The Christmas Wedding - James Patterson, Richard DiLallo
8/25/12: Yeah, this is just not going to happen. Every time I look at this book and think about picking it back up I have the same reaction I do to the prospect of drinking prune juice. I'm not going to continue to torture myself with this one.2/03/12: I just, I don't think I can, guys. I'm not going to rate this (it will be one star) and mark it as flounced…yet. I'll make that decision later, after I attempt to pick it up again. But it is such an unenjoyable read that I'm not sure I can make myself keep reading.The premise of the story is so stupid. The bride of this Christmas Wedding is Gaby. She's in her fifties and lost her husband four years ago. She has decided it's time to be loved again and how serendipitous! Three, good looking, eligible bachelors of suitable age have asked her to marry them at the same time! So she has decided to use the occasion to manipulate her four children and their families. To find out who Gaby will marry, they must all show up to the wedding – on Christmas day. Which, they haven't been together since her husband died, okay. The problem is, she won't tell the three men who proposed to her who she has chosen until their wedding day. So this supposedly caring, loving person has decided that for her to have something "for her" she has to deal heartbreak and humiliation to two men she claims to love as friends and force them to watch her marry the third in front of a bunch of other people. Nope, not a selfish bitch at all. She's so hip and with it that she makes video messages for her kids…and then sends them Fed Ex to the kids instead of putting them up on YouTube or something. (This was published October of last year.) Gaby is the kind of egotistical woman who makes her grandchildren call her by her first name because grandma "makes her skin itch." Cue my epic eye roll. She's supposed to be such a caring, giving person who has spent her life doing for others and even feeds the homeless in her barn every day (though she actually says she feels like they should pay something for the meal and collects whatever money they can give). Really she completely reminds me of but she has none of Blanche's wit, charm, and self-awareness. Then there are her children – we have to jump between all of their stories like a soap opera. There's Claire, who is dealing with a worthless pothead husband and her burgeoning worthless pothead son. Except she's not dealing with them. Instead she coddles them both and then wonders why her life is the way it is. It's one thing that she can't figure out what to do about her useless, now abusive husband, but everything her son is doing is to be exactly like his father. Would she really not attempt to do anything about him? Reading some of the other one star reviews, there's more messed up stuff with this kid and the pot smoking that will cause me massive amounts of rage. Gaby's other daughter Emily is basically perfect. Columbia law, law review, published note, big law job out of school, on the partner track and is the firm superstar, she's even perfect at her pro bono work! I can't relate to this woman and I just graduated from a New York law school! I will grant you that there is a lot of bitterness and jealousy working at me on this one, but I cannot be alone in being bored and annoyed with super perfect characters – regardless of profession. To top it off, her husband is a superstar neurosurgeon resident. Of course. The only characters I like are Gaby's other two children Seth and Lizzie and their families. They're very relatable characters, but of course they're going through really trying and sad times. Still, they were the only ones who kept my interest. If I start reading the book again it will be for them. Unfortunately, not enough time is spent with them, and there appears to be no depth to their stories on the horizon. I suppose the Lizzie/Mark situation is also supposed to give us a glimpse into caring, loving Gaby, and I did like her in those chapters, but it's not enough to change my view of her primary character.