Review: Best Men by Sidney Karger
When two best men in a wedding party fall for each other, they realize love isn’t a piece of cake in this hilarious and heartfelt romantic comedy debut by screenwriter Sidney Karger.
Max Moody thought he had everything figured out. He’s trying to live his best life in New York City and has the best friend a gay guy could ask for: Paige. She and Max grew up next door to each other in the suburbs of Chicago. She can light up any party. She finishes his sentences. She’s always a reliable splunch (they don’t like to use the word brunch) partner. But then Max’s whole world is turned upside down when Paige suddenly announces some huge news: she’s engaged and wants Max to be her man of honor. Max was always the romantic one who imagined he would get married before the unpredictable Paige and is shocked to hear she’s ready to settle down. But it turns out there’s not just one new man in Paige’s life–there are two.
There’s the groom, Austin, who’s a perfectly nice guy. Then there’s his charming, fun and ridiculously handsome gay younger brother, Chasten, who is Austin’s best man. As Paige’s wedding draws closer, Max, the introverted Midwesterner, and Chasten, the social butterfly East Coaster, realize they’re like oil and water. Yet they still have to figure out how to coexist in Paige’s life while not making her wedding festivities all about them. But can the tiny romantic spark between these two very different guys transform their best men supporting roles into the leading best men in each other’s lives?
Dear Sidney Karger,
When I was offered the ARC of this book, my first thought was that I was a little intimidated. I mean, a blurb from Anderson Cooper can intimidate me I admit, but then I saw that the book was set in New York, and despite the blurb sounding a little too quirky for my taste, I dived in.
First and foremost I have to say that I am not disappointed in the slightest that I spent time with this story and characters. I also found it to be a very well written story. The writer who can make me stay with the book mostly written in the first person present tense deserves a great deal of praise for that alone. Overall it just felt that story flew effortlessly. Here I have to insert my usual apologies for being unable to explain in details why I liked the writing so much.
I also really liked the main characters, but for the life of me I could not figure out the reason for the tension between Max and Paige. I understand that wedding preparations can cause a lot of tensions, please do not get me wrong, and do not blame either Rachel or Max for that. What I could not figure out was the subsequent angst Max was having – not about Rachel getting married, after all he was a decent, sweet guy and it was clear that he was genuinely happy for his friend. He just really wanted to get married and I was ready to forgive him a brief jealousy pout.
No, I was confused about how Max went from that to feeling that all his life he was Rachel’s “gay best friend,” rather than just her friend. He spent some time angsting over whether that was true or was not true and I just felt like the angst went from something believable to something added to prolong the angst a little bit more than necessary.
I liked Max a whole lot, this is the first time in a long time I am reading about the character working in HR, never mind that he finds this job not very satisfying, it was still sweet to see that he hated firing people.
I thought he and Chasten were fun on page too, for a moment I even thought it would even venture into “from enemies to lovers’ territory, but once again, that part evaporated pretty fast and that is okay. I liked their connection and their chemistry.
I smiled a lot while reading this book and I appreciated that. I also liked how New York popped up on the pages, not necessarily through all the landmarks (to me this is an easy way out at this point, as much as I love my city’s famous touristy spots), but for example at some point characters eat lunch in Just Salad (and yes, I find this place annoying too, but so recognizable at this point), or how I thought I recognized the real chocolate factory which the chocolate place one of the characters owns was based on.