Saturday, April 09, 2011

My Perfect Wedding (Sibel Hodge)

Overall: 3.3   ҉
  • Plot: 3.5/5
  • Originality: 4.2/5
  • Language: 3.5/5
  • Believability: 1.8/5
My Perfect Wedding by Sibel Hodge

Helen Grey is finally getting everything she wants. She's about to have the perfect dream wedding and begin an exciting new life abroad on the sunny Mediterranean island of Cyprus. But living the dream isn't all it's cracked up to be

After a mix-up at the airport, Helen finds herself drawn into the midst of an elaborate plot to steal an ancient statue and assassinate a local businessman. And as if that wasn't bad enough, her wedding dress is AWOL, the statue seems to be cursed, and Helen is wanted by the police.

Can Helen prevent an assassination, save the statue, and have the perfect wedding? Or will the day to remember turn into one she'd rather forget?
Genre: Women's Fiction
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In My Perfect Wedding, we journey with Helen Grey as misjudgment and plain bad luck land her in one messy situation after another. Granted, her foot also appears to be permanently attached to the inside of her mouth, so a good deal of the trouble is of her own making.
    Hodge does an excellent job of bringing us inside her character's head. Helen's voice permeated the text, creating a distinctive personality that set the wacky, off-beat tone of the piece. Unfortunately, however, the free pass to her inner workings shows that there isn't all that much going on inside.

    Helen's emotional range is limited, with panic, self-pity, and giddy happiness dominating the majority of the book. While shallowness and materialism have their literary place — think Lydia Bennett from Pride and Prejudice — in a heroine, I found the personality type utterly insipid. Her reactions and thinking patterns were those of a young adolescent, rather than a grown woman. To resolve this discordance, I ended up allowing myself to see her as a girl half her supposed age (and ignoring the issue entirely when her libido came into play). Suddenly, her behaviors were understandable, though only slightly less grating. At the very least, her self-centered attitude was consistent, even through trite life lessons that most learn at a young age. Think the Rolling Stones' "You Can't Always Get What You Want".

    On some level, the farcical situations in which Helen landed herself were quite funny. The second incident involving nuts was particularly so. At the time, these scenes seemed random, but the author tied them together neatly towards the end of the book. I concede that they were necessary in that respect, yet many of them were too far-fetched or wholly illogical, the initial confrontation with the bodyguards serving as a prime example.

    As effective as the text was in portraying the main character, the repetition of certain words sparked my ire. One was "[insert adjective here] looking" in describing a good number of the people and things that she sees, e.g. a "hefty looking" man. Another writing tick, arguably more tiresome than the last, is "the simple life".  Paris Hilton associations aside, there are other ways to describe a lifestyle involving no major department stores but plenty of agriculture.

    My Perfect Wedding strikes me as a book fit for beach reading or slapstick entertainment à la sitcom. For depth or provocation of thought, however, you may need to look elsewhere.

    (Review copy provided by the author)

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