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book coverLauraD’s review of The Best Day of Someone Else’s Life by Kerry Reichs
Chick Lit released from Avon A 6 May 08

If the author’s name sounds familiar, it’s probably because you’ve read one of her mother’s mystery novels. However, Kerry Reichs has written a sweet and funny novel about a young woman still trying to find her own happiness while all around her, everyone else is finding theirs. Well, at least they’re getting married.

Kevin “Vi” Connolly is 27, and obsessed with weddings. Which is a good thing, because she has a lot of them to both be in, and go to. Her friends and acquaintances are falling in love left and right, and not always for the right men. Meanwhile, Vi needs to find someone to escort her to the weddings, figure out a way to pay for the clothes, travel, and gifts required, and somewhere along the way find her own Mr. Right. The problem is, she’s still obsessed with Caleb, who she decided at age 17 was The One. Caleb has come back into her life, but he’s not acting like he’s The One, and then there’s this guy she meets at a wedding, Niall.

The Best Day of Someone Else’s Life has a secondary cast of several other important characters besides Vi, Caleb, and Niall. Imogen, Vi’s best friend, is a snarky blonde with a great heart and the kind of best friend you hope to have. Ethan, her best guy friend. Then there is Ben, who Vi really only knows through email and phone orders as he helps her with her gift shopping-Ben is actually one of my favorite characters in the book.

One of my frequent issues with chick lit characters is their self-centeredness. While Vi might be self-focused, it wasn’t in the “poor pitiful me” way that I think turns many readers off chick lit style writing. Vi is just, like so many twentysomethings, trying to figure out where her life is going. The weddings might be the premise of the book, but they aren’t what it’s about. Vi might be a little late to the dance at times, but she sees her faults and she’s a good friend.

The author does a wonderful job of portraying friendships and families. Vi’s relationship with Caleb was authentic and the beginning of her romance with Niall was great. Where I thought the novel faltered was it’s ending-the final chapter moved abruptly into the romance genre. While I love a good romance, it was just a completely different mood and style from the rest of the book. Don’t get me wrong, I felt the characters ended up in the right place for the story, I just felt the book could have ended with chapter 45; 46 seemed like the epilogue in a romance novel.

I definitely recommend The Best Day of Someone Else’s Life. I enjoyed getting to know Vi and her friends, and watching Vi grow and change. The characters read as true-to-life, and it’s a solid novel about friendship and love.

Kerry Reichs is always going to be the daughter of Kathy Reichs, who has built a multi-media career out of her Temperance Brennan mystery series. However, if she keeps writing clever and readable books like this one, she won’t be seeing her mother’s name mentioned every time one of her own books is published!

laurad_opt1.jpgGrade B+

Despite being cursed with a boy’s name, Kevin “Vi” Connelly is seriously female and a committed romantic. The affliction hit at the tender age of six when she was handed a basket of flower petals and ensnared by the “marry-tale.” The thrill, the attention, the big white dress-it’s the Best Day of Your Life, and it’s seriously addictive. But at twenty-seven, with a closetful of pricey bridesmaid dresses she’ll never wear again, a trunkful of embarrassing memories, and an empty bank account from paying for it all, the illusion of matrimony as the Answer to Everything begins to fray. As her friends’ choices don’t provide answers, and her family confuses her more, Vi faces off against her eminently untrustworthy boyfriend and the veracity of the BDOYL.

Eleven weddings in eighteen months would send any sane woman either over the edge or scurrying for the altar. But as reality separates from illusion, Vi learns that letting go of someone else’s story to write your own may be harder than buying the myth, but just might help her make the right choices for herself.