Friday, December 22, 2017

Julie's Review: The People We Hate at the Wedding

Author: Grant Ginder
Series: None
Publication Date: June 6, 2017
Publisher: Flatiron Books
Pages: 336
Obtained: bought it
Genre:  Contemporary Fiction
Rating: 1/5
Bottom Line: Avoid it even with the hype
Grab, Just get it at the library, or Remove from your TBR list? Remove
Summary: Relationships are awful. They'll kill you, right up to the point where they start saving your life. Paul and Alice’s half-sister Eloise is getting married! In London! There will be fancy hotels, dinners at “it” restaurants and a reception at a country estate complete with tea lights and embroidered cloth napkins. They couldn’t hate it more. The People We Hate at the Wedding is the story of a less than perfect family. Donna, the clan’s mother, is now a widow living in the Chicago suburbs with a penchant for the occasional joint and more than one glass of wine with her best friend while watching House Hunters International. Alice is in her thirties, single, smart, beautiful, stuck in a dead-end job where she is mired in a rather predictable, though enjoyable, affair with her married boss. Her brother Paul lives in Philadelphia with his older, handsomer, tenured track professor boyfriend who’s recently been saying things like “monogamy is an oppressive heteronormative construct,” while eyeing undergrads. And then there’s Eloise. Perfect, gorgeous, cultured Eloise. The product of Donna’s first marriage to a dashing Frenchman, Eloise has spent her school years at the best private boarding schools, her winter holidays in St. John and a post-college life cushioned by a fat, endless trust fund. To top it off, she’s infuriatingly kind and decent. As this estranged clan gathers together, and Eloise's walk down the aisle approaches, Grant Ginder brings to vivid, hilarious life the power of family, and the complicated ways we hate the ones we love the most in the most bitingly funny, slyly witty and surprisingly tender novel you’ll read this year.

Review: I want to say that it is rare for me to give a book a 1 star and still review it but I feel like with all the love/buzz this book is getting I wanted to give a different point of view. 

People We Hate at the Wedding is not funny in any way shape or form. Honestly, I found it super cringe-worthy. I typically don't like un-likable characters if there's a good story and I see them grow but with this family they are stuck in inertia and it really didn't seem like they would ever come out of it.

Alice is in a job that she doesn't like, sleeping with her married boss and still mourning over what happened in Mexico City 5 years ago. The mourning is the one thing I felt horrible for her on because what an awful thing to go through. Her way of dealing with it by snorting her Klonopin probably isn't the healthiest.

Paul is in a relationship that no matter what gender you are attracted to isn't healthy. He's doing a job that he isn't really passionate but took because it put him in Philly with his boyfriend Mark. Paul is super needy and lacks emotional maturity. So when Mark suggests that they spice things up in the bedroom, Paul is extremely hesitant. As you get to know Paul, you realize that he just wants to be loved and if this is what it takes to get Mark to love him, he'll end up doing it.

Eloise, is probably the most well-adjusted of the 3 siblings and that's not saying much. She's kept a lot of feelings repressed and of course with the pressure of the wedding, she's starting to crack a bit. She's the older sister that both Alice and Paul feel disconnected from since they really didn't grow up with since she was off at boarding school. For me it just seemed liked they were jealous that Eloise had a trust fund and grew up differently than them. It really inhibited their ability to form a meaningful relationship with her.

I also felt that all this build up to the wedding and we didn't even get the wedding in the book. If there ever was such a dysfunctional family then this one is it. Except sometimes you can find humor or at least identify with the dysfunction, but for me, not in this case.



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