Review: Otherwise Engaged

Otherwise Engaged: A NovelOtherwise Engaged: A Novel by Suzanne Finnamore
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

Otherwise Engaged is a book about a woman who, like many of her species, is anxious to land a husband. In the first several pages, she employs her will and her not inconsiderable knowledge of Psychological Manipulation of the Human Male to get her boyfriend to propose. She is elated for about two days, at which point she begins to suffer buyer’s remorse….

The protagonist/narrator of this book is not easy to like, probably predominantly because she is so believable in her insecurity and shallowness. Nothing seems good enough, nothing is easy enough, nothing is the fairy tale she’d anticipated. She loves the idea of being engaged, but not actually BEING engaged. She wanted to be married, but the prospect of actual marriage terrifies her. What if her wedding isn’t perfect? What if her man isn’t perfect? What if her perfect life isn’t perfect?

Upon reaching the end of the book, though, you actually kind of feel for her. After all, the doubts she experiences are only exaggerated versions of those any bride-to-be might feel. The fights, the doubts, the heartbreaks – they’re all quite, depressingly believable.

And it is, as advertised, pretty funny.

Still, you just sort of want to smack her and her globetrotting, got-made-partner, expensive shoe-buying ways.

The most telling thing about this book, I think, is that while it is rather obvious that the protagonist DOES in fact love her guy, she never once says the words – to him, or to us as she tells the story.

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November is for NaNoing

I thought this picture of me enjoying being the YWP facilitator was cute enough to double-post from the creative writing blog:


I grouse a little bit – or at least, I have this year – about how running the YWP takes away all my time to actually write my own novel. When I have a block of time to write, I spend it updating sticker charts or writing memos or updating the creative writing blog or having infuriating and/or charming conversations with the student participants. The more years I do this, the more I realize that this is either NOT really a one-woman job, or that facilitating and writing are mutually exclusive.

But for all that, it’s dreadfully fun. Lists! And stickers! And silly prizes! And events! And t-shirts! Whee!

Speaking of t-shirts, this year’s were Meredith’s handiwork, taken from a sketchy idea I had and turned into an awesome reality. They’re printed in lightly metallic gold on a crimsony maroon (our school colors) and feature a steampunk-inspired wildcat robot with an old-timey typewriter. Wait – here, you can see for yourself. Cool, huh? (And Jessica, when I debuted mine – in the photo above – I wore my watch gear earrings. :))

BTW – if you’re wondering why I’m wearing a viking hat, I kind of explain it on the CW blog. It’s a NaNo thing.

All right… I figure if I write 3,000-4,000 words a day from here until December, I might actually beat this darn thing. Ha ha, ha ha, ha ha. So I guess I’ll go, erm, write?