and redemption. I have been an editor at New York City women's magazines and saw myself in Susan Schneider's evocation of the magazine world's heady brew of excitement, glamour, sisterhood, and distrust of The Men who run the show. Schneider also accurately depicts the dark side: the competitiveness, the betrayals, the tyranny of youth and beauty, and the jettisoning of seasoned, talented women just because they've topped the pay scale and passed their 50th birthday.
The characters in this novel are memorable. There's Lucky, working-class Jersey girl who's suddenly found herself crowned editor-in-chief of Your Wedding magazine-- mainly because she's talented, hungry and comes cheap. Now she has to find a way to handle the power, manage the restive staff, and boost the numbers. There's her predecessor and mentor, Grace, the undisputed doyenne of the bridal world, ousted after 25 years because The Men want change and cost-saving. She has to find a new purpose for her days that were once occupied, dawn till bedtime, by layout approvals, fashion shows, designer schmoozes, power lunches. There's Sara, hanging on to her job as fashion editor though she's loyal to the departed Grace and deeply skeptical of the upstart Lucky. There's Felice, the magazine's design editor -- alone among the surviving staff in actually being married (though unhappily) and raising a child (a troubled adolescent). Though Your Wedding magazine extols the joys of romance and matrimony, none of the women who work there has managed to find romantic bliss. Though the glossy pages of the magazine show lavish table settings and gorgeous domestic interiors, most of those who produce those pages live in cramped, shabby apartments. Still, Lucky, Felice, Sara and Grace share a belief in the possibility of transforming, transcendent love, and a faith in the power of romance's material trappings to foster the real thing. And in the course of the novel, each of them manages to attain her own version of happily-ever-after.
New York City is also a major character here, with its glitz, its grime, its draw for people who come from everywhere to pursue their dreams. One of the novel's great minor characters is Abdul -- former chauffeur to the former editor-in-chief Grace. Before he emigrated to NYC to drive a Town Car he was a professor of English literature at the pre-eminent university in his native Pakistan. Susan Schneider captures the city as a mecca where anyone can reinvent himself or herself -- if only he or she can succeed in escaping the past.
A delightful page-turner and an insightful coming-of-age story -- for women of every age.
on June 18, 2011
If you've ever wondered what it's like to toil in the lady-mag trenches, read this book. As someone who's worked in women's mags for years, I can tell you that The Wedding Writer rings oh so true...brava, Susan Schneider, for telling your tale with such wit and style.
"The Wedding Writer" follows the lives of various women who work in publishing for a bridal magazine, "Your Wedding". Lucky Quinn has been a wedding writer for a number of years for the magazine as well as the protege for the editor-in- chief, Grace Ralston. Lucky is promoted and usurps, Grace's position and the book follows the lives of each of the women.
The story is well thought out and the character's lives and loves are developed nicely. I enjoyed reading how each of the women's lives changed when Lucky is promoted to editor-in-chief. There are some great portrayls of a hapless Human Resources person and also in the portrayals of the men who run the publishing conglomerate that runs "Your Wedding".
A good read about how lives can change for the better when there are corporate shakeups!
on June 16, 2011
Want an insider's look at the bridal industry? Schneider's book is whipsmart and readable and so much fun to read. Highly recommended.