A wedding reception can often be the setting for romance and drama, with more than a few stories playing out in a ballroom after the nuptials. In the case of Beth Evan’s wedding, the behind-the-scenes activities take center stage with a cast of five playing the title role of The Singles.
Meredith Goldstein’s debut novel has five separate (but eventually all intertwined) stories running through it, as the five guests at the wedding who opted to bring no “plus one” each have their own dramas unfold. Three college friends, a semi-estranged family member, and a friend of her fiance’s mother all haunt Beth as she tries to finalize the seating charts, but she has no idea what public embarrassments, drunken displays, and emotional outbursts await her at the reception.
To give an idea into the style of dark humor that runs through the book, it must be noted that the bride Beth actually goes by the nickname Bee, and she has no intention of dropping the nickname even after her marriage to Matt Fee. Yup, that’ll be Bee Fee, which her friend Hannah, one of the “Singles,” cannot help but hear as “Beefy” from here on out.
Each chapter focuses on one of the “Singles,” taking them from the present day back to points in time that help to tell their back stories, giving context to their behaviors on Bee’s wedding day. The histories of the college friends are surely more connected to Bee and each other, though the other two guests’ stories are as interesting and complex, as well. They all appear to be “stuck” somehow at this point in their separate lives, and perhaps their interactions and experiences at this wedding will have long-lasting effects on where they go next.
As I read this highly entertaining novel, I could see the story playing out as a movie in my head. The dialogue is sharp and witty, and the pace is perfectly suited to cinematic scenes. It should have come as no surprise to me to find out that this story has already been optioned for film and is currently in script development. The characters will undoubtedly be as engaging on screen as they were in the pages. As wedding season rapidly approaches, grab The Singles for a humorous romp.
Dawn’s “single” days are long, long behind her, but she can still appreciate a funny book when she reads one. She shares her own funny– albeit much less dramatic– stories on her blog, my thoughts exactly.