April 25, 2009Speechless by Yvonne Collins & Sandy Rideout
When I first picked up this book and it said the main character was a political speechwriter, I thought it was going to be a chick lit book set in DC (a natural assumption when you're from there). But it turns out it was about Canadian politics. I don't think I've ever read Canadian chick lit before, so that was a treat.
I didn't feel any tone or character shifts, which was pretty great considering there are two authors. But some of the plot wasn't well-developed and there were times when it was hard to tell if the book was trying to be a heroine overcomes overbearing boss type book or heroine can't find love book. It was also REALLY unclear why the heroine gave up on the first guy and started crushing on the second guy, since there was nothing really described/mentioned/illustrated that the second guy was even likable, much less crush-worthy.
I won't go out of my way to pick another book by these two, but it wasn't a bad read either.
The premise is a bit hard to believe - the main character has to attend 17 weddings in six months - but at first, I was willing to suspend my disbelief. I mean, just because I haven't attended 17 weddings yet in my life even though I'm in my prime "marrying" years doesn't mean that there aren't people who know SO many people that it's possible for that to happen.
But beyond the normal chick lit cliches of gal pals with weekly girls' nights at a local bar and divorced parents who act like the children they've raised, there's an underlying storyline about what marriage means, who defines it and what does it matter that's actually pretty interesting. But it seems to be handled clumsily and there are major personality/character changes that aren't really explained. I finished the book because I started it, but I wasn't really intrigued by it. Not the fun, silly book about weddings that I was expecting for sure.
Since I had previously loved the other two books I'd read by Robyn Sisman, I was excited to find another book by her at a different library.
Unfortunately, this book was not the fun romp that the other two books were. There's a lot of this book that seems extraneous and it's not until about 100 pages from the end that you even get to the "heart" of the matter - whether the two main characters are really "just friends." Of course, in a post-When Harry Met Sally fictional world, you know that they are actually just in denial about their feelings for each other. But that seems to come as such an afterthought, that you aren't really even rooting for them - sorta problematic in a romantic comedy.
I love the way Sarah Vowell writes. She manages to delve into complex historical concepts with wit and wisdom and without cliche - unlike me. And of course, this book is no different.
I've wanted to read this book since I saw her on The Daily Show and found out that she had a new book coming out. She didn't disappoint me. I loved the way she was able to seamlessly go from scripture to primary sources to commentary to current events, making me laugh along the way. I don't know that I necessarily learned anything new, but I liked reading it. And I can't wait for her next book - if only so Jon can have her back on his show!