Publish Date: June 6, 2017
Paul and Alice’s half-sister Eloise is getting married! In London! There will be fancy hotels, dinners at “it” restaurants and a reception at a country estate complete with tea lights and embroidered cloth napkins. They couldn’t hate it more.
The People We Hate at the Wedding is the story of a family. Donna, the widowed mother who lives in Chicago; Alice, in her thirties, stuck in a dead-end job and a dead-end affair with her married boss; Paul, Alice’s gay brother who lives in Philadelphia, and Eloise, the perfect, gorgeous, half sister with a glamorous life and a fat, endless trust fund.
This story is about Alice, Paul, Eloise, and Donna as Eloise’s wedding approaches in the London outskirts.
I like the premise of the book. The synopsis drew me in because it was ripe for juicy family drama, long unresolved resentment, and who doesn’t love a wedding?!
It also caught my eye because it was enthusiastically endorsed by Kevin Kwan as a humorous book about family members attending a wedding and all of the drama that ensues. I love Kevin Kwan’s novels and it set my expectation that this book would be as funny as the Crazy Rich Asians trilogy. I was ready to like it.
I was disappointed that it did not live up to my expectations. It had some humor but not nearly as much laugh-out-loud funny as I’d hoped.
Every single one of the characters is deeply flawed and not very likable. I suppose that this book really does live up to its name!
Most of the characters were unlikeable, made bad decisions and no one seemed really happy or seems to enjoy spending time with each other, except the bride to be, Eloise. She is different than the rest of her family and I like her the best except for the twist at the end which was so unlike her.
According to this article, “Likability wasn’t on Ginder’s mind when he created the characters. He had a mantra while writing them: ‘kick them while they’re down.’ Each of the characters, as the title suggests, has strong feelings towards the others. As narrative perspective shifts during the novel, so does the perspective of who is likable or not.”
I feel that this story dragged a bit in the middle. I feel there should have been more of a story on the actual wedding event but instead, most of it was focused on the time leading up to the wedding day.
And I disliked her brother Paul up until the end when his perspective really saved the day.
The ending gives some closure to the family rift and dynamics – but you have to get through 3/4 of the book before you get to the interesting part.
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
If you like dysfunctional, bickering families, snarky and flawed characters, then this book for you.