My thoughts: I've been a fan of Jen Doll for years as she's written for The Atlantic, New York, and The Village Voice (among many others.) I've always found her writing strong and insightful, yet given the title and cover, I expected this memoir to be filled with more humorous anecdotes than insight. I was pleasantly surprised, as Save the Date isn't the memoir I expected, but it's still one I enjoyed immensely.
There is plenty of humor throughout Save the Date, but over all the tone was much more thoughtful, and it's often both:
"You should give him a chance."
"You think?" This was not the first time I'd been given this advice. There were plenty of paired-up couples in my life who seemed to see me as a hard-hearted ballbuster who never opened up, who refused to even consider anyone less than some idealized form of man. In truth, I knew that my heart, though deeply crusted on the outside with a protective layer of sarcasm and revenge schemes, was as welcomingly pliable as any of the hearts of the married twosomes I'd seen in wedlock."The memoir is largely chronological, but because the emphasis is on Doll's personal growth and ideas, particularly surrounding friendship and romance, more than the weddings themselves, the chronology matters less than the emotional timeline. As I read, I found myself growing closer to Doll and thinking of her as a friend. She writes with admirable candor, and at times I found myself simultaneously marveling and wincing at her honesty and actions. I found myself emotionally invested and wishing for a happy ending for Doll. When I turned the last page, I already missed her wry observations and humor.
Favorite passage: "And there are times when you'll do anything so you can later say you did, because when all is said and done, the party favor you'll take home with you is the story."
The verdict: Save the Date made me laugh and cry. Most importantly, however, it made me ponder so much about friendship, relationships, marriage and life. Doll is a bravely honest writer, and I loved how much she opens up in this pitch-perfect memoir.
Rating: 4 out of 5
Length: 327 pages
Publication date: May 1, 2014
Convinced? Treat yourself! Buy Save the Date: The Occasional Mortifications of a Serial Wedding Guest from an independent bookstore, the Book Depository or Amazon (Kindle edition.)
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