An extravagant wedding is threatened by equally lavish family tensions.
Paul is a cranky gay guy, and he has a lot to be cranky about, really. He has a job at a clinic where he helps people face their compulsions—for example, forcing a germophobic client who could have “been plucked from a year-old Talbots catalog” to stand in trash cans full of rotting food and maxipads. At home, his smug, controlling boyfriend wants to start inviting strangers into their bed for three-way sex. And his half sister, Eloise, who lives in England, has just sent out ridiculously expensive invitations to her wedding—she must have spent nearly five grand, as he and his other sister, Alice, determine in the phone conversation that opens the book. Paul initially refuses to attend the wedding for the same reasons he refuses to take his mother’s phone calls—he can’t stand Eloise, thinks their mom favors her, and has been alienated from the family since his father’s death. Meanwhile, Alice is not doing great either: living in LA, she dates a married man and relies on Klonopin to get her through the days, unable to recover from a miscarriage that happened years ago. Their mother, Donna, is not too broken up about the death of her second husband (Paul and Alice’s dad) and still half in love with her first (Eloise’s, who will be at the wedding). She is just hoping to smooth over all these problems and get her children together for the fabulous event. Ginder (Driver’s Education, 2013) has a gift for the gleefully outrageous, dishing up one over-the-top scene after another—a meltdown at the compulsion clinic, a drugged-up gay sex imbroglio, a room service debauch, an unexpected and quite unwelcome kayaking trip.
A daisy chain of debacles makes time spent with “people we hate” good fun.