Celine's Reviews > Not Another Family Wedding

Not Another Family Wedding by Jackie  Lau
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it was amazing
bookshelves: 2019-read, 2019-scribd, scribd, contemporary-romance

I loved this book. Objectively, it's not really a 5-star book, more 4, but I loved the heroine so much that I can't be objective. I will go over what's not perfect about the book after I go over why I loved it so much.

Natalie has had a hard time with love and, while she still believes in it for other people, she doesn't think she'll ever find it. She doesn't want kids and I thought the way the choice to either have or not have kids created a nice, nuanced discussion of the subject with different characters who made different decisions that I don't typically see in books. Not wanting kids has made dating harder for Natalie and she has a lot of baggage related to what previous boyfriends, family members, and just society in general have told her about herself in relation to her decision. While this is one issue that leads to the main conflict in the book, which is Natalie's insecurities, the bigger issue that leads to her insecurities is the fact that she's internalized the prejudice that society has for people who aren't naturally sunny and optimistic every second of every day. She believes she's just too unlikable and unworthy of love because she's not sunshine, lollipops, and rainbows all the time. The fact that negative reviews on Goodreads basically say Natalie doesn't deserve Connor because she's too prickly and unlikable prove that her insecurities are justified. The thing is, Natalie isn't really the negative, Debbie Downer type of character that many people made her out to be and also convinced her that she is. Her family helps her realize this and makes her realize that the way others may see her isn't actually the real her and that people who really get to know her see that and love her.

Connor, the hero, has much less issues. He also doesn't want kids which led to his divorce. He's more of a sweet, easygoing person than Natalie. The fact that he's been her friend for 18 years means he has actually gotten to know the real Natalie and he actually appreciates her personality. He also knows her defense mechanisms and when she's using them against him.

Together, they were a sweet couple who felt mainly drama-free except for one issue that leads to the big conflict. I think the problems in the book lay with the fact that it's more telling than showing. There's a lot of internal monologue that won't work for a lot of people. Also the entire conflict really is one person dealing with years worth of insecurities based on not fitting into the role that society wants women to fit into. Grumpy men are beloved in romance novels, grumpy women not so much and it's the same way in real life. I can see why the lack of external conflict and the lack of any conflict on Connor's part could bother people. As for the not wanting child issue, I didn't have a problem with how it was handled but could see how some people might have one. For me, both Natalie and Connor wanted to wait until they were sure this wasn't just a friends-with-benefits situation before having the kid discussion. Something happens to force the issue and make it come out on the night they had both planned to bring it up, but in a way that wasn't constructive because Natalie was acting on her insecurities and reacting to the way men in her past had treated her instead of listening to Connor. This felt very real and I liked that the author didn't feel the need to show Natalie in a sympathetic light in that situation, but trusted the reader use their previous knowledge of Natalie to know where her outburst was coming from then used the rest of the book to show her overcoming the issues that led to the outburst.

Overall, I loved this book for personal reasons, specifically seeing a heroine who isn't happy-go-lucky all of the time, who is shown dealing with insecurities based on societal and family issues, who is shown as flawed and not perfect, but is still lovable. Of course, my fantasy didn't last long since the first thing I saw when rating it was a one-star review about how Connor deserved better than unlikable Natalie, but I already knew in real life a Natalie would have an even harder time finding love and very likely not find it.
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Reading Progress

October 20, 2018 – Shelved
October 20, 2018 – Shelved as: to-read
March 31, 2019 – Started Reading
April 1, 2019 – Shelved as: 2019-read
April 1, 2019 – Shelved as: 2019-scribd
April 1, 2019 – Shelved as: scribd
April 1, 2019 – Shelved as: contemporary-romance
April 1, 2019 – Finished Reading

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