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Otherwise Engaged: A Novel Paperback – May 9, 2000
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"For laugh-out-loud humor, Otherwise Engaged takes the cake." --USA Today
"Bitchy, bold, and brilliant." --Mademoiselle
"A darkly comic novel.... Finnamore also captures tender and even touching moments that illuminate this couple's relationship--and keep you rooting for them. But mostly she keeps you laughing. A great shower gift for the stressed-out June bride-to-be."--Newsday
"So funny and charming and smart. I felt bitter that someone else got to write it."--Anne Lamott, author of Traveling Mercies
From the Inside Flap
Otherwise Engaged is Suzanne Finnamore's wickedly funny account of an intelligent, rational woman's transformation into the harpy of anxieties that is the bride-to-be.
When Michael pops the question, Eve is deliriously happy. She tells grocery clerks. She subscribes to bridal magazines. She delights in the rainbows that shower from the one-carat (okay, .81-carat) ring on her hand. For two days. As the cumulative stresses of ordering invitations, finding a dress, and organizing the Perfect Honeymoon fry Eve's nerves, the very real prospect of being with one man for the rest of her days reverberates through her consciousness like a Chinese gong. Suddenly the sight of Michael's discarded socks on the floor and his passing mentions of his former live-in French girlfriend incite doubt, argument, and public fainting.
Uproarious, insightful, tender, Otherwise Engaged dashes our soap-bubble fantasies in favor of a hilariously realistic walk to the alter.
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I avoided reading this book because based on what reviews I had read, I was afraid it was this "madcap romp through the bridal world"- I was scared it was going to be Bridget Jones Gets Married. I like Bridget, but "being engaged" and weddings are already superficial enough in this culture without the added bonus of slapstick.
This book is honest, genuine and really has very little to do with ordering flowers (don't even think i saw the word "florist," actually) or invitations (she does talk about addressing them and picking them out, but it's fairly quick). It's more about a person going through a transition in life and coping with the fears associated with those changes than it is about being engaged. I found it to be very similar to "Welcome to My Planet" by Shannon Olsen- Eve (from this book) and Shannon (from "Welcome...") both are transitioning and having to grow up and realize that they have to stop looking backward and give up certain things in order to gain certain things. I'm not engaged and never have been married, and I still very much related to that kind of emotional growth.
I also liked the fact that she's not a screw up at work- It seems a lot of these 30-year-old-woman books (Lucy Sullivan, Welcome to my Planet, Getting over it) are about a woman who's a mess at work and in her personal life- This woman is successful at work (six figures no less), and I could really relate to her a lot more- I'm a little maxed out on screwups.
It is a fairly quick read but- I've read other reviews that said it's a superficial book. They are reading it too fast, which isn't necessarily wrong- it's just that they are sorta being like those dogs who gulp their food down without tasting it.
This book is hilarious. Partly because of its honesty, but also because of some one-liners. For example, she's discussing the fact that Michael (her fiance, obviously) has been married before and discussing her feelings about being a second wife:
"First wife, second wife. I will always be second. Even if his first wife dies, I don't move up the ladder. It's not like being an understudy. It's so much more complicated. Second. It's so Nancy Kerrigan."
So far, I think this is one of the better of this 30-year-old-woman books, for what it's worth. Thanks Suzanne- Do we get a book on the next stage of life too?
So if you're looking for a good "get inside someone's head" book, this might be one for you.
But if you're interested in reading about an engagement or wedding planning as being the focal point of the storyline, this book is not for you.
In addition, I strongly disliked the author's writing style. I can't put my finger on it, but it just felt rough and forced, like nothing flowed smoothly. Choppy I suppose. Perhaps this appeals to some, but I found it hard to read. As someone stated in an earlier review, I also can't stop reading in the middle of a book or I would have stopped. It was that bad.
Read at your own risk.