Remember on Sex and the City (yeah, that’s right) when Carrie and Miranda try on wedding dresses, just for shits and giggles, and Carrie has a panic attack? That’s exactly how I felt about trying on wedding dresses, not because I didn’t want to marry my fiance (like Carrie) but because I already hate shopping AND trying on clothes. The thought of trying on wedding dresses in front of other people made my skin crawl. I just wanted something comfortable, something non-strapless, and a dress that would allow me to go to the bathroom unaccompanied by all of my bridesmaids.
For a long time, the thought of getting married either A) gave me a panic attack or B) made me scoff at the idea of ever going through with such a thing because WHAT A HASSLE. I eventually did get married and, though the planning process was six years ago, I completely identified with Lucy Knisley’s Something New. The novel tells the story of Knisley and her fiance’s unorthodox courtship and year of wedding planning, all through the eyes of a non-wedding person. There were so many moments where I found myself nodding my head as I read, or thinking, “YES THIS THANK YOU,” particularly in regard to the name change issue and the previously aforementioned wedding dress shopping experience.
And really the whole wedding experience in general is just a weird THING that can generate all sorts of unpleasantness. Like Knisley, I wanted to get married to celebrate that I’d found my person, and I wanted to be surrounded by the people I loved when I did it. And yet, there were things that were included in the wedding that we only did to satisfy family members. While it was an annoyance at the time, I realized eventually that we didn’t do those things because they mattered to us, but because our family matters (HAHAHA!) to us.
Reading Something New after just finishing French Milk was a real treat. Not that I didn’t enjoy French Milk (because I did), but reading her most recent book after her oldest was an interesting juxtaposition. Her storytelling abilities and her art have come a long way. She knows how to weave a story, even one as common as the simple act of getting married, and she wrings true meaning out of the smallest moments.
There are ups and downs to the wedding planning process no matter what you decide to do for yours. Knisley’s experience is no different, and now that my own wedding is over, it’s somewhat comforting to read that others have had similar experiences. Still, all weddings are a singular experience to those who are getting married, so it’s fun to read about what challenges Knisley and her soon-to-be husband faced, and how they got through each one with their sanity (mostly) intact.
Something New is infused with the same honesty and warmth you can find in all of Knisley’s work. Honestly, her books are just a joy to read. It’s like the book version of a big hug. I can’t wait to read more.