Thursday, November 20, 2008

"Father of the Bride" Finds a Fan

Perhaps not since the last time I re-read Thurber, Lardner or my Pogo cartoon books have I had as much comic delight as during the couple of hours I spent with Edward Streeter's Father of the Bride.

Having never married off a daughter or even having a wedding myself (Claire and I were married by a judge in a courthouse, long since torn down -- the courthouse, not the marriage), one might think I wouldn't get the charge out of the short novel that others might. That could be true. But though Father of the Bride is a charming and yet rather profound look at the costly, confusing carnival that is the American wedding, it also gives sharp, humorous insights into family relationships, young love, American consumerism, the meaning of neighborhood, liquor consumption and more.

Father of the Bride is, in the opinion of almost anyone in the know, a genuine American American classic. That means, among other things: 1) it was a huge bestseller in its time, 2) it is memorable to all who have read it (even for school!), 3) it's been made into a movie (in this case, twice - very important to Americans), and 4) you'll have a dickens of a time finding it in your local library! It's apparently been culled to make way for the Harry Potter books, the BBC videos and whatever New Age schlock Oprah is promoting this month.

So, here's to Edward Streeter and his mirthful masterpiece. It can indeed be found and I recommend it to anyone who wants a few laughs...and especially to anyone who is planning anytime soon to be in, to attend or to pay for a wedding. Father of the Bride will certainly help fortify you for the experience.