Something New: Tales from a Makeshift Bride: 06/09/16
Something New: Tales from a Makeshift Bride by Lucy Knisley is about wedding planning and all the societal and familial baggage that goes with some an endeavor. It is told as all her previous memoirs, as a graphic novel. And I'll say up front that I loved every panel of it.
If my grandmother we still living, I would have given her a copy of this book. She worked for about fifteen years as a wedding coordinator, and came out of retirement to help plan mine (which she did primarily with soon to be spouse). For about five or so years I worked weekends and summers as her wedding coordinator assistant. I think I attended about a thousand weddings before I even had my first date.
My taken then on weddings is atypical of what the wedding industry thinks a bride-to-be's is or should be. It's not that I was jaded about the process but I had seen so many different versions of the same basic ceremony that I had no preconceived notion of what my ideal wedding would be or an internalized desire to have it just so.
Knisley being twelve years younger than I am spent her first decade as an adult during the time when there was a resurgence of feminist discourse. Add in the changing views of same sex marriage and the old school ideal wedding as sold by the wedding industry is a rather odd thing. Her memoir looks at some of the ingrained sexism of the ceremony as well as the funny way which otherwise long dead style trends just don't die in this industry.
Something New also dives into the individual parts of planning a wedding and a reception and the points where individual expectations can cause strife. For Lucy and her mother a big argument brewed over the music at the reception. She and her fiancé; wanted recorded music. Her mother wanted live music.
For me and my fiancé; we knew we didn't want dancing. We hired his brother's music teacher who was part of a small chamber orchestra. They played live music that was a mixture of classical and folk. It was quiet and atmospheric and low key, perfect for us.
And that's ultimately the point of this memoir. The wedding ceremony and reception serves two purposes. First it gets through the legalities of two people becoming a new familial entity but with some pomp and circumstance. Second it's a party for the closest of friends and family. These two purposes can be at opposition to each other and that's where compromising comes in.
You can see my live blogging of favorite panels on Tumblr.
First Second recently announced that Lucy Knisley is working on her newest graphic novel memoir titled Kid Gloves.