I Wished for You
by Amy Huberman
Published by Penguin
Genre: chick lit
Thanks to NetGalley for the preview
3 / 5
Do you ever read a book and think to yourself, “This author is trying WAY too hard?” Perhaps there is too much – too much plot, too much sex (wait … what?), too much cuteness, too much effort. There is a prevailing sense of desperation to make you laugh or think or cry or something.
Such is the case with this book.
The premise is solid: Grace is a bridesmaid in yet another wedding, and as she approaches thirty, what everyone wants to know is when she’ll be the one in the fluffy white dress. She and solid boyfriend Robbie bought a house together, he keeps saying they will get married some day. But … when she catches the bouquet, she sees Robbie’s face fall. Doubts creep in, even if Grace is unaware of them. Does she want to marry Robbie after all? And so she heads to a kitschy place in Ireland where one makes wishes that will come true. Is Robbie who Grace wishes to have, or is there another man out there who will capture her heart?
See? Solid premise. The problem is that Huberman TRIES TOO HARD. The little stories that populate this book, whether from explaining how Grace nearly drowned in a fountain or how she and Robbie came to have a cat, get tedious. Just when you get into the rhythm of the story, here comes Huberman with another cutesy memory of Grace’s, another “gosh, aren’t we fun!” story, that serves no purpose other than to annoy us readers. Grace is lovely. Her friends are a bit cookie cutter-ish in that friends-with-quirks kind of way, but that’s not so bad, actually. We can’t get to know them, truly, because the pacing keeps getting interrupted. What clearly is meant to draw us closer to the story and characters instead pushes us away.
At times it almost reads like you’re watching a stand up routine at Vinnie’s Yuk Yuk Club, and I found myself wondering what this book would have been like without all of the blatant attempts at humorous shtick. Yes, parts of it are funny. Yes, parts are sweet and heartwarming. Yes, parts sort of break your heart. Yes, yes, yes. But wrapped around this book is an overwhelming sense of Try Hard.
And it doesn’t work.