A debut memoir chronicling the author's feelings about the many weddings she has attended.
Doll is an established writer and editor who has been to more than 20 weddings since she was in diapers. Throughout the book, a bewildering mass of anecdotes, incidents, musings and emotions whirls past, blurring together and leaving little lasting effect. The author is always attentive to the details of clothing, decorations and environments, but her powers of description are limited, with a heavy reliance on lists and clichéd phrases. One of the most engaging parts of the book is the story of her parents' courtship and marriage, and her lively mother may be the most vivid and sympathetic portrait. Doll raises all the persistent difficult questions about how to pick the right person, how to make it work, how much work is a reasonable amount, but most of her advice is predictable. She covers the usual anxieties of the single person whose friends are all getting married, as well as many questions about the place of marriage in modern life, but Doll skims the surface of them, as she does her own emotions. Her preoccupation with weddings seems to come down to lingering childhood fantasies, a love of parties and a niggling sense of missing out, despite her overall satisfaction with single life. As the narrative progresses, Doll's lighthearted charm fades as she repeatedly laughs off and rationalizes her own volatile and damaging drunken behavior. In one rock-bottom episode, she combines material display with titillating dysfunction by informing us of the exact cost of the shoes she flung down the street as her friends tried to subdue her.
Party-loving singles with an anxious interest in the weddings of friends may find a kindred soul here. Those looking for emotional depth or original insights may not.