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Otherwise Engaged
 
by
Suzanne Finnamore
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Otherwise Engaged

3.03 of 5 stars 3.03  ·  rating details  ·  763 ratings  ·  105 reviews
Otherwise Engaged is Suzanne Finnamore's wickedly funny account of an intelligent, rational woman's transformation into the harpy of anxieties that is the bride-to-be.

When Michael pops the question, Eve is deliriously happy. She tells grocery clerks. She subscribes to bridal magazines. She delights in the rainbows that shower from the one-carat (okay, .81-carat) ring on h...more
ebook, 224 pages
Published January 12th 2011 by Vintage (first published 1999)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 1,200)
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Andrea
I purchased this book two years ago when I was engaged. I am embarrassed to say that I bought it because of the title. Ya know, when you're engaged and planning a wedding, you become OBSESSED with anything wedding. LOL

This book was an easy read, but it wasn't very interesting and I had a hard time staying focused. It was supposed to be funny, but I didn't find it very funny. I only made myself finish reading it because I kept pushing myself along, hoping the book would get better. I wanted to ju...more
Kate
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
NATUI
Nov 19, 2011 NATUI rated it 2 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Vapid Sorority Girls
Shelves: swap
This book was bad for me. If you are a dramatic OH MY GOD I am about to do something a GROWN-UP would do kind of person, you'll probably like it. I hate that dramatic girlie shit, and that's what this entire book is. Oh my GOD! We had a fight!! Oh my GOD!! I want to eat in the kitchen and he wants to eat in the dining room!! Oh my GOD!! I have to read a bridal magazine!!

Yuck.

I wouldn't have bothered to keep reading it except it was the only thing in my gym bag, and once I start a book I really...more
Jenn
This is a low-key but surprisingly witty account of the months leading up to the main character's wedding. Riding the roller coaster of one woman's doubts, fears, and hopes as her wedding approaches was enjoyable. The writing style is intelligent and sometimes understated, which only adds irony and humor to some of the hysterical moments in which the main character finds herself.

Quotes like, "They say swans mate for life. I wish they could talk. I have questions.", or "Suddenly, it's not just a...more
Kate Doran
This book started off slow for me and I almost put it down because it seemed amateur, and it indeed is this author's first book. It did get more interesting as I went along but the author wasn't very descriptive and the story didn't draw me in emotionally. I spent most of the book just trying to "figure out" the main character, but I never felt an emotional connection to either her or her fiance. The sentences in the book were short. The chapters were short. I was craving more details of their a...more
M
Dust-jacket reviews describe the protagonist's life as "miserable"--if so, it's largely self-induced. She's vapid and self-absorbed, but still likeable, someone to whom I could relate. It does read as autobiographical. (Admittedly, this is how I tend to interpret fiction.)

Also, it's funny. Actually, I found it hilarious in parts. I do remember laughing a good deal. From the reviews posted, it looks as if I'm in the minority on that score.

And, if you do care, there is a Part 2: the author's divor...more
Blythe
This is a smart, real, slightly dark story. I fear that it's been labeled "chick lit" (apparently the fate of any book about male/female relationships written by a woman under the age of fifty), and while I enjoy a frothy dating story as much as the next gal (that's what I'm called when I read chick lit), this hit me in a deeper place. Finnamore's writing is detailed and funny but never indulgent. I wanted to write down her clever descriptions for future reference (like when she said her cat res...more
Nicole Palumbo Davies
I thought it would be fun to read this book while I am engaged. I figured I would be able to relate to Eve, the narrator, but I hope to never be able to relate to this bride-to-be. She is depressed, angsty, and not sure why she is getting married. And with the stream of thought writing, it was hard to care about Eve (or follow what she was talking about), even when she was being serious about her sad childhood or her sick friend.
Ginnie Leiner
First off, let me say, Bree Larkin, this is not the book for you. I know I promised to pass it on to you after I finished it but it is not for you. You are not this cynical, this commitment phobic, this messed up in your own head and this unsure about who you are and what you are worth. Dear God in Heaven, has a large segment of this American population gone over the cliff like so many lemmings?

That being said, I enjoyed the wry humor of this book, the story of a 36 soon to be 37 year old newly...more
Amy
One of my favorite books of all time. Snarky, but a realistic portrayal of what many women feel when they get engaged. I love that it's humorous and yet touching at the same time. If I could give it 10 stars, I would.
Natalie
I couldn't force myself through this. I used to be very determined when it came to books -- if I started it, I made myself stick with it, even when it ceased being enjoyable (or rather, became a real chore to read). I just can't do that anymore. Initially, I was drawn to this book because I had become engaged, and I thought, "Well this sounds cute, maybe some of my concerns, frustrations, and joys will be echoed in these pages." Some of them were, but not very well. Usually, I found that I could...more
Teresa
Fluff. Probably wouldn't even have read it if it hadn't been left in teh book swap. Some funny bits, but not enough to justify either recommending it or reading more of the author's stuff.
Celia Powell
Another book by Finnamore - this one is her first novel, I think, written before The Zygote Chronicles, which I read first. I probably enjoyed this a little less than The Zygote Chronicles - I found it hard to relate to the neurotic bride, who is getting married late in life to a man who's already been divorced. She writes (in Finnamore's slightly stream of consciousness way) about her wedding nerves, the process of planning, and her feelings as her other friends' relationships go on around her...more
Ellen Puccinelli
In my opinion, Suzanne Finnamore is the most underrated and overlooked author currently writing. Every sentence she writes is perfection. She is the master of the detail, and she respects that an improperly placed or overly precious specific can destroy what would have been a perfectly respectable sentence. I have never read a phrase by this writer that I would have changed one word of. She has three books in print, and they are all outstanding -- the subject matter is actually incidental to her...more
Melissa
Could have been good. So many parts distracted from the real story, not very original.
Brenda Margriet
A young widow with a deaf son inherits a house that a billionaire wants to buy. He's a cute, friendly guy, of course, and had been taken for a ride by a woman a couple of years ago. He gets voted something like "most sexiest man" and says he's engaged to get the press off him, but then they end up have a pretend engagement, etc. etc.

Like the hero, and the relationship he had with the deaf son. The house was kind of a red herring...thought it was going to be more part of the plot, but no. Liked h...more
Jess
I was expecting to love this book because people whose opinions I respect greatly also seemed to love it. But I didn't. I guess I thought I would relate to it a lot more than I did, because I'm engaged and it's about an engaged woman. But I was annoyed by the main character, and didn't get her at all. And I kept looking at the reviews on the back about how hilarious the book was, and wondering what it was that I wasn't getting. It just didn't seem funny to me at all. Still, it's a good concept a...more
Anita Smith
This book was weird. Like, really, really weird. There was no plot at all. It was more like the ramblings of a neurotic bride-to-be who got engaged via ultimatum (you know, the best way to start a marriage), and then immediately starts to apparently loathe and fear the idea of marriage, the wedding, etc. It just kind of rambled. A lot. But the thing is, I loved the writer's sense of humor and I liked her writing. So I'd actually give another book of hers a try. However, I found this disappointin...more
Sarah
May 02, 2008 Sarah rated it 1 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: No one
Recommended to Sarah by: Entertainment Weekly
I read about this book's sequel in Entertainment Weekly and thought I'd give the author's other books a try. I was sorely disappointed. I was expecting something light and quirky, which the plot and characters are, but the writing style was not my cup of tea. It was very choppy and stream of consciousness. I ended up quitting half way through because every time I read it I got a headache. Sadly, I think I would have enjoyed the author's humor and book if it hadn't been for her distracting writin...more
Jennifer
I went online to read some Amazon reviews, because I actually thought maybe I'd read the wrong book by accident after hearing glowing reviews about Otherwise Engaged. Nope -- apparently I just in the minority. Publisher's Weekly claims that "starting where Bridget Jones's Diary and Animal Husbandry left off, Finnamore's debut novel humorously chronicles one woman's life of limbo, now that she's achieved an engagement ring." I wouldn't so much call it humorous as I would call it depressing and aw...more
Heather
Apr 08, 2008 Heather added it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: anyone who thinks getting engaged turns your life into a magical fairyland
took me about three hours of serious couch time to read this book, including a trip to the chili's take-out window (hey, sometimes you just need some jalapeño cheese fries).

good writing. good humor. not really a chick-lit-obviously-funny kind of book. i believe this was the author's first novel, and while it is fiction, it appears she pulled in a bit of her own experience.

i'm looking forward to reading her next book, a little non-fiction ditty entitled "split: a memoir of divorce."
Meaghan
eh. the writing style was weird to me and i didnt feel like the conflict of the stiry was really resolved in the end...
Catherine
This book had me baffled. First of all, it had a few funny parts, but was not "hilarious" as the reviews say. I didn't find is similar to Bridget Jones at all except that it was in a journal/diary format. It was about her feelings (the author/main character), very little action or dialogue, which was fine. But, sometimes I felt she was too much of a downer. I think I would have liked it better if I knew what to expect. I really wanted an upbeat, funny read about being engaged.
Stefany
Rather depressing. It's about everything a 36 year old woman goes through when planning and preparing for her wedding. The whole time she second guesses herself, her future marriage and fiance.
When she was just dating she desperately wanted to get married, and then when she was engaged all she did was whine and worry about it. I wanted to scream at her, "WHY ARE YOU EVEN GETTING MARRIED THEN?!" Typical grass is always greener on the other side type of person. She just annoyed me.
Kristen Lindsey
I have stubbornly resisted reading chick lit for some dumb, unknown reason, but this was sitting in the condo we stayed while on vacation and I had run out of reading. Soon, my husband was getting irritated at my continuous outbursts of laughter.

Anyone who had worked in and ad agency would get a huge kick out of some of the description of ad agency culture in this book. And if you are into paranoid stressing about the milestone of marriage, this is for you, too.
Lynn
Funny! Very funny. Great concept - she has only a certain number of valium left leading up to her wedding day. She weighs each stressful situation she encounters as valium-worthy or not. Here's a weird fact: this is the only book I've ever read twice. The imagery is wonderful. She coins a phrase that I can't believe never caught on: fuck-us groups for focus groups. I hate to say "this book is a real gem" but, this book IS a real gem.
Courtney
I expected this book to be completely different and that made for a difficult reading experience. I thought this would have more of a chick-lit attitude about a woman getting married. Instead, it was the picture of a slightly depressed woman who had no idea if she should be getting married. The story felt very heavy and I found no joy in reading it. The writing was fine, but I guess I just wanted to read a different story.
Micaela
I stopped reading this book on page 111, so I gave it a fair go. But I hated this book so much that I could barely stand it. The main character is such an insipid, drama queen that if I knew her in real life, I wouldn't want to be her friend, let alone married to the dumb bitch. UGH. Save yourself from a dreadful character who thinks she is funny and awesome, but in reality is just pathetic, lame, and sad.
Robin
So I was unaware this was a cheesy romance novel and despite how excruciating it was at times I still finished it. I just can't stand those illogical romances that have this rich but distant guy who suddenly turns everything around for this one woman. Please. I'm a romantic but I like real romance, not this stuff.

ps. Any book that uses the term "seed" with getting a woman pregnant makes me want to vomit.
Catherine
I read this essay by Suzanne Finnamore in the New York Times months ago:
http://www.nytimes.com/2008/04/06/fas...
and vowed to seek out her novels because her style so appealed to me. I'm glad I finally re-instated my library card and got on that, because Otherwise Engaged really was everything I hoped it would be. I liked it a lot, that is all.
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“The swans are unnaturally beautiful. They mate for life.
I wish they could talk. I have questions.”
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“We never remember what is important, only what matters to us” 4 likes
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