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The People We Hate at the Wedding

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The People We Hate at the Wedding is now a major motion picture starring Kristen Bell, Allison Janney and Ben Platt!

Relationships are awful. They'll kill you, right up to the point where they start saving your life.

Paul and Alice’s half-sister Eloise is getting married! In London! There will be fancy hotels, dinners at “it” restaurants and a reception at a country estate complete with tea lights and embroidered cloth napkins.
They couldn’t hate it more.

The People We Hate at the Wedding is the story of a less than perfect family. Donna, the clan’s mother, is now a widow living in the Chicago suburbs with a penchant for the occasional joint and more than one glass of wine with her best friend while watching House Hunters International. Alice is in her thirties, single, smart, beautiful, stuck in a dead-end job where she is mired in a rather predictable, though enjoyable, affair with her married boss. Her brother Paul lives in Philadelphia with his older, handsomer, tenured track professor boyfriend who’s recently been saying things like “monogamy is an oppressive heteronormative construct,” while eyeing undergrads. And then there’s Eloise. Perfect, gorgeous, cultured Eloise. The product of Donna’s first marriage to a dashing Frenchman, Eloise has spent her school years at the best private boarding schools, her winter holidays in St. John and a post-college life cushioned by a fat, endless trust fund. To top it off, she’s infuriatingly kind and decent.

As this estranged clan gathers together, and Eloise's walk down the aisle approaches, Grant Ginder brings to vivid, hilarious life the power of family, and the complicated ways we hate the ones we love the most in the most bitingly funny, slyly witty and surprisingly tender novel you’ll read this year.

326 pages, Hardcover

First published June 6, 2017

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About the author

Grant Ginder

5 books380 followers
Grant Ginder is the author of five novels, including LET'S NOT DO THAT AGAIN and THE PEOPLE WE HATE AT THE WEDDING. He received his MFA from NYU, where he teaches writing. He lives in Brooklyn.

Follow him on Twitter or Instagram @GrantGinder

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5 stars
726 (5%)
4 stars
2,427 (18%)
3 stars
5,562 (41%)
2 stars
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1,192 (8%)
Displaying 1 - 30 of 1,813 reviews
Profile Image for Cayla.
562 reviews
June 14, 2017
The best thing about this book is the cover.
Profile Image for Julie .
4,080 reviews59k followers
August 1, 2017
People we Hate at the Wedding by Grant Ginder is a 2017 Flatiron publication.

This book enjoyed some heavy promotion and exposure a few months back. I think I might have discovered it via the book section of the NYT, but then I noticed it was popping up on various library lists etc. So I decided to try it.

This book is supposed to be funny, exposing family dysfunction, but also proving that some bonds, no matter how much we may wish to distance ourselves from them, simply cannot be broken.

I do believe the author did an admirable enough job getting that point across, however, it was just a wee bit too outlandish for me.

Eloise, the privileged daughter of Donna and Henrique, is getting married. She invites her half-siblings, Alice and Paul, the product of Donna’s second marriage, to an ordinary, average guy, who has since passed away.

Alice and Paul are resentful of Eloise, and Paul and his mother are not speaking, so the wedding, which is to take place in London, is just the right setting for a madcap convergence of pent-up emotions, bursting at the seams, to finally burst open.

Sadly, none of the characters, nor the dialogue, was all that funny. In fact, it was often so overboard, it just seemed sad. The balloon holding in all that tension was popped in a big rush at the end, making the conclusion a little too pat, and not all that satisfying.

I give the author an A for effort, but it just didn’t quite make the grade anywhere else.

2 stars
139 reviews3 followers
July 6, 2017
Who were The People I Hated in this Book? Every. Single. One of them. I kept waiting for something to happen to push forward this story about a slew of irredeemable characters, but it was just more of the same right up until the (unsatisfying) conclusion. Too depressing for a beach read and too light for a serious read, this book pretty much has an intriguing title and not much else.
Profile Image for Cindy Burnett (Thoughts from a Page).
575 reviews992 followers
June 5, 2017
Grant Ginder’s The People We Hate at the Wedding is an entertaining read. At times it was more graphic than I wanted it to be, but generally the book held my attention and kept me engrossed in the story. His characters are not the most likeable, however several of them do become more appealing as the book progresses. I had thought the book was going to be funny because it had been likened to Where’d You go, Bernadette (which is hilarious), but I mainly found it sad. None of the characters (except Eloise and Ollie usually) have their lives together and continually make bad choices. Towards the end of the book, they begin to come around which I felt improved the story. I am not sure I am the target audience for this novel. Ginder tells the story through alternating viewpoints which was an effective strategy for this novel. Thanks to Flatiron Books for the chance to read this ARC in exchange for an honest review.
Profile Image for Amy.
1,946 reviews1,898 followers
May 27, 2017
All of my reviews can be found on www.novelgossip.com

If you like snarky humor and watching a train wreck of a family unravel at the seams then I’ve got another great book to add to your summer reading list! First of all, the title/cover combination is pure gold, this is a great book to pick up this summer. It’s light, but has a bite due to its sardonic nature. This is a modern, cynical look at the dynamics of a highly dysfunctional family that could not be more entertaining.

It’s told via alternating points of view, primarily through the eyes of Paul, Alice and Donna though you do hear from just about every character at some point. Every single one of them is deeply flawed and not very likable, but watching their relationships was utterly fascinating. These people do not hold anything back, they are brutally honest and at times it’s painfully awkward, but again absolutely entertaining as a reader.

This has some racy, risqué scenes but it’s also infused with the type of humor that speaks to my soul. The writing is acerbic, intelligent and scarily insightful and is always filled with snark. It’s really witty and engaging, I read it pretty quick and can’t tell you how many times I vacillitated between giggling and being horrified. The way this family behaves is appalling! I think the book succeeded at what The Nest tried (and failed) to do.

If I had one (minor) issue it would be that there was very little time at the wedding and I’m a sucker for drama at a wedding! At the end of the day though, this book isn’t really about a wedding, it’s about a really messed up family, so I’m not mad.
1,235 reviews1 follower
June 25, 2017
This had the potential to be a good book. But it quickly crossed the line from amusingly snarky to unpleasantly hostile. The author writes as if he hates women, and all the characters are unlikable. The most offensive, crude words are used whenever possible.

It's disappointing because the story line seems like it could have been really interesting. If only it were written by someone else.
Profile Image for Obsidian.
2,795 reviews963 followers
March 12, 2018
This is a terrible book. Don't read it. DNF at 38 percent. Back to the library you go. I swear you can have books with terrible characters doing awful things. But you can't have terrible characters, writing, and a ridiculous plot. At this point the half sister could be eating kids on the side, and she wouldn't suck as much as the mother (Donna), son (Paul) and (Alice) daughter in this book.
Profile Image for Ellen.
1,792 reviews7 followers
June 22, 2017
At the heart of this book is a very dysfunctional family with absolutely selfish and unappealing characters. Not the light and fun read at all that the book's description implies. Paul and Alice fly to London to attend their half sister's wedding. Alice is having an affair with a married man, Paul's partner is getting tired of him, and Eloise has everything going for her. Not recommended.
Profile Image for Jessica J..
1,027 reviews2,053 followers
September 11, 2017
This book has been super-hyped this summer, but it hasn't received a lot of glowing reviews from readers and I think that's mostly because the characters aren't particularly sympathetic people. They're kind of awful, honestly. But, still, I was willing to give it a shot because I don't mind stories about awful people. Especially when they're billed as funny. Seinfeld never gets old and I'm practically the only person I know who loves Difficult People.

The problem here, in my opinion, was that there's nothing really all that funny about this book. And, unlike Seinfeld, Grant Ginder makes an attempt to offer these awful people some sort of redemption, but it comes almost too late for me to care. So, honestly, this book never really rose above average for me.

It's essentially about two siblings, Paul and Alice, who are bitterly preparing for wedding of Eloise, the offspring of their mother's first marriage to a wealthy Frenchman. They both have jobs they kind of hate and they are both in unfulfilling relationships, though neither one is willing to admit either of these facts. Paul is dreading the wedding because it's been nearly three years since he has spoken to his mother, following the his father's death. Alice, meanwhile, has a deep resentment of the economic disparity between herself and her half-sister. Eloise does things like look at a picture of Alice's senior prom gown, decide it looks cheap and that Alice deserves better, so sends a fancier dress and doesn't understand why Alice sends it back.

And so, yeah, for the most part, these are kind of miserable people who aren't dealing with the many layers of psychological denial and resentment that they've built up. And it's not just our main cast, either. Literally everyone in this book, from the two siblings to Paul's snobby academic boyfriend to the married boss that Alice is sleeping with, is cold, callous, and self-absorbed. It's perhaps an exaggerated psychological realism, to be fair, because people really do engage in this kind of cognitive dissonance every day. Ginder makes it obvious where these psychological shortcomings are rooted. He just maybe ratchets up the dissonance to level 11 and doesn't ever let up.....until the very, very end.

Seinfeld famously had a "no hugging, no learning" rule that allowed its characters to behave like assholes without being expected to atone for it. While the characters were often embarrassed or forced t never whipped that behavior back around into something tender that allowed you to forgive the characters...and that's what worked about it. You knew they were jerks and even if it occasionally makes you uncomfortable, you know what to expect and the absurdity was often the funniest part.

I think the main reason why this book didn't work for me was that the characters started out at such a terrible level and then made a last-second play for tender without quiiiite enough build-up. Their changes of heart didn't feel organic or authentic to me; it felt a little more like a sudden 180 and the resulting emotional whiplash left me feeling unsatisfied with this one.

Profile Image for Dianne.
1,602 reviews120 followers
June 28, 2017
The People We Hate at the Wedding – Grant Grinder

I generally like books about dysfunctional families. They tend to make me appreciate my own dysfunctional family even more. But this book was so out of left field that I very nearly decided to give up on it, but kept plodding through it just to see how it would end.

The premise was somewhat confusing once you started reading this – yes it did deal with exactly what the synopsis claims, but the ‘why’ of it all was so stupid that I wanted to scream.

Most of this book seemed to dwell on Paul and Mark’s relationship and sexual antics. The sex part was somewhat explicit but not over the top for this sort of book. However, this made for short shrift in dealing with the other members of this family. Oh, Alice got her own part and boy was she a bit whacko, but nothing compared to her brother! And the mother, Donna, well we don’t get much on her at all.

Then there is the not so beloved step-sister Eloise (and this is where I don’t see how this could come together to make a story, even a fictional one) who is hated by her younger brother and sister. She is hated because her father left her well-off? Because she wasn’t there for her step-sister’s emergency? Well so what of it? He wasn’t their father so how could they have such horrid reactions? She had her own problems (such as they were) when her sister had her emergency. Just plain jealousy is what it all turned into.

These are three of the most unlikeable characters I have met and I think had I ever met someone like this in real life I would run not walk away from them as fast as I could run. I have never felt less for character’s as I felt with this bunch…ALL of them. Even during the worst the world threw at this crew, I felt nothing for them. They were shallow, flat, unlikeable drug addicted, drunks, and attention prostitutes.

There is some closure, but not enough.
ARC supplied by publisher/author
Profile Image for Chantal.
579 reviews390 followers
June 3, 2022
Eliose is getting married in London. Half siblings Paul and Alice are both not thrilled to attend this "IT" wedding. With most families, this one has its own set of drama's, love, secrets and backstabbing.

This book brings a good steady pace and easy to listen to. I expected a bit more of a WOW factor at the end but is all worked out well. Loads of different characters and each with their own sets of drama and storylines. Both narrators were brilliants.

This gave me serious "A wedding and a funeral" vides. We received good explanations and insights in each characters lives. Loads of drama, as weddings usually are. It was missing a big twist factor. Overall an enjoyable book!

Thank you Netgalley and Hodder & Stoughton for this ARC.
847 reviews80 followers
August 24, 2017
"Love may disappoint, but that doesn't absolve us from loving."
This is a story about a dysfunctional family that was entertaing-ish with humor- some of which was "of the over the top "variety. Turns out- that for the most part- the people these people hated were each other.

The ending,IMO, was ridiculous. Ridiculous because there was the equivalent of an Exorcist 360 degree head spin for one of the main characters. In a nanosecond this character completely changed almost all of who she was, thus allowing a neat wrap-up and the above quoted lesson to be delivered.

The book kept me listening and mostly engaged. I didn't learn anything, but I didn't lose any IQ points (I know-debatable) either.
Profile Image for Carreen’s Reading Chronicles .
126 reviews3 followers
January 3, 2017
" if a mans character is to be abused, say what you will, there's nobody like a relative to do the business"...there couldn't be a better quote to describe this delightful and fun read. I received an early copy of this book, and found that I couldn't put it down! The characters are flawed, yet hilarious , and this author draws us into an engrossing world where people are actually allowed to voice what they truly feel about their family. I cannot wait to read his next book!
Profile Image for Danielle.
430 reviews35 followers
June 20, 2017
I hated everyone at this wedding.

I had high expectations for the book since it was on so many summer must-read lists but the characters were thoroughly unlikeable and their stories were barely fleshed out. I kept expecting something to happen to tie everything together and I guess it did in the end but it was still unsatisfying.
Profile Image for Toni.
660 reviews202 followers
January 9, 2022
I have to read this again, because first: I love the way this author writes; two: this book is going to be made into a movie soon, so everyone should read it; and three: I had to have missed something or I must have been in a crummy mood!

Picked this up at my library, hoping for a weekend read of shallow people making snide and gossipy remarks about people at a wedding, literally. Ended up with a soap opera about the typical dysfunctional family dealing with planning an international wedding.
Everyone is fighting and arguing with each other until the chapel bells ring. Maybe not the best book, but kind of a fun read.

I usually love this stuff so it’s a must reread for me! 😊😎
Profile Image for Kelly (and the Book Boar).
2,487 reviews7,785 followers
September 26, 2023
The husband was out of town last week so I was perusing the 50,000,000 streaming services we subscribe to for something brainless and fun and cutesie to maybe watch. I ran across this title and was almost positive it was a book first and turns out I was right. So then I do what I do and I didn’t watch the movie, but instead immediately went to the library to download a copy to read instead.

Now that I’m finished I’m seeing the Goodreads’ rating sits at 2.85?!?!?!?

I’m wondering if maybe Grant Ginder was simply ahead of his time because stories about dysfunction junction starring not the nicest people in the world have become sort of the rage. And these people weren’t even that bad once you got to know them a little. (Except for Mark. He was a real twat.) After being trolled incessantly for daring to not love all the things about Remarkably Bright Creatures - Cameron in particular – it was nice to read a story where the attitudes/behaviors/choices of each character were explained and everyone ended up with a believable redemption arc.

I liked this one enough for several of you who didn’t ; ) I hope the film version is just as good.
Profile Image for Dona.
610 reviews88 followers
April 29, 2023
Thank you to Goodreads and Flatiron Books for my Goodreads giveaway prize paperback copy of THE PEOPLE WE HATE AT THE WEDDING by Grant Ginder. I found my audiobook copy on the Libby app. Check for your local library on the app and read great books for free!📚

Alice and Paul's half sister Eloise is getting married. And even though she has a different father and lives on a different continent, Eliose will stop at no expense to make sure the whole family comes together for her special day. Cue the backbiting, the neck wringing, and the tongue lashing, because this family is just evil. And the only thing these siblings want more than what they want for themselves, is to see the others not get what they want.

The premise of this book isn't bad. In fact the movie made from this book isn't bad. Both are funny.

But unfortunately, I didn't find this book funny. Because the characters and situations get so dark (including a character being sexually assaulted by someone he trusts), the humor is really important. But it's just lacking. Neither the tone nor the content provides the much needed levity that would make this book enjoyable for me. Please consider this my trigger warning for SA, alcohol and drug consumption, extreme intoxication, addiction, emotional abuse, queer antagonism.

Rating:💍💍 / 5 engagement stories
Recommend? Not for this one
Finished: April 23 2023
Profile Image for Caryn.
867 reviews64 followers
May 27, 2017
3.5 stars.

Ginder puts the "fun" in dysfunctional with this family leading up to a wedding across the pond in England. A more appropriate title "The People We Hate Before the Wedding," as this book never gets to the actual wedding.

The book starts with a brother, sister, and their mother who decide if they should head to their half-sister's wedding. Chapters alternate by who is speaking. Ginder easily distinguishes characters with unique voices.

This book was more a character study than pure plot, but there were many scenes that I found myself chuckling. It's also sad in spots as relationships self-destruct.

The second half has us hearing from significant others as they propel the story along. I felt the book ended a tad abruptly and would have liked to see what happened with these characters when they returned to the States. Maybe he's saving that for a second book.

Thanks to Goodreads Giveaways and Flatiron Books for a copy in exchange for an honest review.
Profile Image for Gillian.
13 reviews10 followers
May 19, 2017
This is - hands down - one of the best novels about family, social class, and thirtysomething malaise I have ever read. This is the novel I was expecting The Nest to be. I feel like I've just been to a family wedding and spent the whole time with the most interesting people there.
Grant Ginder has created a family of charming, funny, intelligent characters who all come to London for a wedding. Shifting back and forth between perspectives, you have time to enjoy seeing what's inside each family member's head. I loved spending time with each of them and their wry observations and biting commentary - I actually giggled reading this on the subway.
This book is smartly written. The language is perfectly chosen, but the writing is unpretentious. Unlike a lot of books about people with money, this one doesn't fall into the trap of trying to prove it "belongs" with too many references to brand names or materialism. It was pitch perfect.
Congratulations to Ginder, who makes it look easy. I enjoyed this so much, I will read anything he writes.
Profile Image for Jeff.
61 reviews2 followers
June 13, 2017
1 star.

There's a lot of hype about this book, but it just does not pass muster for me. The subject matter is interesting, but the writing is weak and cliche. Props to the cover design, though, which is honestly the only thing worth mentioning here.
Profile Image for Sarah Swann.
764 reviews1,009 followers
October 6, 2020
I thought this was fun. It wasn't great, it wasn't terrible. I laughed quite a bit. Although every single character was awful and had so many flaws. And none of them redeemed themselves. I took it for what it was and overall had a good time reading it.
Profile Image for Elizabeth☮ .
1,572 reviews11 followers
June 28, 2017
This is a look at a group of people as they appear for a wedding in England. The two half siblings are American and resent their "perfect" sister whose father is decidedly rich.

The story is told from various POV's and adds to the narrative that takes us from California to Philadelphia to England.

These people are all a mess (which is what I like about them). The people they hate at the wedding? Themselves!

A great summer read as it is quick and engaging. Nothing too heavy to focus on while relaxing.
Profile Image for Wendy Bunnell.
1,306 reviews32 followers
August 24, 2017
Reader, I bailed on him. And her, and that other her. Apologies to Jane Eyre fans, of which I am one, but I had to think of something to say in the opening line of this review that reminded me that I like books, and that they aren't all awful.

Attempting to read this book was painful. I made it not quite two discs in, so about 20% of the book. I hadn't even met the bride and groom yet. But, I couldn't persist. The world holds beauty and light, and I needed desperately to get back to that. And dammit, this was supposed to be funny! Wow, it wasn't. Years ago, when discussing the relative success of two reality shows, America Idol and Last Comic Standing (both of which I've watched), a friend commented about the preliminary rounds, and why AI spent weeks on them while LCS spent 1-2 episodes max. The reason, we concluded, was simple: Sometimes, bad singing is funny. But bad comedy is never music. This was not music.

This bad comedy was so spiteful, so bitter, so hateful of the world, so chock full of f-bombs and people wading through used maxi-pads and shrieking obscenities, and being just awful to their own families, I just wow. Maybe there is a target audience for this book, but I am utterly thrilled that it isn't me. And I think I would seriously question taste of someone for whom this is awesome. Some kind of negativity vampire perhaps. Oh, now that's a book concept that sounds more promising, "I've come to suck your whining and narcissism." And then the negativity vampire chokes, as one would drinking from a firehouse, on the characters in this book.

Audiobooks that pick up from the library on the "new release" section often surprise me. It's usually something that hasn't really crossed my radar that much because I didn't get myself on the wait list for it when it was first listed as new to the collection. I recognized the title because I remember the pre-publication launch publicity. The title and the cover art are both quite catchy for a light-hearted cynical social commentary about our consumption culture, whatever. I was not prepared to enter the HaterDome. Now with Diary of an Oxygen Thief (a library - there it is pick), I was ready to enter the HaterDome and wasn't mad. In fact, I found that book fascinating. But now, I'm mad, as this book's description did no justice to its vile tone and negative views on everything.

I expected The Nest type rich sibling bickering over money and past slights. I even expected some After the Crash quirky family dynamics of one sibling being raised with significantly more resources than the others due to her unique rich relatives situation. But no, it was just utter hatred from ugly people. I can't get behind that. Maybe it was poor timing on my part, as we're living in an ugly, hateful time, but I can't stand any more.

Maybe there was redemption, at least partially. I'd hope so, but I can't wait more than 20% in to get any glimmer of humanity after seeing the inner-most awfulness that is both siblings and the mother of this much despised bride. Garbage in - garbage out, I think, as nothing good was going to come into my life spending more time with this.

So, in library impulse selections which surprised me, this is the worst, but I'll end my review with a blurb for the best. Go pick up 15 Things You Should Give Up to Be Happy: An Inspiring Guide to Discovering Effortless Joy by Luminita D. Saviuc. You're sanity in this messed up world may thank you.

Profile Image for Stacey A.  Prose and Palate.
359 reviews114 followers
May 30, 2017
I have found myself on a major dysfunctional character reading binge lately and I absolutely love it. The People We Hate At The Wedding is no exception. Maybe it is because I can absolutely relate to the craziness that was rampant in this hot mess of a family -- from the mother and the son not speaking to each other over a misunderstanding to the animosity Alice harbors towards her half-sister Elosie, or maybe I just needed this snarkiness in my life at the moment. There were moments from the rehearsal on to the end of the book where I actually laughed out loud, but there were also moments were I cringed and wanted to gag (trash can therapy sessions, NO THANK YOU.)

This is a story about three siblings who are stumbling along through life, displeased as to where they currently find themselves, jealous of their half-sister who seems to be living the life that they wish they could have lived, and blaming everyone along the way for their problems . Alice (bless her heart) is just stuck in grief over a loss that happened five years ago and she can not move on from it. Paul (Alice’s brother) is an absolute door mat and struggling with what he wants to do with his life and poor Eloise just wants everyone to get along and be the perfect happy family. But not every family is like a Norman Rockwell painting and this particular one has messiness and drama in spades. The only thing that Paul and Alice can seem to agree on is their loathing for Eloise as her impending marriage approaches.

I did feel that this story dragged a bit in the middle and I wish there was more focus on the actual wedding then the time leading up to the big event. That being said, I still found it to be a solid 3.5 star read. If you like snarky characters and flawed families, then this would be an enjoyable read for you. Many thanks to Netgalley and FlatIron Books for providing me with an advanced copy in exchange for my honest review.
Profile Image for Sterlingcindysu.
1,396 reviews51 followers
May 4, 2017
Isn't this a great title and cover! I predict this will be a summer beach-reading hit. I read this on a cruise and passed it around when I was done--thanks for the arc!

One thing I think will get some negative comments are the stock characters Ginder brings out for our review--young woman in debt, gay guy, unhappy wife who still thinks about her ex and priviledged rich woman who works in non-profits are all accounted. But Ginder puts the twist on them by making them SO outrageously mean/spiteful/generous, etc. In other words, whatever their main vanity is, it's magnified to outlandish proportions.

The story is told through different viewpoints and is easy to follow even with flashbacks.

I bet anyone who reads this will think their life is a piece of cake afterwards!
Profile Image for Mairzi.
797 reviews
August 16, 2017
Yet another bad book that doesn't live up to the promise of its great title or description on the book jacket. It is not "bitingly funny", "slyly witty" or "surprisingly tender". It is boring and predictable filled with characters who are so poorly drawn the reader never gets a sense of who they are or what motivates them. I read so much about this book earlier this year that made it sound so promising and can only conclude that these glowing recommendations were not based on anyone actually reading this book but rather on the synopsis and admittedly wonderful title.
Profile Image for Jess.
2,990 reviews5 followers
June 11, 2017
This was fine. I didn't like it nearly as much as I was expecting to, and I think it's because it just felt too overwrought. Like, yes, all of those things might happen in a family, but it was the worst possible outcome for all of them and it was just too much. It wasn't even fun in the way that CRA and its sequels were, just more and more miserable.
1,941 reviews
June 9, 2017
The people we hate at the wedding would actually be all of them. The title is the best thing about this book.
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