THE SCENIC ROUTE by Devan Sipher


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Chick lit written by a guy—a guy who writes the “Vows” column for the New York Times

This meringue of a novel features star-crossed if slightly annoying lovers Naomi Bloom and Austin Gittleman. They met in elementary school, haven't seen each other in ages, then reconnect at the California wedding of childhood friends. Will they seize their chance at happiness? This is a question Sipher (The Wedding Beat, 2012) leaves open until the final chapter. The metaphoric implications of the title are broadcast early, when Naomi and Austin spend part of the wedding in a philosophical argument about whether wrong turns are possible. Their creator's real talents lie not in philosophy (nor primatology, ophthalmology, Internet capitalism or haute cuisine, the professions he doles out among his characters) but in pop culture and witty chatter. Naomi is contacted on OkCupid by a guy who appeals to "the Team Edward girl inside her, not that she'd ever admit to having seen a Twilight movie." Later, she realizes her values are more conventional than she had thought: "[S]he could take the girl out of the OC, but she couldn't take the OC out of the girl." Another character clarifies his opposition to marriage: "My idea of a fun night isn’t cuddling up with someone and watching Project Runway. I'd prefer to be sitting in my boxers watching Family Guy." Despite the Twitteriness of it all, Sipher attempts to give the narrative emotional weight—a tragedy in Austin's past casts a shadow over the story, and another one awaits him in these pages. Yet these dark strokes seem almost inappropriate. Fortunately, the plot includes three weddings—two straight, one gay—and with these, Sipher's touch is sure.

This fizzy, au courant rom-com is more farce than love story.

Pub Date: June 3rd, 2014
ISBN: 978-0-451-23966-2
Page count: 272pp
Publisher: New American Library
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15th, 2014


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