REVIEW:  I Take This Man by Valerie Frankel

REVIEW: I Take This Man by Valerie Frankel

Dear Mrs Frankel,

This has to be every woman’s nightmare. The details have been haggled over for months, the $$$ dress has been bought, guests are gathered, the shrimp is marinating, the ice sculpture is being chiseled into shape and the groom is a &^%$#@ no show. And if the wedding is costing her parents a fortune, they have to be out for blood as well. After reading your book “I Take This Man,” I think prospective grooms will know better than to try this with a Jersey girl.

Here comes the bride . . . there goes the groom.

Penny Bracket waited two years to marry dream man Bram Shiraz. Then on the morning of the Big Day, while she’s trying on her veil, Penny receives the worst two-line letter of her life: “Penny, I can’t go through with it. Sorry, Bram.”

Penny’s hurt and upset. But Esther, Penny’s divorced mom, wants Bram’s head on a platter. So Mom ambushes the cold-footed coward before he hot-foots it out of town, bonks him on the head with a champagne bottle, and spirits him away to a hidden room in her gargantuan mansion in Short Hares, New Jersey. Esther doesn’t want much. All Bram has to do is write personal, heartfelt apologies to each of the two hundred disappointed wedding guests . . . and eat every mouthful of the very expensive gourmet wedding feast that has gone to waste. Then he’ll be free to leave.

Penny doesn’t want Bram tortured. She just wants answers to “why” . . . and maybe a little revenge. Will she discover her runaway groom is locked away in the attic? Will Bram’s widowed father–"handsome tough-guy Keith Shiraz–"be able to locate his missing son . . . and maybe seduce Esther Bracket in the bargain? Will Bram be able to maintain his athletic figure after consuming two hundred entrà©es and thousands of baby quiches? Read on!

I can easily see this book being made into a chick flick/date flick. It requires severe supsension of belief but then most books in this category do. Penny’s meringue wedding dress sounds like the description in “Four Weddings and a Funeral”; her announcement to her guests will certainly give them something to remember; and the pricey reception is straight from WE Network’s “Platinum Weddings.” Since it mainly read as Chick Lit style, the sudden, short descents into black comedy (Natasha and Alexia doing in their American husbands, Keith’s “whispering” to the asshats who treat Esther rudely, Esther and Penny fighting back when they think they’re being kidnapped) would take me by surprise. Kind of Coen brothers style. But the reception menu sounded fantastic though.

Natasha’s overblown descriptions of life in Russia had me laughing my ass off. “You two go to Hawaii. Have fun. Get tan. While you are on beach, think of me, shivering in Moscow, cooking meat on stick over pile of burning garbage. Love Natasha.”

I do have serious issues with Bram’s reason for bolting the wedding. I just can’t see most men calling off a wedding to a woman they love because of it. It’s nice but hardly realistic. However, I know that the reason couldn’t make Bram look like too much of an asshole since we all want a book about a wedding to give us a HEA. But then see the above note about suspending belief to read this book.

Short Hares, NJ? Bwahahaha! Please tell me there’s not a town that actually has this name. I like that Bram’s father Keith is honorable man. He’s determined to find his son and drag him back to own up to what he did and apologize. Esther changes her 20 something year tune about men and marriage too quickly but then…..suspension of belief. Oh and Bram and his best friend Morris actually talk to each other like real guys.

“It’s this girl,” said Morris. “She’s fucking my brains out. Literally. Every time we do it, I get stupider. I think I’m falling in love.”

I guess after reading this, my advice for prospective brides is to make sure you keep your receipts for everything. B-

~Jayne