HarperCollins, £5.99, ISBN 0-00-653176-8
Contemporary Fiction, 2000
Kudos to whoever wrote the back cover synopsis. That dear has created a brilliant thing that is not only ten times better than the story inside, it also describes an entirely different book altogether. If I’m not nice, I’ll sue the publisher for false information. Let me just quote the synopsis first:
Mel and Fran can’t believe it when their old schoolfriend Amanda, Satan’s very own PR girl, pulls off the ultimate publicity stunt in getting herself engaged to a Scottish laird. Who cares that Fraser McConnald has won the same pair of Converse trainers for the last three years and that his castle is a pile of rubble with one Calor Gas heater – she’ll be titled!
Something must be done…
Gentle, decent Fraser is clearly ignorant of her wiles, and Mel and Fran, still smarting from the memory of all the mean things Amanda has put them through in their days at Portmouth Comprehensive, set out to sabotage this mismatch of the century.
So between fighting off the attentions of a love-crazed accountant, keeping Fran’s deadly manoeuvres with the opposite sex under control and trying to win her own war with the elusive but gorgeous Alex, Mel finds herself attending a wild Scottish stag night, a hen night from hell, and preparing for a wedding that’s everything you’d wish on your worst enemy.
Let me say one thing to this blurb: bollocks.
Mel and Fran are two neurotic, insecure “modern women” who hate Amanda because she’s prettier and more successful than they. This story isn’t about sabotaging an evil woman’s wedding – it’s about backstabbing your best friends for unworthy jerks, all in the name of insecurity and jealousy.
I have enjoyed stories like this before but Amanda’s Wedding is nothing more than 374 pages of plot-free meandering and shrill whining from two supposedly-intelligent women who would take a man – any man! – because their lives aren’t perfect without a penis. It takes a greatly skilled author to make these sort of plot work, but Ms Colgan relies too much on whiny women antics to deliver the jokes. Result? After 50 pages the two ninnies’ pity-party starts to sound like nails on blackboard. Painful.
The love-crazed accountant in question appears only twice in the story, and while he is always ridiculed for his bad breath and boring conversation, Mel always end up in bed with him. The joke’s on her, but too bad it’s a really unfunny one.
To further demonstrate Mel’s braindead nature, Alex in question is a man who never shows up sober. He dumps her, comes back and she takes him in readily, embarrasses her in public but she makes excuses for him, and when he tells her that “I’m driving you away because I want to test you to see if you love me” she sees stars and lets him move in with her (without paying rent, of course). Mel and Fran have a catfight over this man. That says a lot about the intelligence of these women whom I’m supposed to cheer. In the end, both are rewarded for their antics and walk into the sunset without learning a thing about acting like sane human beings.
Sabotaging the wedding never enter our two Barbie dolls’ head until they realize Amanda isn’t inviting them to her pre-wedding party. Actually I don’t blame Amanda. I wouldn’t be proud of having Mel and Fran as my friends either. So the whole sabotaging effort boils down to petty revenge over bruising of egos.
This story could have worked if the humor sparkle, but unfortunately, no. The author clearly wants me to cheer the two nitwits instead of laughing at them, big mistake, because I can never relate to them enough to be sympathetic to them. It doesn’t help that the whole story has no direction or even a decent plot – it is instead a daily chronicle of not-so-funny antics of our two third-rate Ally McBeal wannabes and their adventures in Insecurityville. Unfunny, misogynistic, yet without the levity needed to make it work, Amanda’s Wedding is a dead bore.
Except for a great vulgar song about bestiality, where the drunken sots think up as many euphemisms of penetration – Put your log in a frog is one – now that is hilarious!