It’s not often I finish a book in a day, but advice columnist Meredith Goldstein’s debut novel, The Singles, had me hooked from the outset. And lucky for you, we’re giving away a copy!
The story focuses on five single people attending a wedding ~ each with their own relationship problems and unique viewpoints. Bee Evans is getting married, but instead of telling the bride’s story, The Singles is an homage to those guests without a “plus one.”
There’s Hannah: One of Bee’s bridesmaids; a jilted lover both dreading and anxiously awaiting seeing her ex at the wedding; a casting director whose day job facilitates many a fantasy of who will play her part in the movie of her life; a nervous wreck who chips all her nail polish off just moments before walking down the aisle, a trek aided by three seemingly harmless white pills provided by Bee’s matron of honor, Dawn (a true Southern belle and beauty pageant coach).
There’s Rob: Bee’s one-time college crush and Hannah’s friend with benefits; a college dropout generally fumbling through life; a bachelor who relies on his epileptic dog to keep women and the possibility of relationships at arm’s length; an invited wedding guest who RSVP’d “yes” only to bail at the last minute.
There’s Vicki: a college friend of Bee’s; she travels with a seasonal affective disorder lamp camouflaged in a guitar case; her wedding attire is more funereal than celebratory ~ a black, shapeless dress with dreary black stockings; her plans for surviving the wedding include a tattered copy of a V.C. Andrews romance novel stuffed in her purse and an illicit mid-reception rendezvous with the brother of the groom.
There’s Joe: Bee’s beloved uncle; the black sheep of the family living in Sin City; a restaurant supplier seeking a former one-night stand ~ the woman he met only once yet wonders if she was the one that got away; despite having a girlfriend back home, he seeks out the companionship of one of Bee’s friends, Vicki (she shares a name and similar features with his one-night stand, “Reno Vicki”).
There’s Phil: the wedding guest who knows neither groom nor bride; a loving son who agrees to attend the wedding in his mother’s stead when she falls ill just a few days prior to the nuptials; a security manager for the ball field ~ a job he loves but wonders if he’s outgrown; calls from his bookie go unanswered during the ceremony and reception as he seeks out a TV to see the score ~ an ill-fated bet he blames on his ex-girlfriend’s re-entry into the dating world.
If you’re thinking, “Gee, they sound pretty dysfunctional,” you’d be right. But that’s exactly what makes Goldstein’s single characters’ stories so brilliant, witty and at times, heartbreaking. This is not your average “wedding romance” novel, and thank goodness for that! The Singles just came out in paperback and digital versions, so be sure to pick up a copy.
About the Author: Meredith Goldstein is an advice columnist and entertainment reporter for the Boston Globe. In addition to “Love Letters,” the most popular blog in Boston next to the Red Sox blog, she co-writes the paper’s society column, “Names.” She lives in Boston.