Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Fat Girls Need Love Too

It would be easy to label Bride Of The Living Dead by Lynne Murray as "chick lit," because on the surface, that's exactly what it is. Single girl in the city, with quirky sense of humor, sarcastic sensibility, and wacky characters surrounding her, finds her Prince Charming. But that's just on the surface. Dig deeper and readers will discover some very outside-the-box elements in this small press release.

Daria MacClellan is an indie film critic living in San Francisco. She adores cheesy monster movies (Roger Corman is a god!), lives in tiny converted garage apartment, and is The Fat Girl. Daria has always been The Fat Girl. But she doesn't dwell on it, and this book isn't spent chronicling her battle of the bulge. No, this book is about Daria falling in love Oscar. Oscar is smitten, the courtship is whirlwind, a marriage proposal ensues. You know what that means? Yep, a wedding. And in a moment of insanity, her parents convince Daria to let her anorexic (seriously, she is) sister whose life has imploded help plan it. The question is - will Daria survive her sister's Type A personality, her past relationship disasters, Oscar's past relationship disasters, and both their families in order to actually make it down the aisle to say "I Do?"

Readers going into this story expecting a traditional romance novel are likely going to be disappointed. The courtship-falling-in-love details are really glossed over. That's not really what this story is about. No, this story is more about getting through all the stuff that encompasses a wedding without losing your sanity - or sight of the fact that you want to have that wedding for the reason that you "love the guy." On that score, this book is pure chick lit. It's not so much about the romance, it's about the heroine surviving life long enough to get her happy ending.

Where the author veers off the cliche track is with her heroine. I loved that Daria's whole existence wasn't wrapped around The Fat Girl trope. This girl has a life. She's funny, she's quirky, she has ex-boyfriends, she's had sex (!) ::gasp::, and she has friends. Certainly her weight is discussed over the course of this story - but Daria doesn't dwell on it, doesn't harp on it, and doesn't spend the whole novel dissolving into tears, wailing about how "fat" she is. She's too busy trying to survive the drama of wedding planning.

Another thing I really appreciated was Daria's relationship with her anorexic sister, Sky. It would have been so easy for the author to write Sky as a harpy, and have the sisters constantly bickering. And while their relationship is, at times, strained, underneath it all I never doubted that they cared about each other. Sky's life is a mess, and she can be cruel, but she's also not The Villain. It felt like a very real sisterly relationship.

The one part of this story that didn't always gel for me was the appearance of a couple of exes (one of Oscar's, one of Daria's). On the bright side though, these two characters play minor roles in the story, and are mostly relegated to the final chapters. What does work is the breezy, chatty first-person narration, and the unique heroine. If you're a fan of the chick-lit, enjoy first person narration, and are looking for a funny, smart heroine who gets the guy, and isn't a Size 2...this is your book.

Final Grade = B

Pearlsong is a small press. You can purchase Bride Of The Living Dead at Amazon (print and Kindle), B&N (looks like only print), at AllRomanceEbooks , or at the publisher's web site (print & ebook).


Lil Sis said...

Hmm, is it similar to "A Size 12 is Not Fat?" I liked that series...might have to check this book out since I'm #66(!) for the next Harris novel!! :(

Kwana said...

Thanks for the review. This sounds fantastic.

JamiSings said...

I don't know, as a fat girl I want to see whining, bitching, and moaning. I want a heroine as hurt as I am IRL. Someone who's had food thrown at her while the throwers moo and/or oink.

I really, just once, would like to see an author brave enough to write The Big Fat Girl Melt Down where she just cries and screams out all her pain and rage. I've never gotten that.

Course it doesn't help that they're never bigger then a size 16! As a 22 who prefers to wear a 26 I'd KILL to be a 16!

Then again, anything's got to be better then what I've been reading lately. (Three FABIO romance novels in a row - they were all ILLS so I wanted to get them out of the way ASAP. Right now taking a break from Fabio with a nice Hamish MacBeth series mystery.)

But seriously, has no one ever written the Major Massive Meltdown for a fat girl yet? I've seen it for skinny girls, but never the fat ones.

And why do the fatties always have sisters? Never an only child or brothers?

Sharon said...

it also sounds vaguely like the Gerry Bartlet Real Vampires Have Curves. I enjoy that and the Heather Wells series that was already mentioned. I'm going to have to get my hands on this book.

Thank you for reviewing it.

Wendy said...

Lil' Sis: Honestly, couldn't tell ya, since I haven't read the Cabot series. Basically this is pretty much straight-up chick lit with a fat girl at the center. I can hook ya up. It'll be a good read for you in between taking care of the baby. Short chapters :)

Kwana: You are most welcome!

Jami: What I hate are heroines who are 5'10", wear a size 10 and the author says they're "fat." Uh, no. Not even on the Planet Zoltan is such a person "fat."

The author never comes out and "tells" the reader how big the heroine is here, but I definitely got the impression it was bigger than a size 16.

Sharon: Definitely a book worth looking up for those readers looking for a heroine who isn't rail thin. Well, that and those of us who enjoy a good sacarastic heroine :)

Tracy said...

Sounds pretty darned good! I love hearing about what happens after they fall in love because you KNOW in real life it's never easy peasy.

Lynne Murray said...

Lynne here! Thanks to my favorite Super Librarian (all librarians are heroines and heroes, but only a few are Superheroes!) for reviewing Bride of the Living Dead!

All the comments are encouraging, thanks! But JamiSings, I'm seriously going to consider a Big Fat Girl Meltdown for a future book. I did have a few Fat Women Tell It Like It Is episodes in my Josephine Fuller, sleuth of size series, but this Major Massive Meltdown idea is quite intriguing! Thanks!

Lisa R said...

okay--so this book's not about zombies? I know I'm missing something here but the title doesn't scream chick lit or romance to me.

Wendy said...

Lisa: The title is more of a reflection of the heroine's love of old monster movies. Also, that the wedding planning starts to take over her whole life....as weddings have been known to do :)