Tuesday, June 13, 2017

(51)The People We Hate at the Wedding by Grant Ginder


Alice and Paul 's mother, Donna, was married to a wealthy Frenchman before she met their father.  Alice and Paul grew up with their middle-class mother speaking French, fixing strange French cuisine, and driving a used Ford station wagon. Their older half-sister, Eloise, grew up going to elite boarding schools and had chefs to fix her authentic French cuisine. Eloise tried to fit in when she was with her American family, but Paul and Alice could not help but resent her and her luxurious lifestyle.  Now Eloise is getting married in London and wants her siblings and mother there for the festivities.  Paul and Alice have to both face the harsh reality that their lives are a mess compared to their older sister.  Alice is having an affair with her married colleague and is still mourning her miscarriage years ago.  Paul just lost his job and his boyfriend is making comments that lead him to believe their relationship is in jeopardy.  Not to mention that his relationship with his mother has been non-existent since his father died.  Neither Paul nor Alice are looking forward to this wedding.  Will the wedding be the opportunity they need to heal their family or will it be the event that tears them apart for good?

The People We Hate at the Wedding puts the fun back in dysfunctional.  Of the three siblings, Paul seems to be the most dysfunctional, but Alice and Eloise and not that far behind. There were times that the dysfunction seemed extreme and was grating on my nerves.  I mean - pull it together people.    Paul was seriously a hot mess and I thought his boyfriend was a giant douche.  He redeemed himself just a little at the very end.  Alice didn't really have a good boyfriend picker either, as hers was married. It really made it hard to like her - given her homewrecker status.  Eloise was the only one who seemed to be trying to have a relationship with her siblings, but the disparity in the way that they grew up made it tough.  The book is told from the alternate viewpoints of the siblings and Donna, their mother.  I think Donna was my favorite character of the book - the way that she stood up for Paul was admirable.  I was very satisfied with the end of the book - it was realistic and reassuring that the author didn't feel the need to be fake in order to give the reader warm fuzzies.

Bottom line - The People We Hate at the Wedding is a book about a less than perfect family just trying to figure out a way to love each other.  It is a good read if you don't let all of the dysfunction get to you.

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