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Otherwise Engaged

3.03  ·  Rating details ·  955 ratings  ·  126 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
Paperback, 213 pages
Published May 9th 2000 by Vintage (first published 1999)
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Average rating 3.03  · 
Rating details
 ·  955 ratings  ·  126 reviews

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Jul 29, 2007 rated it did not like it
Shelves: chicklit
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
Jan 25, 2009 rated it it was amazing
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.
Jan 20, 2018 rated it liked it
At 3.5 stars, "Otherwise Engaged" was very clever, cutting, and thought-provoking, but at no point did it ever hook me. Perhaps because it was told through short, keen observations and anecdotes, the story didn't contain so much plot as a collection of the narrator, Eve's, anxieties about marriage, which she sets about achieving with as much cunning and ruthlessness as a the Pequod chasing Moby Dick. She is determined, she is confused, yet she relentlessly pursues her goal even when it sickens h ...more
Apr 23, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I seldom reread books, but this one makes me laugh out loud while touching on real things that no one wants to talk about. I love this one.
Nov 28, 2010 rated it it was ok
Shelves: own, fiction
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jul 06, 2008 rated it liked it
Shelves: memoirs
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
Nov 19, 2011 rated it it was ok
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!!


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
Mar 25, 2019 rated it did not like it
A coworker left this book on the counter on a day when I'd forgotten to bring my own book to read. The description sounded like a comical interpretation of an anxiety-ridden bride-to-be, so I was imagining all sorts of wedding-preparation shenanigans.

Instead I got the story of a manipulative woman (who essentially bullied her fiance into proposing, and then "settled" for a $7k ring she wanted by asking for a $20k ring first!) and all of the psychological issues that brought her to this place. It
Kate Doran
Jul 30, 2011 rated it it was ok
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
Jan 11, 2011 rated it liked it
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
Ellen Puccinelli
Sep 30, 2008 rated it it was amazing
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
May 02, 2008 rated it really liked it
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.
Cat Gray
Dec 28, 2019 rated it it was ok
Shelves: read-in-2019
I just didn’t enjoy this. The main character Eve is so unlikeable that I had a difficult time attempting to figure out why anyone would want to spend any time with her at all, let alone marry her. Several times I stopped but then just decided to keep going in case it improved.

It didn’t.

Devin Dobran
May 26, 2017 rated it liked it
It definitely is a different way of thinking about life. You see her struggle through deciding to get married and then not get married and it's interesting to see the decisions that she makes
Barbara Cryer
Jul 22, 2018 rated it liked it
Very quick read. I identified with many of the feelings of this son to be married. Good sympathetic character.
Feb 17, 2019 rated it it was ok
Only gets two stars because of the poignant death scene.
Aug 07, 2019 rated it it was amazing
allegedly fiction book about her engagement. starts off a bit stiff, but got just as warm and intimate and funny as the zygote chronicles.
Ginnie Leiner
Jan 18, 2014 rated it really liked it
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
Apr 15, 2013 rated it did not like it
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
Apr 08, 2016 rated it did not like it
The concept behind the book was cute. Best friends are both stuck in a rut in their respective lives, one in NYC and another in a quaint Arizona town, so they decide to switch places for six months and shake things up. However I felt that the writing was poor. Writing chick lit shouldn't be rocket science. Just make it funny and lighthearted and silly and you're good to go. But Goudge tried to use eloquent prose and metaphors at times that just seemed out of place. Then instead of keeping the st ...more
Jul 06, 2016 rated it really liked it
To start let me warn readers that if you are looking for a fluffy rom com this is not it. Suzanne Finnamore creates a very realistic journey of a bride-to-be. There is nothing in this book that somebody would call wedding bliss, but instead warns brides about the real stress that comes with planning a wedding.
I am currently planning a wedding myself and I found that I recognized so much of myself in the character.
The character development was absolutely amazing and quite unique. You got to kno
Apr 15, 2008 rated it liked it
Recommended to Celia by: Jonna Rubin
Shelves: general-fiction
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
Mary Kay
Apr 25, 2016 rated it liked it
I have wanted to read this book since it came out in 1999, and now that I am finally engaged myself, I finally read it. There are moments in this book that are laugh-out-loud funny, and nuggets of truth and wisdom peppered throughout the story, but the overall sensibility of the book is rather cynical. As the protagonist progresses through her engagement to her wedding, she struggles with feelings of doubt and anxiety about losing her identity as a single woman and committing herself to one man ...more
May 02, 2008 rated it did not like it
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
May 13, 2008 rated it liked it
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
Jan 15, 2009 rated it did not like it
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
Apr 11, 2011 rated it did not like it
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
Brenda Margriet
Mar 03, 2012 rated it liked it
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
Jul 16, 2015 rated it it was ok
1.5 stars, rounded up only because I actually finished it instead of abandoning it the way I wanted to all the way through.

A review I read in a magazine described it as funny and witty. There's definitely some snark in it, which is amusing, but none of the main characters were particularly likeable. I wouldn't marry either of them, and I'd put the odds on divorce high.

Do people really angst that much during an engagement? I never had a need to beauties just for the sake of marriage, and I woul
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