From the author of Carnegie Hill, comes Jonathan Vatner's The Bridesmaids Union , a captivating novel of family, Facebook groups, and bridesmaids gone rogue.
Iris Hagarty has just about had it with weddings. After witnessing one too many meltdowns over flower arrangements, she takes to the internet to vent about the trials and tribulations of being a bridesmaid to demanding and ungrateful brides. She finds she is not alone, and soon becomes the moderator of a Facebook group full of other bridesmaids, eager to share their own horror stories.
Enter Iris’s sister Jasmine, the golden child and their parents’ obvious favorite, newly engaged and wanting none other than Iris to be her maid of honor. Knowing full well that Jasmine doesn’t need a wedding to bring out her spoiled side, Iris buckles in for a bumpy ride. At least now she has an outlet―one full of new online friends hungry for juicy details.
But as the Bridesmaids Union grows, Iris finds it harder to keep under control. And she even has some doubts about whether there will be a wedding after all. While Jasmine’s fiancé, David, seems smitten with his bride-to-be, Iris is less sure about her social-climber sister’s intentions. Though that could just be because Iris is having trouble keeping her own eyes off of the groom.
Brimming with family drama, and set in the ever-encroaching world of Instagram DM's and Facebook flame wars, The Bridesmaids Union shows the power and limits of alliances we form on social media, and how to make the most of the ones we’re born into.
JONATHAN VATNER is the author of THE BRIDESMAIDS UNION (St. Martin's Press, 2022) and CARNEGIE HILL (Thomas Dunne Books, 2019). His fiction has earned praise from People, Town & Country, The New York Post, and the Los Angeles Review of Books. He is the managing editor of Hue, the magazine of the Fashion Institute of Technology and teaches fiction writing at New York University and the Hudson Valley Writers Center.
Please note that I received this book via NetGalley. This did not affect my rating or review.
So the only reason I am giving this two stars is that it is not as bad as Carnegie Hill. I knew this author sounded familiar to me, and I am annoyed I wasted a pick on this. The entire book was a slow moving train wreck that I was unable to look away from. The main character, Iris, is terrible. The other characters we get are awful. The writing was meh, and the flow was a mess too. The ending was 100 percent not realistic, and I just sighed. It didn't help that I have read so many books featuring this exact same plotline the past few months (bridesmaid gets fed up, blogs about it or in this case creates a Facebook group) which this was done better than this.
"The Bridesmaid Union" follows Iris Sullivan. Iris has just saved the day at one of her closet's friend's wedding in Florida. She gets upset though when the bride doesn't acknowledge it. When her younger sister Jasmine gets engaged to a millionaire tech guy, she decides she has had it and creates a private Facebook group called The Bridesmaid Union. On the Facebook page Iris can let the other members know about the annoying things her sister wants her to do and the other members can share their own stories. Things get messy though when the group starts growing, and Iris's members start talking more and more about things non-bridesmaid related.
So Iris is just...exhausting. Yep, that's the word. Her constant need of validation, but anger that she wants it was so....ugh. Honestly, even I got tired of hearing her going off at her family for voting for Donald Trump (or not voting at all). And I am saying that because the book seemed to be treating this as just as cute character flaw even though her parents were bigoted Christians. There's a scene where they start to pressure Jasmine' fiancée (who is Jewish) to convert. None of this read as amusing to me, I just read it as these people are all terrible and Iris needed to just stop talking/reacting to them.
The other characters are not great. Jasmine was superficial and just supposed to be a caricature of an influencer. David was a non-entity. The supposed love that Iris started to feel for the guy came out of nowhere and was not realistic at all. Iris's parents were not great. Rose was very good and I honestly wanted to read more about her and her life in Florida. God love her, I wouldn't have visited home either. The women and some men from the Facebook private group got a little bit of development, but of course way too much attention was paid to the character of Kyle.
The writing was better than the last book of his I read. I can say that the flow was better too. But that's not saying much. If this was any other book and I had not read the author before, I would have given this 1 star. I was just bored by this whole story-line. No one was holding a gun to Iris's head to participate in her sister's wedding. The only character I liked (Rose) was the one who finally pointed out how childish Iris was being about so many things. The evolving plotline with Kyle didn't make sense and Iris's need to even stay in contact with him just showed she has the worst judgement ever. As I said above, I have read at least 5 to 6 books over the past year where we have a put upon bridesmaid dealing with a crazy bride. This one didn't have anything new to tell in that realm.
The setting of this book is 2018, and we are 2 years into the Trump administration. There's a lot of discussion of being cancelled and all of that and I just put my head back and sighed like a thousand times. I will say one thing, Vatner does showcase how most family members dealt with their Trump relatives (by just still interacting with them and acting like what they said wasn't terrible) very well.
Iris Hagarty is fed up with weddings and starts an online group for bridesmaids to share their frustrating experiences. However, her sister Jasmine, the family favorite, gets engaged and asks Iris to be her maid of honor, setting the stage for more drama. As the Bridesmaids Union grows, Iris struggles to control it and questions her sister's true intentions and her own feelings for the groom.
Loved the concept of this book and all the hilarious bridesmaid stories. While it started out strong, about halfway through it all just got to be too much. The big plot twist I saw from a mile away.
Thank you St. Martins for providing me an ARC in exchange for my honest opinion of the book
Iris Hagerty has been a bridesmaid for so many of her friends that she is going broke. She's stretched so thin it's been tough and her credit cards are racked up and are at their limits. Her sister Jasmine has now reached out to her and asked her to be a bridesmaid at her wedding. Worst of all there is a contest to see who is worthy of being her sister's Maid of Honor. Iris posts on reddit about her experiences as a bridesmaid and gets so much of a positive reaction that she creates a private group on Facebook which ends up turning into a large closed group.
The book is quite humorous for the most part - it feels like it could be turned into a cute and funny movie or series targeted at women. Overall it was enjoyable though at times it was a bit over the time but I did enjoy it and had some good laughs while I read it. I wasn't sure what the book would be about when I first read it and thought there was a good chance I wouldn't enjoy it but I did. I would rate this book 7.75/10.
This book was a fun and quick read. I thought the writing was interesting and the characters were engaging. I did not love all of the politics or religion in the book though. Overall it was just an okay read.
Thank you, @netgalley, and @stmartinspress, for the eARC and in return, an honest review.
“As much as she loved weddings - the comforting formality, the beauty, the joy of the betrothed - being a bridesmaid was sucking her dry.”
My Thoughts: Have you ever been a bridesmaid? Was it a positive experience? So far, it was for me. This was in the 90’s and Bridezilla was not a thing yet. And we didn’t have social media either.
Iris Hagarty started a members only Facebook group where they share horror stories of being a bridesmaid. But as the story goes on, I found Iris, irritating and bitter. It’s like she adds fuel to the fire and critical of people’s choices instead of being helpful. She’s hypocritical and in constant need for validation. She also has her own internal monologue.
Eventually she became bearable in the later chapters. Even the story got better. The whole family dynamics was toxic especially the parents. I did love the other bridesmaid, Electra, and Iris’s older sister, Rose.
I don’t know how to rate this. I don’t like the MC but the premise is unique. Trigger warnings: misogyny, sexual harassment. The genre says romance but it had barely. And no spice either. Politics and religion conversion comes up periodically.
I'm not always a fan of rom-com but this was very clever and well-written and I devoured it! Iris and Jasmine are sisters but have been estranged for years when Jasmine asks Iris to be in her wedding to David. Jasmine likes David immediately but her young son, Mason takes precedence and she always has his best interests at heart. Jasmine is one of those women who thrives on being "Insta-famous" and is constantly taking selfies and posting them along with her new line of dog shoes (yes, you read that correctly)! In the meantime, Iris has opened a Facebook group called The Bridesmaids Union as she's single and tired of being "used" as the one to do everything for bridal parties. And then things get complicated....Lots of great. humor, pathos, sarcasm, but delight and forgiveness as well. Totally worth reading whether you're married, single, divorced, or considering marriage! Thanks to NetGalley for this ARC!
I put this down after one character referred to bagel chasers and another called someone a Hitler based on her unsavory behavior. This commentary coupled with the fact this is a novel written by a man about roles traditionally held by women (bridesmaid/maid of honor) made me drop it like a hot potato.
While the premise is fascinating: a 27-dresses type with a maxed out credit card from too many bridesmaids duties has to compete to be the maid of honor in her own sister's wedding, and hops on social media to start a venting and support group for all the poor unappreciated bridesmaids, the bridezilla bashing gets old fast. Part of the narrative is direct messages exchanged with an influencer and the only? gay dude in the cozy private group, and the recreation of posts complete with images of terrible bridesmaid dresses. It just didn't translate well to ebook format, but given the content, I gave up on it 35% in.
I received an advance reader’s review copy of #TheBridesmaidsUnion from #NetGalley.
I'll give the author two stars simply because the writing style was well written. Aside from that- I read the back cover and was excited by this book- the idea of someone posting about brides on a closed group seemed interesting. Here's the rub- the author used their book as a way to discuss their political views all through it, it was un needed for the story and frankly if I want to read about political crap I'll search it out, I read to escape from the world not read about how whiny they are about whoever won the election (and no I don't care who's side their on it wasn't important to the story). The main character was whiny and let everyone basically run her life then took to a public forum to whine about it. By the mid to end of the book I wasn't even sure if I was rooting for the main character or her sister or no one. The only reason I finished it was to see what happened and it was an absolute train wreck. If you enjoy drama and all that comes with it this book is for you but it didn't have the "happy ending" I was looking for. 🤷♀️
I won a copy of this book as part of a goodsread giveaway. It isn't my usual type of read but the story sounded interesting and fun. I enjoyed the first few chapters and quickly became addicted. I found the characters to be mostly believable and REAL people. The book has a lovely message about seeing things from a different perspective and questioning your own assumptions and motives. The references to Trump's nightmarish presidency and the effects he had on family relationships were relatable. The mother/son relationship was also handled extremely well and reading this book felt like reading about a friend. I'm not sure I loved the ending and it seemed kind of rushed. I'm also not sure about the way the story dealt with redemption and forgiveness. Overall I recommend it to most people and especially as a "beach read".
This is a fun read about Iris who feels like she is always a bridesmaid and the brides don't appreciate what she does to help or the fact that she's in deep credit card debt due to her being a bridesmaid so many times. She has terrible parents who want her to get married and don't seem to care about her at all. She also a younger sister, Jasmine, who is getting married and asks Iris to be maid of honor. There is another sister who pretty much stays away from the family. Plus Iris has a kindergarten age son, who seems to be out of control and is getting bullied because he doesn't have a father. After Iris's last wedding as bridesmaid, she starts a Facebook group for people to share the awful things that have happened to them when they were bridesmaids. It seems to help her a lot to hear their stories but even though she is not happy with her previous stints as bridesmaid, she agrees to be the maid of honor for her estranged sister. There is some humor in this book but most of the story is about Iris and her struggles in her single life.
This book was filled with family drama. I didn't like Iris's parents at all and it was easy to dislike Iris at times. She had a real problem making decisions and standing up for herself. She's also a bit naive - she seemed to have no filters when she was complaining in her facebook group and never worried about the possibility of the group becoming public and the bride's becoming aware of what was said about them. She also became good friends with one of the posters in the group and we all know how risky that is.
I did enjoy many of the parts of the book but didn't appreciate all of the mentions of politics - her parents and sister were Trump supporters and she was an anyone but Trump voter. Similar to many people in the country, Iris and her sister became estranged over the election and lack of understanding of each other's views. I also enjoyed Iris's relationship with her son. She had such bad parents that it was good to see she didn't inherit their way of parenting. This book was also a bit too long. I think that some of the side stories could be left out to make the book more interesting.
Overall, I thought that this was a good book and despite the reservations that I've mentioned, I'm glad that I read it and look forward to future books from this author.
Thanks to the publisher for a copy of this book to read and review. All opinions are my own.
This book was purely funny, and I enjoyed it more then I thought I would! Have you ever been a bridesmaid/maid of honour and have horror stories to tell about the experience and the bride? (Or maybe you don’t want to spill the beans!) In this book, the MC finds ways to air out her grievances by forming private Facebook group and inviting ppl and doesn’t know to share their stories and support one another. All while she is in her sisters wedding. What could go wrong?! While I don’t think the constant talk of the US 2016 election was needed, and how it’s very divisive, it did provide some comic relief? Maybe that was the author’s intention. Overall, this one was a lighthearted romcom that is a perfect book to read “in between” genres you might need a break from!
It was funny and enjoyable when it started, but by the end I just wanted it over. It's got crazy internet people, influencers, backstabbing bridesmaids, insane bridezillas, lots of family drama, some sexual harassment in the work place, a kid that bites, etc - there is a whole lot going on in this story.
The basic storyline is a fed up bridesmaid starting a Facebook group for fellow bridesmaids to complain about the horrible things they're being forced to do by crazy brides. However, it derails when it's opened up to the public and the brides start finding out what's being said about them. And all the other background stories get tied in along the way.
Thanks to NetGalley, the author, and publisher for a temporary, digital ARC in return for my review.
I received an e-ARC version of this book from NetGalley and the publisher.
“The Bridesmaid Union” by Jonathan Vatner wasn’t quite the light fluffy book I expected it to be. In this book, we follow Iris Hagarty who has HAD IT with her so-called friends getting married and turning into ungrateful bridezillas. She posts her frustrations on a Reddit forum and gains comments from others feeling the same way. Iris then starts a closed Facebook group for some semblance of control (and privacy), asking others to join the group to continue the griping. When Iris’s sister decides to marry, Iris discovers that her sister wants, basically, an Influencer wedding filled with hot new trends (or future trends). There’s family drama, there’s backstabbing, there’s a lack of communication, and - at times - this book seemed a lot “all over the place.” It does all wrap up nicely in the end - and even the bits that seemed a bit out there do have a tie back into the main story. However, negatives for me included a lot of politics … a lot of religious discussions … and lot of side stories that seemed tossed in there (such as Iris’s boss storyline and the photographer - who accused Iris of destroying his work/life … and Iris deciding to give control of the group to someone who was going off the rails). Also, the sister’s comment about the guest list (and one person in particular who wasn’t invited) I found incredibly rude and clueless (and I would’ve bailed on the entire thing, but then there wouldn’t’ve been that story). I guess if one wants to read a book about the dangers of social media (and possibly too much screen time in general) this book is interesting. But at times I found this book to be too scattered with side threads and straying too far from the horror stories about brides for my enjoyment.
"The Bridesmaids Union" by Jonathan Vatner is your "27 Dresses", "My Best Friend's Wedding" romcom dramedy for the wedding season.
Iris Hagerty is a mess. With hypocritical parents, a distant drama queen sister about to get married - and she's maybe, kinda invited/maid of honor/bridesmaid/wedding coordinator, and a sleazy boss at a boring job, life is pretty much a s*it show. To let off steam, Iris starts a private Facebook page for bridesmaids or general attendees railroaded by bridezillas to vent.
Sounds like NOTHING could go wrong, right?
Let me tell you, underneath the plot is the idea of how a more freeing ideal of social media is still an extension of real life where some have to be careful what they say for consequences in real life (except racist politicians it seems) and some are not who they say they are.
Iris finds this out as she navigates the Bridesmaids page and falls under the influence of an influencer. Most of the characters are extremely unlikable, not in a bad unintentional way, but in a way you'll identify with Iris more as she deals with judgemental fakes, a lot of which are her own family, and having a real moral conscience when no one around her does - believe me, that's harder than it sounds.
It's a relatively breezy book for the most part, full of bridal anecdotes that may leave you not wanting to attend another wedding again, and also thinking about what it would look like if we left the toxicity of our surroundings and made a break for it.
I received an ARC copy through goodreads giveaways.
I really enjoyed this book, of which I read while being a bridesmaid through a wedding (thankfully I've never experienced any of Iris hardships). I thought this book was a solid read; complex characters that stay true throughout the story line, just enough current affairs to make it relevant yet not too tiresome, and a plot that is such a tumultuous rollercoaster you have to keep reading. The only reason i didn't give it 5 full stars is the end portion of the plot kind of gives me the ick (read for yourself if you want to find out why lol)
I have so many thoughts about this novel that it’s hard to put into words. First off one of the most annoying things about this story was the incessant political comments that were brought up about every 5 pages. I totally understand that politics can tear families apart and I’m sure most people can vouch for this due to the current divisive state of our country. However, that doesn’t mean that I want to read about it as a driving plot factor in a book. I find it a little hard to believe that Iris and her sister Jasmine would completely stop talking due to the fact that they voted for different presidential candidates. Later on in the story we find out that Jasmine was actually in love with Iris’s ex-fiancé and that is the main reason behind their distant relationship. The characters in this book were extremely unlikable and I didn’t find myself rooting for any particular plot ending. The main nucleus of this story is that Iris is asked to be her sister’s maid of honor and tasked with planning the perfect wedding for her spoiled sibling. Jasmine is beloved by her parents (Connie and Spike) and seems to receive everything she wants as the youngest child of three. Jasmine is a perfect example of the ungrateful, self-centered, social media obsessed “influencers” of our current time. Iris being fed-up with her sister’s crazy wedding demands forms a private online forum dubbed “The Bridesmaids Union” were any and all past and present bridesmaids can share their woes and horror stories about their own experiences with a bridezilla. Iris publishes her frustrations about her sister and how inconsiderate she is to expect her bridesmaids to shell out thousands of dollars for the dresses, travel expenses, bachelorette party, etc. Iris is a single mother struggling to make ends meet living in the New York tri-state area. Her only son, Mason is the offspring of her ex-fiancé Forrest unbeknownst to him. And yes this is the same ex-fiancé that her sister Jasmine ends up marrying at the end of the novel. The posts in the forum end up getting leaked to the public and of course there is huge negative backlash for Iris herself and her spoiled sister Jasmine. However her sister ends up gaining more fame and followers from the controversy and keeps her original wedding plans but decides to marry Forrest instead of her original beau David. Leading up to the failed wedding and before the forum posts are released to the public, Iris starts developing feelings for David against her better judgement. Iris senses from the start that her sister and David aren’t meant for each other and begins to form an emotional bond with him. Crazy enough, David actually reciprocates the feelings and ends up asking Iris for a chance at a relationship after all the drama goes down with the Bridesmaids Union. David was completely willing to dive into a relationship with his ex-fiancés sister right after his wedding is called off… totally sleazy right? From David to Iris to Jasmine I couldn’t relate to any of the main characters and couldn’t wait to finish the book. Reading as the plot progressed was a lot like watching a car wreck. You can’t bear to look away but are unconsciously cringing as the damage unfolds. In the end Jasmine still gets her dream wedding, the support of her parents, and the guy she’s always wanted. Iris on the other hand concedes to her sister by not pursuing David, up-roots her life by moving to Florida to escape her over-bearing, controlling parents, and loses the father of her child to her sister. I’m leaving a lot of little details and additional characters out of course, but ultimately they didn’t really leave much impact on the overall plot of the story. After finishing this book I’m left to wonder, what was the point? Jasmine ultimately got her way, and Iris was still giving her sister the benefit of the doubt on a silver platter.
When Iris Hagarty gets frustrated from yet another bride making unreasonable demands on her bridesmaids, she reaches out for support. She sets up a Facebook group called The Bridesmaids Union to air her grievances and find support from other women who have a closet filled with dresses that can never be worn again and credit card bills from trips and gifts and shoes. It’s a private group, so she has control over who sees what, making sure that the overall feel of the group is uplifting.
It helps her to have the group as an outlet, since so much of her life is given over to being a single mom to a young son, working as a compliance administrator in a local hospital, and disappointing her overbearing religious parents. She has two sisters. Rose is the oldest, and she lives in Florida and rarely comes back to New Jersey. And her younger sister Jasmine has been distant ever since Iris had canceled her wedding, right before she found out she was pregnant.
But now everything is different. Iris is a perennial bridesmaid, and Jasmine is getting married. Jasmine invites Iris over, with two of her best friends, so that Jasmine can officially invite them to be her bridesmaids. It’s there that Iris learns that her baby sister is an Instagram influencer and her pet shoe business is really taking off, since a key celebrity has taken notice of her adorable pet heels and placed an order. Her husband-to-be is a tech genius who sold his company in his 20s for millions and is starting another company.
Iris “wins” the opportunity to be Jasmine’s maid of honor, but as the weeks of wedding planning go on, the wedding grows from a small private party into a big, expensive, showy extravaganza with a goat as a ring bearer. And as the wedding gets bigger and wilder, Jasmine and her demands get crazier. Iris goes online to keep her Bridesmaid Union friends appraised of it all, but when another admin takes the group public, everything blows up in Iris’s face.
When Iris is faced with her own bad behavior online, will she finally find her voice in the real world, or will she choose to keep her mouth shut and keep airing her grievances online?
The Bridesmaid Union is a funny, understanding, warm story of finding your voice and taking responsibility for what you’re feeling. Author Jonathan Vatner gets in the head of bridesmaids and into the heart of sisters with intelligence, compassion, and plenty of drama.
I got completely swept up in The Bridesmaids Union and enjoyed all the ups and downs. But what surprised me most was how much Vatner packed into this one novel. This would be an ideal book for book clubs because it has the potential to spark conversations about family, religion, politics, weddings, Facebook, privacy, parenting, dating, ugly dresses, influencers, feminism, art, and sisterhood. This novel has so much going on that you can use it as a jumping off point for a multitude of discussions, or just for a wine-enhanced comparison of bridezillas you’ve known, if that’s what your book club is into.
Egalleys for The Bridesmaids Union were provided by St. Martin’s Press through NetGalley, with many thanks.
The fictional Bridesmaids Union was created as a private Facebook Group by Iris to chat with other like-minded, taken-for-granted, disgruntled bridesmaids as they spent money they didn't have, made plans they didn't want and went out of their way for the bridezillas in their lives. Iris was a over-achiever in the bridesmaid category, serving as a trustworthy maid to many ungrateful friends and now for her sister Jasmine, the youngest sister and parents' favorite. Elder sister, Rose, known for her smarts and fuller figure, but not her attractiveness or style, moved to Florida for her career and as a bonus, avoids the family drama. Rose is by far the most likable character in this book and I wish more of the focus of the story had been about her background and life experiences. Jasmine seems to have a heart underneath all of her Instagram filters and beauty armor, but it is waaaayyy deep down. Iris is frustratingly a door-mat, agreeing to whatever popular person is in her life that she wants to impress. As the story progresses, she does a bit too, but it is a very SLOOOOW progression. Their parents are very conservative Christian, always commenting on how they need to get good men in their lives, go to church and not embarrass the family. Mother Connie, especially is harsh, as she monitors her daughters' appearance, beauty, style and weight. It is mentioned many times in the book that Iris ("a size 8" which is very slender!) needs to loose weight. I would understand if this were just coming from her judgmental mother, but it seemed to pop up everywhere. Her sister Jasmine ("a size 2") was deemed PERFECT throughout the book. Rose is only distinguished (and not in an admirable way!) by her intellect and derided for her healthy appetite and fuller figure. This was truly unfortunate as this just adds to everything women see, hear, read that says their body size determines their worthiness. There was political discussion, especially concerning her conservative parents, but it would have been more meaningful had it been in some context (voting rights? racism? LGBT family?) instead of just randomly popping up to remind readers how their views differed from Iris. It would have been great for the parents to have a breakthrough about how their often hurtful comments affected those around them. The Bridesmaids Union was joined by Kyle, a gay man who was going to be in his former boyfriend's wedding party but wanted to win his ex back before the wedding. Kyle was interesting and funny but I really would have enjoyed it more had Kyle had his OWN story (the way the book played out could have been triggered by some other means) and Iris have hers as they really didn't mesh well and it was distracting from the main story (more time could have focused on the main characters). Kyle had a big enough character--funny, charismatic, engaging, to be the star of his own story. This was an enjoyable read--great for summer!
The Bridesmaids Union is a fun summer read for all people who have encountered a Bridezilla in their lifetime.
Iris has a lot of friends getting married, and she has been a bridesmaid in quite a few weddings. And every time, it seems the bride has a break from reality and requires something crazy from her bridesmaids. Anyone who reads Reddit or surfs social media knows the horror stories - brides who asked (former) friends to dye their hair so every bridesmaid has the exact same shade of blond (even the brunettes and redheads); bridesmaids who had to spend thousands on gowns, accessories, and travel, only to be asked to throw elaborate parties as well and give extravagant gifts to the happy couple; brides who never acknowledge all of the hard work her bridesmaids do leading up to and on the wedding day to make sure everything goes off without a hitch.
Iris is tired of it, and, after another bride not acknowledging how she'd saved the day, she complains on a post on Reddit. It gets so much attention, she posts more, and eventually begins a private Facebook group called The Bridesmaid Union, where women (and men) can vent about crazy weddings and friends, and support each other through the trials of being a bridesmaid or bridesman.
The Bridesmaid Union is a success, and Iris uses it as a sounding board as she is a bridesmaid once again, this time for her younger sister, Jasmine. She and Jasmine used to be close, but haven't been in recent years. But Jasmine wants her to be the Maid of Honor, and Iris agrees, knowing that this will be difficult. Jasmine has expensive taste, and Iris is barely hanging on financially. She has a 5-year-old son, Mason, who she is raising alone. Her former fiance left her, and never knew he fathered a child. Her family helps (but not without strings) so Iris tries to do as much as she can on her own.
There are many funny moments that women who have been bridesmaids will definitely identify with, as well as moments when your heart goes out to Iris as she tries to handle parenthood, sexual harassment at work, demanding family members, and reaching out to her former fiance, as her son keeps asking about his dad.
Of course, things go wrong (sometimes very wrong) as her sister's wedding approaches. Can Iris pull it together and make things right for her sister, and for herself?
This is more meaty than some summer reads, but for me, that made it a much more enjoyable book. Thanks to Netgalley for the advance copy. I voluntarily read and reviewed an advanced copy of this book. All thoughts and opinions are my own.
Thank you to St. Martin's Press for this ARC in exchange for an honest review!
The Bridesmaids Union by Jonathan Vatner is a lovely contemporary fiction novel that will appeal to fans of Bridezillas or Say Yes to the Dress. The story revolves around Iris, who has recently become the moderator of a Facebook group for bridesmaids to share their horror stories. When her spoiled sister Jasmine decides to get married, Iris gets plenty of juicy details to share online. But when the wedding hits bumps in the road, will Iris support her sister or relish in her downfall?
Here is a hilarious excerpt from an opening chapter:
"As she stared at her phone, a thought occurred to her. An online community of bridesmaids might understand the frustration of saving your best friend’s wedding without her acknowledging your work, of receiving gaudy sandals as a bridesmaid present, or of being asked to rustle up needless parting gifts. Iris googled “bridesmaid horror stories” and found an article recapping the most egregious situations from a subgroup on Reddit. According to one bridesmaid, the bride had demanded she lose ten pounds before the wedding. Another had handwritten all the table cards at the bride’s request, only to discover at the wedding that the perfectionist bride had hired a professional to redo them all. A third caught the groom kissing the bride's mother. Reading these posts, Iris felt understood. She refilled her wineglass and navigated to the original Reddit page, created an anonymous account, and began to write."
Overall, The Bridesmaids Union is an absolutely hilarious contemporary fiction novel. One highlight of this book is how funny it is. There were moments that made me laugh out loud. Who hasn't experienced a dreary wedding at the hands of a bride or groom who should be treating everyone with a bit more respect? This book was fun and would make the perfect beach read. If you're intrigued by the excerpt above, or if you're a fan of books about weddings, I highly recommend that you check out this book when it comes out in June!
I previously gave 5-stars to Carnegie Hill and really loved the ensemble of flawed characters, so I was excited to read this one. But this book did not hit in the same way. It had some great moments, and I debated giving it 4-stars, but I didn't love it and I did not "really like" it.
This ensemble of flawed characters was more unlikable than flawed. There are parents who may love their children but are still pretty nightmarish. There is a sister who may have some good parts and loves her sisters in ways we only understand at the end, but she is still a nightmare human overall. I'm still not ready to be thrust back to 2018, and though the president is just a backdrop here, the hurt, divisiveness, and ripping apart of families is front and center. But the biggest issue is the main character, Iris. First presenting as just not smart and quite naïve, she ends up making bad decisions at every turn and it's soon clear that she is very selfish.
I think a book about nightmare brides would be hilarious, and there are hilarious parts here. But when everyone involved is a nightmare, it loses the element of comedy and becomes a cringy trudge. The story also sometimes jumped around, with Iris understanding or knowing situations without any lead up, or explanation to the reader.
This sounds like I hated the book, but I did not, and I think people who have been in Iris's awful bridesmaid situations might enjoy it more than I did. My bridesmaid times were pre-internet, so I never had to deal with IG-crazy brides, or the expectation that you have to shell out thousands of dollars as a bridesmaid. I can't relate to that situation so all I see is awful people.
Do better, Brides, and Bridesmaids too.
Thank you to NetGalley for the copy in exchange for an honest review. I mostly enjoyed this, and my love of Carnegie Hill will ensure that I'll still look forward to the next Jonathan Vatner book.
Brides can often demand more than is reasonable, or even possible, and expect their bridesmaids to support them no matter how ridiculous the bride is being. In THE BRIDESMAIDS UNION, by Jonathan Vatner, Iris Hagarty creates a Facebook group to vent about her experiences as a bridesmaid. It gives her instant relief and seeing other's crazy experiences help her feel less alone. As the Facebook group grows and Iris becomes maid of honor, Iris' life quickly becomes complicated and she is barely holding on. Will Iris be able to balance everything or is a collapse inevitable? Vatner has singular wit and style to this book. Iris Hagarty is clearly the focus of the book, but Vatner creates a true kaleidoscope of characters around Iris. All of them are clearly described and quickly the reader can begin to predict how each person will react to each situation. The fascinating part of the book is that Vatner posits Iris as the variable. As much as the reader gets to know Iris, her life is in such a state of flux and her vision of the future so muddled that Iris is quite unpredictable. That unpredictability is what makes every interaction exciting and keeps the reader on their toes as to what is going to happen. Vatner touches on some current issues, like social media perception vs reality of a person and how conflict can arise is families were there political views don't align, but I found myself wanting to spend as much time with Iris as possible and where her life is going and I wanted to push aside anything that wasn't about her directly. Everyone has come across a bridezilla at some point and THE BRIDESMAIDS UNION looks at how people handle them A reader will enjoy considering which approach is best when reading this book and perhaps revaluate their stance. Thank you to St. Martin's Press, Jonathan Vatner, and Netgalley for a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review!
This book was not what I expected. It was a great storyline, but I did not enjoy it as much as I thought I would.
Iris Hagarty is a single mom and bridesmaid professional, or so it would seem so with as many times as she has played the part. Frustrated with the reactions of brides she has been a bridesmaid for, she takes to Facebook for an outlet. Unfortunately, as the way of the world, it was not a good idea and things blew up in her face. Will she recover from the fall out?
First off, I would like to say the story line itself was a good one, but I found that the author put too much political stuff in it. The political stuff did not fit into the storyline for me. I felt it was misplaced and took away from the actual characters and their true story.
Second, I felt like Iris was a bit of a push over throughout most of the book. People were constantly running her over and taking advantage of her. Her character made some terrible decisions throughout the whole book and I did not agree with her grudges she held against her sister, then again, I found her sister to be self-centered, superficial, vain and inconsiderate. The other characters in the book were just as bad. The only character I really loved was Rose. She was so level headed and welcoming, yet reserved and calm.
Overall, the book had a good plot and the delivery was spot on. The author did a good job creating the characters and there was plenty of depth and creativity when writing their stories. I enjoyed most of the book, except the political side of it. It was a very interesting storyline and I was happy with the outcome. There were some times I got extremely frustrated with Iris’s character and how she is blind to a lot of things. Especially when it came to her own son.
I have to give this book three stars because of the political aspects and enjoyment of the book.
This is my first experience with this author, and I enjoyed the book! I enjoyed some things and some didn't quite work for me as a reader.
One, I loved the concept of a sister/perpetual bridesmaid creating a secret Facebook group for fellow bridesmaids to air their grievances against bridezillas. Clearly, the author did his homework here because the outlandish wedding requests and the people suffering through them did make me laugh. The way this plot line unfolds serves a cautionary tale of sorts because the Internet can be such a horrible place at times. Influencer culture has never made sense to me, but this book just really played up this angle well!
Two- I appreciated the character of Iris trying to do what is right for her son and for her sister. Can see some middle child vibes here, and I liked how she got perspective from her older sister, Rose. Emotional distance helped Iris see her life for what it was-- a bit of a mess! Iris can be likeable as a character, but her decision-making sometimes frustrated me a bit.
The things that didn't quite come together for me-- the religion and politics angle. I get it is set in 2018- the thick of the Trump presidency and how it did divide some families. It just seemed so weirdly interspersed along with the evangelical Christian pieces. I feel like this could be dialed back a bit. Clearly, this did play a role in the family dynamics here, BUT the author also alluded to things that happened when Iris and Jasmine were girls that led to some sibling rivalry/family divide.
Thank you Netgalley and St. Martin's Press for this ARC in exchange for my honest thoughts on the book.
*this e-arc was sent to me by the publisher to give an honest review in return*
This was a good book about a woman who becomes a moderator of a Facebook bridesmaid venting group and loses control with taking care of both the group and being her sister’s maid of honor. I liked the plot of the story as I thought it was unique and different. I also wanted to see how a male author can pull off writing a female’s pov. The pacing was great in this book and I enjoyed the many conflicts thrown in. There was a good bit of humor but I have to say that the politics and religion topics kind of threw off this book. Without it, it would have been so much better.
So this book is written in Iris’ pov and I enjoyed her character. She is a single mother who needs a place to rant but also wants to make her family happy. She was such a pure, relatable character and her development throughout the book was great. There were also many side characters in this book whom some you will hate and some you will love. They were very involved with the story and helped the MC on her journey. I enjoyed the family theme in this book but was disappointed with the lack of romance. This book is tagged as romance so I was expecting something as a huge romance lover.
The ending was great and I enjoyed the overall story. What just kind of threw it off for me was all the politic and religion talk which was not necessary to the story. Overall this was a great read and I think many readers who have been bridesmaid will relate to this story.
***I received an ARC from Net Galley in exchange for my honest review
Iris Hagarty is sick and tired of weddings - the expense, the stress, the bridezillas. Every time she turns around it seems like she is being asked to be in another wedding party, and shell out a small fortune. Her credit card is already maxed out, and her sister just announced she is getting married and guess who is going to be the maid of honor????? Jasmine has always been spoiled and a bit entitled and this wedding is sure to bring out all of her worst qualities as a bride. Because Iris has never felt like she had a voice, she starts a private Facebook group called "The Bridesmaids Union", where women like her can go to vent about their horrible wedding stories, and commiserate with each other. It is supposed to be a place to let off steam, and support each other, but when something goes terribly wrong and private posts get made public, friendships (and relationships) are put to the test...and not all of them will survive the fallout. I thoroughly enjoyed this book. The posts in the Facebook group were hilarious, as were many other parts of the book, and this rom-com not only had comedy and romance, but a good storyline and a good lesson to be learned as well. I loved Iris and was really rooting for her. Her sister on the other hand was definitely a bridezilla. If you are a fan of chick-lit or rom-com's, then you definitely need to check this one out!
Twentysomething single mom Iris Hagarty is a regular on the bridesmaid circuit, frequently spending more than she can afford for hideous dresses, drunken bachelorette parties, and wedding travel. When she isn't racking up more credit card debt in support of another friend-turned-bridezilla, Iris is avoiding the advances of her creepy married boss and avoiding her parents' evangelical opinions.
When her younger sister and parents' favorite Jasmine gets engaged, Iris isn't sure whether she yearns to be involved or craves detachment. Jasmine is an entrepreneur, hell-bent on using her upcoming nuptials to grow her IG likes and followers. In desperation, Iris forms a secret Facebook group called The Bridesmaids Union, where bridesmaids can share their horror stories and commiserate. Soon, Iris gets drawn into the drama of the group, one member in particular, while trying to deal with her own family drama.
Sometimes hilarious, sometimes cringey, and sometimes heartbreaking, THE BRIDESMAIDS UNION is a chronicle of this time in history, where people become famous for being famous and appearances can count more than reality. As Iris seemingly hits rock bottom, she climbs her way back to a more content existence. #TheBridesmaidsUnion #NetGalley