Always the bridesmaid and never the bride, Jen Doll has been to a lot of weddings. As a bit of a party girl willing to do anything for a story, her wedding-going antics have given her many wild stories to tell. She uses these stories to thoughtfully ponder what weddings mean to us and what she wants out of life, while relating many humorous anecdotes.
This was more of a memoir than I expected, with short stories in loosely chronological order. Although each story connected to a wedding in some way, the wedding wasn’t always the main focus. Sometimes they were more about other big events in Jen’s life. Like most collections of short stories, some of the stories worked for me and some of them didn’t. I thought the author always did an admirable job not sounding bitter. She was occasionally cynical or resigned though and these were some of the bits I found funniest. I particularly enjoyed a story about one of the first weddings she remembers. Her eight-year-old self had some pretty funny ideas about weddings!
I didn’t always enjoy her experiences as an adult. To an extent, I like that she included the sordid details of even her worst wedding decisions. Some of them were decisions I could empathize with and sharing our mistakes can make us more relatable. However, the author is clearly more of a party girl than I am. She might also have a bit of a drinking problem. Even at the end of the book, although she knows she should drink less at weddings, she’s still choosing to drink too much and do stupid, thoughtless things. In many of these cases, I empathized far more with people who had to put up with her at their weddings than I did with her! On the other hand, as someone who’s never had a one night stand, I found living through her experiences vicariously to be an interesting experiences. I also particularly enjoyed her more philosophical musings about the purpose of weddings and the baggage participants bring with them. I wasn’t wowed enough by this memoir to recommend it to everyone, but if you particularly like weddings or attend them often, you’ll probably find a lot to empathize with here.This review first published on Doing Dewey.