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Love Bomb

3.15  ·  Rating details ·  513 ratings  ·  106 reviews
An inventive, mordantly funny novel about love, marriage, stalkers, and the indignities of parenthood

In quaint Haddonfield, New Jersey, Tess is about to marry Gabe in her childhood home. Her mother, Helen, is in a panic about the guests, who include warring exes, crying babies, jealous girlfriends, and too many psychiatrists. But the most difficult guest was ne
Hardcover, 272 pages
Published September 4th 2012 by Sarah Crichton Books
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Average rating 3.15  · 
Rating details
 ·  513 ratings  ·  106 reviews

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Shelleyrae at Book'd Out
When an intimate suburban wedding is interrupted by an armed woman wearing a gas mask, wedding gown and steel toed boots, the guests assume it is a joke. Only as the woman confiscates their mobile phones and explains the back door is wired with explosives does the reality of the surreal situation set in. The terrorist has a single demand, she wants a simple, heartfelt apology from 'one particular piece of shit', but no one in the crowd knows who that may be. In an effort to placate her a handful of gu ...more
Feb 05, 2013 rated it liked it
Amusing comic novel about a terrorist at a wedding. She storms up the aisle in a wedding dress with a bomb and takes all the wedding guests hostage. The guests are largely comprised of psychologists and psychiatrists, which makes up a lot of the book's humor (as they all try to deconstruct the terrorist's reasons for doing this. Did she have a troubled relationship with her father? etc. They fight over who gets the right to try to talk her down).

It was amusing but not laugh-out-loud
Aaron Cooley
Feb 17, 2013 rated it liked it
A masked terrorist takes a wedding hostage in Lisa Zeidner's LOVE BOMB. Zeidner wisely doesn't keep us trapped in the home in which the wedding's taking place, expanding on the themes of such a celebration (as well as the terrorist's soon-to-be-revealed motives) to flashback to many of her characters' romantic histories. It is in these vignettes that her sharp-tongued wit and finely-tuned relationship sense really shines; these devices keep the story moving and in my opinion, set LOVE BOMB a cut ...more
Oct 31, 2012 rated it really liked it
Overall I would say this was a very entertaining and well written book.
For those of you that haven't read the book, I want to make you aware that if you go to the very back of the book, you will find a guest list that I feel would have been extremely helpful to have at the beginning of the book - whose idea was it to put this at the end??! Several times while reading the book I wished that I had some kind of who's who to keep track of the stories of the cast of characters.
With that s
Oct 04, 2012 rated it really liked it
Quick,zany read about a woman who takes a house full of wedding guests hostage. The setup of a large group of diverse wedding attendees is a great device for creating a slew of interesting, overlapping and dysfunctional characters, mixed with just enough action to keep the story moving. The background stories on the characters cover the gamut of themes: marriage, divorce, race, aging, parenting and more. Sounds depressing, but it is actually a cheerful, upbeat book, presenting these things as th ...more
Jul 09, 2013 rated it liked it
This book was just OK. I'm not sure what I was expecting, and it wasn't bad for what it was, but ultimately it's not the kind of book I would choose to read. I can't even remember how it ended up on my "to-read" pile in the first place. There wasn't the kind of tension and lack of predictability that makes a book like Gone Girl so compelling, and because there were so many characters, you don't feel like you had that much insight into any of their heads. In fact, the ones you learn the most about, s ...more
Jan 19, 2013 rated it really liked it
This was one of those "can't turn out the light" books. It often felt like a guilty pleasure because especially in wake of recent events regarding shootings it can make one squirm a bit. But for the most part it's so clever, especially in its send-up of psychiatrists that it's impossible not to smile. I enjoyed the Inside/Outside format of the plot and the way that it went into so many heads. The annoying folks were meant to be annoying and the truly good, meant to be so. This is a case where th ...more
Feb 07, 2013 rated it it was ok
Starting with a terrific, offbeat premise worthy of Christopher Moore -- the amusing interruption of a home wedding by a bridal gown-dressed, fully armed woman -- the novel devolves into a series of lengthy backgrounders on several of the guests and the hostage taker herself. The quick pace of the setup is so much fun and full of social satire promise, it's really disappointing to watch the book slow to a crawl that never gets back up to speed. Though sprinkled with some genuinely witty and insi ...more
Pam Jenoff
Dec 20, 2016 rated it it was amazing
I loved this humorous and thoughtful story of a wedding in Haddonfield that is hijacked by a woman in a wedding dress wielding a shotgun and a bomb trigger. Original and surprising!
James (JD) Dittes
Oct 28, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: marriage, 2019
A fun light read that offers its own clever insights on relationships--and marriage--when a terrorist in a bridal gown and a gas mask takes over a backyard wedding and takes the guests hostage.
Laura Langworthy
Oct 26, 2016 rated it really liked it
Such a cute book! I loved the characters and the protagonist; it definitely kept me intrigued and was hilarious!
Michele Weiner
Dec 11, 2012 rated it really liked it
As a Jersey girl, (but from the central Jersey shore, not South Jersey which is a different world altogether) I enjoyed this satire of life in Haddonfield. The story is totally improbable. It's like Agatha Christie setting up a murder in an isolated country house, only nobody gets murdered. Oops, belated spoiler alert.

Helen is a PhD and a successful, though sometimes unorthodox, therapist. She is the reluctant hostess for the simple, small, homel wedding of her daughter, Tess and her colleague
Jul 21, 2013 rated it it was amazing
“Nothing made you understand mortality better than a photograph of a dead woman with a little lipstick on.”

Lisa Zeidner’s writing is dead on. A lesser story jumps through the hoops of polite company, while Love Bomb blows polite company to smithereens. Set in Haddonfield, NJ, an incubator for the inbred, white bread kind of thinking you’ll find in more than one snobby, suburban town: an indoor, interracial wedding is about to be witnessed by a room full of cranky, Jewish physicians a
Jan 10, 2013 rated it it was amazing
First time reading this author. Serendipity! She has an amazing vocabulary and uses it in marvelous ways loaded with meaning!

The setup is this suburban New Jersey wedding party at home with a cast of iconoclastic characters which is taken hostage by a woman dressed as a bride in a terrorist outfit. The central character is Helen, the woman of the house and a professional psychologist, who has a profound insight into all of the people at the gathering. It makes marvelous reading. Hele
Nancy Groves
Jan 14, 2015 rated it really liked it
The main reason I chose to read this book was that the author's name starts with Z. I have an annual goal of reading at least one book by authors whose names start with every letter of the alphabet. I didn't manage a Z last year, so I decided to read one early this year. This book already happened to be on my very lengthy to-read list, and was available in the library, so I dove in. It turned out to be a very good book. The opening line is "The bride did not wear white. But the terrorist did." F ...more
Feb 22, 2013 rated it really liked it
A very amusing and well written book. The first two sections are priceless! A very complicated family and diverse group of friends gather for wedding in a NJ house. The wedding is taken over by a woman HT (hostage taker) dressed as a bride with a gas mask and sunglasses, guns and a bomb. The HT wants the guests apologize, not clear for what... And so we start to get to know the guests' back-stories as they start apologizing. :) This does not go on too long, it turns out that the HT has a complet ...more
Mar 25, 2014 rated it liked it
I'm actually still not totally sure what to think about this book. It's a good read and well written despite it's impossible premise. The constant reference to race was an odd addition from the narrators perspective and I'm not sure why the guest list was at the end of the book rather than the beginning, but it's definitely a unique idea. I was also a little put off on the discussion around the word feminist and how that was supposed to play into the larger story.

The book was well written in de
Alex Templeton
Nov 09, 2012 rated it liked it
In the opening chapters of this book, a terrorist dressed as a bride storms into a wedding being held in the living room of the mother of the (real) bride. The many psychiatrists in attendance (including the father of the real bride) try to analyze just what this woman wants and who she might want "to apologize" in order to let the hostages go. This was a fun read, but I feel that the ending didn't live up to the beginning. I guess the resolution to the hostage situation and the hostage taker's ...more
Jun 27, 2014 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
This was a well-researched book that included a great range of cultures, microcosms, relationships and professions. There were some highlights - the back stories were all well-done and shed light into some of the most important characters' lives. However, some of them seemed to be unnecessary, and the voices jumped around so much that it felt a bit incongruous and left me feeling a bit detached. I also wanted to know more about the bride and groom, but they seemed to be bit players in this story ...more
Jun 08, 2015 rated it liked it
This was one of the books I was really excited to read and had really mixed reactions too. When I first started with it, I kind of absolutelyyy hated it. It seemed like a hot mess. Way too many people, too much going on, and just boring. I couldn't find myself really getting into it and just wanted it to be over with. Then, as if things couldn't get any worse, unnecessary animal violence !! Ugh.

Then, seemingly out of nowhere, I started getting more into it. It picked up. Just poof. O
Matthew Blasi
Sep 16, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Zeidner's novels never disappoint, and Love Bomb is no exception. For the cover price you get something worthy of attention and accolade, not to mention a fun story that delves in considerable depth into the human condition. This is a book about love, revenge, loss, and comeuppance. It's also a book about disparity along both gender and economic lines, about the strange pull of the moral compass when subjected to nastiness and heartbreak. Our main character, the terrorist bride, is a rarity in f ...more
Kim Justice
Sep 26, 2012 rated it liked it
Shelves: reviewed
My Review:
Well lets see where to begin with this review. I start with saying it made me laugh.

Author Lisa Zeidner's creative writing in this book makes you look at subdivisions in just a little different light. As one who has and does live in one, it has made me kinda wonder about who is really living around me.

I am not going to go into much about this book. I liked it, finished it, but not much else. Maybe it was or could be just a little to life like. But the wedding quest list to kidnapper
Jennifer D. Munro
Mar 29, 2013 rated it it was amazing
The most original “ensemble piece” I’ve perhaps ever read. The cast of characters isn’t united by a quilt or a cooking school, but by a terrorist in a wedding dress, a gas mask, and clown socks. The book does take a bit of “work” up front to keep the characters straight (the guest list at the back of the book proved helpful and would have been better placed at the front of the book, because it took me a while to figure out the list was back there), but settling in with the large cast was well wo ...more
Marguarite Markley
Nov 26, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: adult-fiction
Tess and Gabe are about to be married in a quiet little ceremony at Tess's childhood home. When a bride shows up (not Tess) wearing a knee length gown, white combat boots with lace, a gas mask, carrying a sawed-off shotgun on her hip and a rifle in her hand, all the guests believe it is a performance for their entertainment. Soon, however, they find out this is not the case. They are being held hostage by a derranged woman and spend the next several hours trying to figure out why she has taken t ...more
Justine Philyaw
Sep 16, 2012 rated it liked it
I have tremendous respect for the work Zeidner has done at Rutgers-Camden, so I was excited to read her work. Love Bomb was entertaining but fell a little flat. I enjoyed the Haddonfield setting and the premise of the novel. I am confused by the time spent giving lots of background on the many wedding guests/characters. It was clever, fascinating material, but most of it wasn't relevant to the plot. The mother of the (real) bride was a fantastic character and the most developed. The ending was a ...more
Lyndsay MacDonald
Nov 17, 2014 rated it it was ok
Well, what can I say? Not my style at all. The first half of this book was brutal, it took me several days to trudge through it... I just couldn't get into it, and the flip-flopping back and forth from different people's viewpoints at different points in time was a bit confusing (and unnecessary). Last night I committed to finishing the entire second half in a sitting, which I did, and I have to say the latter half was much better than the first part. I might have actually enjoyed it if the auth ...more
Cindy Roesel
Nov 29, 2012 rated it liked it
It took me longer than usual to finish this novel. I believe it was because the storyline was uneven and there were so MANY characters. Readers were provided with a list of characters at the end. I probably should have looked at that a little closer, before delving in. Miss Zeider had me laughing aloud many times. She's an incredibly gifted satirist. I haven't read her before, but I will look up more of her work in the future. Just the opening scene of the "terrorist" in a wedding gown and all t ...more
Sara Jane
Sep 16, 2012 rated it liked it
This book was light, amusing, well-paced throughout. It's not exactly a groundbreaking piece of literature, but it was a nice entertaining read. The characters were endearing and the premise was the right mixture of absurd & plausible. There were a lot of characters and it did get tough to keep them all straight, and it was more effort than it should have been for a book of this size for me to keep on top of the characters, which is really my only criticism. Otherwise, it was solid summer re ...more
Jun 17, 2013 rated it it was ok
If you want to read a well-written novel about a hostage situation, read "Bel Canto" by Ann Patchett.

Don't bother with "Love Bomb", unless you want to learn about all the research the author has done on hostage negotiations, psychology and SWAT teams. It's about as subtle a nut job wearing a gas mask and wedding gown. The biggest bummer is the ending, which is so "so what" you want to bomb the book itself.
Moira Crone
May 13, 2013 rated it it was ok
Marvelous. Though this book appears to be a comic, domestic thriller about a hostage situation, it is really something much more: a brilliant de-construction of what psychiatry does and mostly doesn't do, and how the human heart and human motivations are far more complex and mysterious than any pat theory or any easy pill. Zeidner's ability to create believable characters with fascinating complexities is on full display here. Virtuoso, funny, sad, human, and completely compelling. Brava.
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Lisa Zeidner has published five novels, including the critically acclaimed Layover, and two books of poems. Her stories, reviews, and essays have appeared in The New York Times, Slate, GQ,
Tin House
, and elsewhere. She directs the M.F.A. program in creative writing at Rutgers University in Camden, New Jersey.
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