I Do (But I Don't)
Cara Lockwood
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I Do (But I Don't)

Cara Lockwood
Downtown Press
320 pages
June 2003
rated 4 1/2 of 5 possible stars

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Lauren Crandell, a junior wedding consultant, is narrates I Do (But I Don't). She tells the readers all about her compulsive neatness and organizational skills, along with the frustration that plagues her due to uncontrollable hair, her queenly boss G (with her vindictive cat), and she dishes on the various wedding shenanigans she’s witnessed and is still witnessing – all this done in a most self-deprecating, brutally honest and hilarious way, much in the manner of two girlfriends swapping stories and revealing everything, warts and all. Cara Lockwood's humorous writing style endears Lauren to the reader, and the rest of the book follows the tone set in the first few pages.

One fine day, when two weddings in a row go haywire, Lauren meets and falls for a handsome firefighter named Nick. Only Nick turns out to be the groom at the next wedding she’s been hired to orchestrate, and Lauren is devastated. But things are not quite as they seem, and in the process of discovering who is who and coping with some of the most psychotic immoral brides and their equally loopy family and friends, Lauren makes significant discoveries about herself, gradually coming to terms with her divorce and managing to learn how not to let people walk all over her. This process is filled with a series of madcap adventures, and soon this wedding planner learns that you can’t plan love, least of all the true kind.

For Cara Lockwood’s maiden effort, I Do (But I Don't) has turned out extremely well. It belongs to the growing and popular "chick-lit" category, designed to (and certainly succeeding) in entertaining the female reader. After reading the book, if the reader begins to feel that it all sounds quite familiar, there could be two reasons. One reason could be that you saw the Jennifer Lopez movie The Wedding Planner; reason number two would be that at one time or the other, you underwent a marriage ceremony. The book is chock-full of wedding stories, and the humorously exaggerated descriptions, based on reality, are sure to strike a chord with many of the readers. The plot of the book is similar but not identical to that of the movie, and this in a way makes a part of the book predictable. Lauren is the most dominant character; everything is told from her perspective, and this wedding planner is alternately endearing and pitiable. The story on whole is light, but it does deal with a few weighty issues like that of regaining one’s self-respect after divorce. Overall, it’s fun, it’s entertaining and it's enjoyable.

© 2003 by Rashmi Srinivas for Curled Up With a Good Book

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