Delta, $10.95, ISBN 0-385-33583-0
Contemporary Fiction, 2002
Amy always wonders why marriages make her girlfriends degenerate into crazy, self-absorbed psychos. Well, when her boyfriend Stephen proposes, she tells herself that she is above the hysteria. She will do this planning rationally. Oh yes, ma’am, R-A-T-I-O-N-A-L-L-Y.
Of course, the plans will soon spiral out of control. Amy’s 20-itemed to-do-list soon ballooned to a 39-itemed list and later, mercy, 70 items. She can’t find a location. Her Granny may be sabotaging her coming wedding. And what a time to discover that your parents favor your sister over you. Catering! Why is everything so darned expensive and why wouldn’t the parents dole out more cash? Do they think that Amy and Stephen produce money from their toilet bowl sessions? AND WHERE ARE THE DAMNED FUCKING SHOES?
The Diary of a Mad Bride is a hilarious diary-formatted story of a woman’s loss of all perspective as the wedding day comes. When I got married, well, actually us Giggles had this brilliant idea of eloping. Hey, we both had loans to pay you know, and Chinese weddings with the huge guest lists have been known to bankrupt unwitting newlyweds. We realized too late our mistake when we got disowned by our parents – from both sides. We made up nicely with them come the second year when we decided to throw a traditional wedding bash to celebrate our anniversary. Yes, we almost bankrupt ourselves, but hey, at least we had babysitters when the kids arrived later. Ahem, I hope no one reading this knows my mother-in-law. Anyway, so no, I don’t undergo what Amy underwent. Heck, for the anniversary bash I let the mothers (mine and the in-law) handle it. I’m smart that way.
But I find myself nonetheless involved in this story. Heck, for a moment I am Amy, threatening to bite the head off people who are too slow for Amy’s liking. The killer one-liners help too, and I almost bust a rib laughing.
What keeps me reading this book long into the night, however, is the surprising romanticism and tenderness under the facade of cool chick lit of this novel. Unlike, say, Bridget Jones’s Diary, the cynicism here is the show, and the real thing is the love Amy and Stephen share. When Amy finds her photo lovingly sheathed in protective plastic and kept in Stephen’s wallet, she knows it’s love, and in the end, this love is the real thing. Stephen may be a geek, but he’s her love, you know. Everything else is just jitters, and the marriage? Well, it’s just a grand event, but Amy realizes in the end that it’s the life after marriage that’s important.
It’s pretty sweet. Underneath the whole frantic comedy, Diary of a Mad Bride is actually a tender love story, and that’s what keeps me rereading this one. Short but sweet and tender, and oh yeah, funny.