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Review: The Bachelorette Party by Karen McCullah Lutz

bachelorette party mccullah lutz chick lit romance Review: The Bachelorette Party by Karen McCullah Lutz

The Bachelorette Party is written by one of the co-authors of the romantic comedy phenomenon that was Legally Blonde, and despite being up until midnight with this little page turner, I couldn't resist a quick google to see whether my hunch was correct. I can smugly say that it was: you can expect a film adaptation of this kooky little read in 2011.

The Bachelorette Party is a book that knows no bounds, and it was not just a few times that I found myself grinning rather guiltily at the antics of its hilarious cast of characters. Main character Zadie is a tell-it-like-it-is school teacher who has spent the past six months recovering from being jilted at her wedding by self-medicating with impressive amounts of alcohol and no-holds-barred conversations with her best guy friend, Grey. Unfortunately, their co-commiseration comes to a grinding halt when Grey announces that, after a whirlwind courtship, he is engaged to marry Zadie's cousin Helen, a butter-wouldn't-melt-in-her-mouth type who takes rather vocal pride in her virginal status and her purity of soul.

Zadie is less than impressed by the imminent loss of her best friend to her prudish cousin, but does her best to lick her wounds by spending some quality time in her alcohol cabinet and fantasising about her barely legal student Trevor. However, as the wedding approaches, so does that inevitable night of debauchery'the hen's night, or a bachelorette party, as they're known in that more northern of hemispheres. However, when it turns out that the day's itinerary comprises such vulgar things as eating cucumber sandwiches, drinking Devonshire tea, and partaking in a spot of yoga, Grey pleads with Zadie to entice Helen to let her hair down and enjoy herself.

And oh dear. She certainly does. The moment we arrive at said bachelorette party, I felt as though I was entering the awkward world of Meet the Parents or Wedding Crashers, and it was for this reason that my film-rights-purchased radar started beeping, or doing whatever it is that cranial radars do. Sweet doe-eyed Helen imbibes some sort of bacchanal champagne that turns her into some sort of Dionysian terror whose sense of propriety is about as upstanding as a house of cards in hurricane. It doesn't take long until Helen is clad in dominatrix gear, wielding a large sex object, and is performing questionable manoeuvres with a morally ambiguous Texan. It's when Zadie finds out that Helen has a certain history that has been awakened by the litres of alcohol running through her system that she realises that she needs to get her cousin out of harm's way before things get even more out of hand.

The Bachelorette Party is a fast and well-paced read, and Zadie is an extremely sympathetic character (although she might make you raise an eyebrow'or two, if you're ambidextrous) who's a great deal of fun to spend time with. However, I found the title of the book a little misleading, and found that it threw off the pacing a little given that the bachelorette party only begins around a hundred pages in, and that the book is more about Zadie's coming to terms with her own foibles and self-esteem issues (admittedly, this is done largely through martinis and sex with the afore-mentioned barely legal student) than it is about Helen. In addition, I found Helen's sudden transformation a little out of the blue and rather Hollywood-esque in nature: I feel it would perhaps work a little better on-screen that it did in the book, and am interested to see what the film has in store for us. Finally, I did find it a little odd that Zadie didn't end up with Grey in the end, as my ordinarily well-hidden romantic streak was hankering a bit for a formulaic happily-ever-after. Still, this thread was resolved, with Zadie tentatively beginning a new relationship (and, thankfully, someone a little more age appropriate and a little less career-damaging than her student!).

Overall, The Bachelorette Party is a great and snappy little read that's filled with some great dialogue and some hilarious characters that are set for glory on the big screen. If you like your books consisting of over-the-top characterisation mixed with a shot of scandal and served with a little umbrella of vulgarity, you'll no doubt love this book.

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