REVIEW: Father of the Bride by Edward Streeter
Poor Mr. Banks! His jacket is too tight, he can’t get a cocktail, and he’s footing the bill…He’s the father of the bride.
Stanley Banks is just your ordinary suburban dad. He’s the kind of guy who believes that weddings are simple affairs in which two people get married. But when daddy’s little girl announces her engagement to Buckley, Mr. Banks feels like his life has been turned upside down.
The dress that will be worn for one day is how much? Why would anyone spend that much for flowers? And however befuddled Mr. Banks becomes, no one pays the least amount of attention to him. He must host cocktail parties with the in-laws to be, initiate financial planning talks with Buckley, and moderate family conferences on who will be invited to the reception. But poor Mr. Banks! All he sees are the bills, and no one talks to him about losing his little girl!
Father of the Bride is a timeless, heartwarming, and hysterically funny tale that appeals directly to the lighter side of life, and any man with a child about to get married can appreciate Mr. Banks’s situation and the troubles that befall him.
So recently I saw the “Father of the Bride” remake reunion titled “Father of the Bride Part 3 (ish)” and realized that despite having watched the 1950 original, the 1991 remake, the FLD, and Part 2 movies, I’d never read the book that started them all. In 1948 Edward Streeter wrote “Father of the Bride” and reading it was like reliving the movies.
Stanley Banks tells the story of his beloved eldest child Kay (aka Kitten) as she casually announces her upcoming marriage and how planning for the wedding goes from a small “just the family” quiet wedding to a (to him) financially out of control extravaganza. As expense piles on expense, almost everyone (including the PNCs [probably not coming]) accepts their invitations, and Stanley realizes just what a 1948 bride’s trousseau entails (and how much it costs), Stanley also deals with the bittersweet knowledge that his beloved Kitten is transferring her primary allegiance and love from her family to her soon-to-be husband.
Yeah so if you’ve seen the original movie with Spencer Tracey / Joan Bennett / Elizabeth Taylor you’ve basically watched the book as the screenplay is overwhelmingly faithful to what Edward Streeter wrote. A few (very minor) things from the book were left out while the movie adds (a few minor) things but basically, it’s the same. And, IMHO, it’s just as much fun to read as watch. But I must caution that upon reading it I did notice a few things that people might object to – the Banks have a maid named Delilah who is given one spoken line but it’s horrible dialect, Stanley Banks likens meeting Buckley’s parents to the initial moments of meeting of the Native Americans and the Lewis and Clark expedition, and he says that the wedding is a bit like an atom bomb in that after months of careful planning, it’s over so quickly.
The book does show how differently weddings and marriages were then as compared to now. Kay defers a lot to what Buckley wants up until the wedding planning begins and then it’s the women – Kay and her mother Ellie – who run the show and dictate what the men will do. It’s sweet and innocent and though it’s only 72 years old, it’s a world away and a time gone by. B
If you want to watch the latest remake reunion in which the Banks family takes on Covid and another wedding – go to youtube and type in “Father of the Bride Part 3 (ish).”