Wednesday, September 16, 2015
'I Always Cry at Weddings' by Sara Goff
2015 Reading Challenge, Week 37 - A Popular Author's First Book.
Even though this is her debut novel, I've chosen this category because Sara Goff has been a popular author with me and many for a long time. I enjoy her warm-hearted blog posts and hard work with the Beyond the Borders crowd of the American Fiction Writers. It's great to get to read this novel.
Ava Larson is going to bring all the other brides to tears.
Engaged to a wealthy NYC socialite's son, Ava is ready to set the city abuzz with her glamorous wedding. At least until she realizes her relationship isn't what it should be. Then, in a move as daring as a red satin dress, she does the unthinkable - she calls it all off and makes a promise to God that from now on, she'll save sex for marriage.
She's convinced the future is hers for the taking, especially when an undercover cop promises a new romance...and an unexpected friendship with the homeless guy under her stoop brightens her days.
But when her carefully balanced life teeters out of control, weddings aren't the only thing to make her cry. Ava has to figure out what life she really wants to live... and what is the world love really means.
Ava is trying to please herself by pleasing others in New York City, but everything seems to fall apart. Her mother is dying, her job as buyer for a handbag company leaves her cold, and with just a few weeks until her marriage, it dawns on her that she and her cynical fiance, Josh, are a bad fit for a life together. Their attitudes about showing love are poles apart. But making the right move in the nick of time leaves her saddled with a $70 000 debt for a massive wedding which never was. There is also tons of disapproval to face, and she may soon be evicted from her apartment. Could things get any worse?
Many people are giving her conflicting advice, all of which sounds wise, making it confusing to figure out what to take on board.
Her father says, 'The very nature of routine is that it works.'
Bucksley, her boss, says, 'Your career deserves more attention than you've been giving it. It defines you and determines your lifestyle.'
Phoebe, Josh's mother, says, 'I'll never forgive you for the hurt you've caused. How can you treat people this way?'
Her own mother says, 'Go and find somebody more like yourself.'
Chris, the young homeless guy who lives outside her apartment building, takes his dog, Chickpea's philosophy on board. 'Any day with food in your bowl is a good one.'
No wonder Ava herself delivers a desperate line of her own. 'Pros and cons are shape shifters!' What is she to do?
One of the novel's themes is the concept of 'The One.' Is it reasonable to hope for a soul mate, or can you make a fair enough match with anyone? Ava discovers that whether or not her true love really is out there, there are plenty of duds who don't fit the bill and need to be thrown back in the sea. (It's satisfying to see her figure this out and tell them so.) I found the ending highly romantic, and I'm sure many readers will cheer, as I did, and wonder why the truth took so long to dawn on her. What a fascinating Mr Right.
Sometimes Ava comes across as an innocent lamb in a fold of wolves and scavengers, but she never passes through regrettable incidents without gleaning plenty of wisdom. That's one of the best takeaways from this book, that mistakes are valuable, because without them behind us to draw from, we may never be in the position to recognise a perfect fit when it stares us in the face, whether it comes to marriage partners, work or lifestyle.
I'd recommend this to any lady who feels that things may never look up, or thinks too much time may have passed to pursue her dream, or would just enjoy a good story set in what I imagine to be the rom-com central of the world, New York City, even though I've never been there. That might cover pretty well any lady.
Thanks to the author for providing me with a review copy.