The Prairie Bridesmaid
by Daria Salamon
Just cresting her thirties, Anna Lasko is a frustrated high school teacher whose almost ex-boyfriend, Adam, is away on temporary assignment in Europe. She finds herself tricked into a break-up-with-the-bad-boyfriend intervention by her supportive but meddling girlfriends. To cope with it all, Anna starts smoking again, keeps nightly counsel with her backyard squirrel, Buddy, and starts sessions with a caring but fashion-challenged therapist. Her well-intentioned family adds to the emotional workload when her beautiful and free-spirited sister decides to move to the Middle East with her boyfriend. Luckily, Anna has her gun-toting grandmother who constantly says it like it is, refuses to conform to anyone’s requests, and continues to live on her prairie farm half-blind, happy, and alone. (goodreads.com)
This book belongs to a friend of mine and if she hadn’t shoved it at me last summer and said, “You have to read this. It’s great and now that I know the background behind it, it’s even better.” There are reasons my friend has this book and met the author. It all happened on her summer vacation last year. But this post isn’t about that. It’s about how I forgot that I had the book in my overhead bin at work and only saw it when I was on a cleaning binge in July. Oops.
So before my friend went on her vacation this year, I took the book home and started to read it. I was pleasantly surprised by how much I did enjoy the book. It’s been so difficult for me to read lately. Nothing holds my attention and even though I have mountains of books to be read in my own home, they are all annoying me at present. I start one and get about 5 pages, or maybe an entire chapter in, and then I am tossing the book aside in a huff thinking, “GAH! This is so STUPID! Why are all books the SAME?!” So, right now? Right now a book will only capture my attention if it’s original enough and had compelling characters and is written in a voice I can tolerate in my curmudgeonly phase.
I don’t really want to categorize this book as “Chick Lit” because of many reasons – the first one being that I hate that term. The second one being that most people seem to associate Chick Lit with Romantic Comedy and this isn’t either of those things. Sure the book has its humourous moments, but it’s not a book about romance.
It’s a book about a woman living her life and trying to escape a very bad relationship. It’s about friendship between women who love each other dearly and all have their own paths in life.
This sort of reminded me of Janet Evanovich crossed with Sara Addison Allen. Anna’s grandmother certainly has Grandma Mazur vibes (I think they’d be friends) and the characters are real and raw as in Sara Addison Allen novels.
And it all takes place in Winnipeg, Manitoba. So, there’s that. Very rare to have a Canadian location in a book that isn’t Toronto or Vancouver. 😉 There ARE other places in my country. They are just quieter.
This isn’t a new book. This is a book you may happen across when you browse – really browse – the shelves in your local (Canadian) bookstore. But I’d give it a chance if you come across it because it’s quite charming and emotional and it will make you laugh out loud once in a while.