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Pickle Me This

January 17, 2007

My Wedding Dress by Whelehan and Carter (eds)

I can provide you with some sort of an idea of what it’s like to read My Wedding Dress: True-life Tales of Lace, Laughter, Tears and Tulle. Read the post below, and the imagine in ten times as long, and multiplied by twenty six. It’s a bit much, but then it also works.

It works because most of the pieces in this anthology are truly excellent. With contributions by such well-known names as Michelle Landsberg, Stevie Cameron, Lorna Crozier, Kerri Sakamoto, Edeet Ravel and Ami McKay, this is unsurprising. The wedding photos included are also a great addition to the text. There are an assortment of happy tales, hard lessons learned, and sadness endured. Jenny Manzer’s story of her wedding, just days after her mother’s death from cancer, had me in tears. When, after all the drama, Ilana Stanger-Ross’s mother stepped on them hem of her dress and it ripped, and Stanger-Ross just laughed. I do wish that Elyse Pomeranz had been a little less earnest about the fact that she knit the clothes she and her husband wore on their wedding day. She’s included a photo. I won’t say any more.

At their very core, anthologies are terribly self-indulgent. My blog post below is an example of this, I know it: my story, and I want you to hear it– no, I want to TELL it– and I won’t consider the likelihood that it’s not so extraordinary to you. Where My Wedding Dress succeeds is when contributers stick to the focus, as most of the strongest pieces do. The few pieces that faltered use the dress motif to springboard over to what they really want to talk about, which could be anything, and I didn’t find these contributions so interesting unless they were in the hands of a very good writer. My other criticism of this book is my first one: it’s a bit much. Naturally, stories like these are inspiring (my blog entry case in point), and everybody wants a turn, but I don’t think this book with its twenty-six pieces really required a forward, and afterword and two introductions. (I have a feeling this book will also inspire a sequel).

Target audience here would be quite specific: recent brides, and mothers of brides, I think. This book will be appreciated. Forthcoming brides, of course, don’t read because they are way too busy with calligraphy and decoupage.

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