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The Bachelorette Party: A Novel

The Bachelorette Party: A Novel

4.3 94
by Karen McCullah Lutz

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After being left at the altar by her soap star fiancé, Los Angeles high school teacher Zadie Roberts wants nothing more to do with love and romance. With the help of her best buddy Grey and several bottles of wine, she just might survive the trauma of the wedding that wasn't. Unexpectedly, Grey gets engaged to Zadie's prim and proper cousin Helen, and suddenly


After being left at the altar by her soap star fiancé, Los Angeles high school teacher Zadie Roberts wants nothing more to do with love and romance. With the help of her best buddy Grey and several bottles of wine, she just might survive the trauma of the wedding that wasn't. Unexpectedly, Grey gets engaged to Zadie's prim and proper cousin Helen, and suddenly Zadie is dragged back into wedding festivity hell. The coup de grace is Helen's bachelorette party, thrown by her clique of prissy friends and certain to be a day of torture. But when the Pinot Grigiot goes down and the sweater sets come off, things get out of control. Helen turns into a girl gone wild and manages to get herself into a situation that just might sink the happy couple for good. Zadie faces a major debacle: should she tell Grey about Helen's night of indiscretion, or forever hold her peace?

The Bachelorette Party is a remarkable, assured debut. Lutz's terrific characters and sharp insights put this delightful novel a step above the rest.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
It should come as no surprise that the coauthor of the movie Legally Blonde has penned an equally hilarious, female-bonding-inspired romp. Zadie Roberts is an attractive high school teacher who finds herself fantasizing about the young Abercrombie model in her English class as the rest of her friends pair off in grown-up relationships and get hitched. Not that she's against monogamy-her soap opera star fianc recently abandoned her at the altar, leaving her a little bit bitter and a lot horny. When she learns her best friend, Grey, is getting engaged to her perfect, prudish cousin Helen, Zadie thinks the world as she knows it might truly have ended. To make matters worse, Zadie must attend Helen's bachelorette party, complete with tea, yoga and the type of "dull women who have two-hour conversations about the contents of their children's diapers." But then the party takes a naughty turn, and chaste and virtuous Helen sets out to prove that she isn't the "uptight" girl everyone thinks she is. When all is said and done, Zadie must decide if her loyalties lie with her cousin or her best friend. Will she save Grey from a future of unhappiness or simply ruin their friendship forever? Laugh-out-loud funny with a nasty edge, this is chick lit for mean girls. (Feb) Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
Library Journal
Lutz is the co-writer of the hit movie Legally Blonde, so one might expect her first novel to be a perky piece of chick lit. It is, but with a bit more cynicism and seaminess. High school teacher Zadie Roberts is still reeling after being left at the altar by her waiter/actor, now soap star ex-fianc . She relies on the sympathy of her best male friend and drinking buddy, Grey, and the guilty pleasure of sexually fantasizing about one of her students. But then Grey becomes engaged to Zadie's nauseatingly perfect and priggish cousin, Helen. Reluctantly fulfilling her duty as bridesmaid, Zadie attends Helen's bachelorette party: a planned day of yoga, high tea, and other ladylike pursuits. But the day takes a turn after the girls visit the Hustler store for lingerie and sex toys, and the bride decides to paint Los Angeles red. Should Zadie tell Grey about Helen's bad girl behavior? While the novel is solidly written, Zadie's often superior attitude makes her a hard character to like, and the ostentatious vulgarity may not appeal to some. Recommended for larger fiction collections, especially where more cynical women's fiction (e.g., Merrill Markoe's It's My F--ing Birthday) have proven popular.-Lisa Davis-Craig, Canton P.L., MI Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
From the Publisher

“A raunchy, raucous, joyride of a book!” —Jennifer Weiner, author of In Her Shoes

“Un-put-downable” —Cosmopolitan

“Completely delicious and original.” —Heather Graham, actress

“Uproarious” —US Weekly

“Raucously funny with dead-on observations. Grade ‘A'.” —Entertainment Weekly

“I absolutely loved this witty, charming, and wickedly funny book….Lutz introduces a character whose experiences are accurate, poignant, and so hilarious they will make you laugh out loud.” —Amanda Brown, author of Legally Blonde and Family Trust

“Laugh-out-loud funny with a nasty edge, this is chick lit for mean girls.” —Publishers Weekly

“An adorably hilarious book…You won't put it down until you're done.” —Selma Blair, actress

The Bachelorette Party is laugh-out-loud fun and not to be missed!...[It] will keep you turning the pages and hoping for a sequel.” —Jane Heller, author of An Ex to Grind

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Read an Excerpt

The Bachelorette Party

A Novel

By Karen McCullah Lutz

St. Martins Press

Copyright © 2005 Karen McCullah Lutz
All rights reserved.
ISBN: 978-1-4299-0681-4


There was no one in the state of California, on the planet, or in the ozone who wanted to watch Days of Our Lives less than Zadie Roberts. But there she was, stuck in the waiting room of a Jiffy Lube on Ventura Boulevard, forced to stare at Jack Cavanaugh as he portrayed "Nate Forrester," bad boy with a heart of gold. She watched him take off his motorcycle helmet and shake out his shaggy black hair, smoldering all the while, before she got up to change the channel, only to be met with severe opposition from a middle-aged black woman who was painting her nails in two different, alternating shades — pink on one finger, red on the next. "Don't you even think about it. That man's the only thing that gets me through the day."

Zadie sighed and sat back down. She had no desire whatsoever to explain to this woman that she was once engaged to Jack Cavanaugh. That she once stood in the foyer of a church in a big white wedding dress waiting for Jack Cavanaugh to show up. That she once had to hear Jack Cavanaugh's pill-popping mother say, "Well, dear. I guess he's not coming."

Zadie fucking hated Jack Cavanaugh.

She'd met Jack before he was a soap star, back when he was a lowly waiter at Chin Chin. A waiter with the kind of eyes that said, "It'll be a mere matter of seconds before I get your panties off and pleasure you like you've only dreamed of." Those eyes got him his job on Days. And his job on Days got him a big fat ego. And Zadie was no longer being pleasured.

Two years were wasted with Jack. Two years and many thousands of dollars. She paid for the wedding that wasn't. She paid for the acting classes that taught him to smolder. She, who made forty-seven thousand dollars a year in a city where most of the people driving down Sunset in their Escalades and SL500s made that much in a month. At least. So Jack was really the last person she wanted to watch as she waited for her Camry to get lubed. Unless, perhaps, his character was scheduled to die a horrible death.

She sighed and looked at her watch. She still had plenty of time to kill before meeting Grey. He never left the office until seven, because he was in The Industry. And for some odd reason, people in The Industry — the industry being entertainment — worked from ten until seven every day. Although if you called Grey's office at nine, his assistant would answer and pretend he was in a meeting. Entertainment lawyers are always in a meeting or on a call or eating lunch at some overpriced restaurant with their overpaid clients.

For a guy in The Industry, Grey was surprisingly decent. When Jack had pulled his lame-ass disappearance, Grey was the one who sat up with her all night, feeding her tequila shots and Cheez Doodles. Grey was the one who let her vomit on his seagrass carpet. And now, Grey was the one meeting her for their Thursday night ritual of potato skins and Coors Light at Barney's Beanery on Santa Monica Boulevard. The food was cheap and the jukebox had Rick Springfield songs. What more could a girl want? Aside from a husband and a nice house in the Hills.

Zadie looked down at the stack of essays in her lap, wishing they were written on a more interesting topic than the rhetorical strategies used in the work of Frederick Douglass, but such is the nature of twelfth-grade English at Yale-Eastlake, a private school for very smart and very rich teenagers. When she was engaged to Jack, her students had bought her a La Perla nightgown for the honeymoon. When she came back to work on the Monday after the wedding — unmarried — they felt so bad for her they had her car detailed and bought her a spa day at Burke Williams. Her students loved her. Jack, for some reason, clearly did not.

Before Jack, she'd had the normal number of boyfriends that an attractive thirty-one-year-old woman should have had. She'd done her share of dating. And fornicating. And kissing strangers at the valet stand. But she didn't want to kiss strangers anymore. She didn't want to kiss anyone at the moment. She wanted a fucking beer and a plate of potato skins loaded with bacon bits and melted Swiss.

Right at the moment that Jack (as Nate Forrester) was about to make out with an anorexic redhead sporting severely overplucked eyebrows, the mechanic came in to tell Zadie she needed a new gasket of some sort. Her car always needed something new. As soon as she had paid it off, the exact amount of money that used to make up her car payment was now needed to repair some random defect each month. The car gods hated her.

"Do I have to replace it right this second?"

"No. But you should do it in the next couple weeks." He could care less if her car broke down. She could sense it. He had that steroid-fueled "I wanna get to the gym" look. But she couldn't sit in that waiting room for a second longer, so she left it to fate. She'd rather break down on Mulholland than watch Jack pretend to emote.

She got to Barney's Beanery early and sat down in one of the red Naugahyde booths. The kitschy license-plate and assorted-hanging-crap decor never changed. Neither did the graffiti. For as long as she'd been coming here, the words "I licked Vince Vaughn's testicles" had been inked onto the door of the ladies' room stall.

Grey was going to be at least another half hour. She ordered a pitcher of Coors Light and wandered over to the jukebox. Def Leppard was playing. She stuck a dollar in and dialed up "Summer Nights." Then "Jessie's Girl." When John Travolta's sweet voice came booming out of the speakers, she looked over at the bikers sitting at the bar.

"Sorry, guys, I've had a shit day." They scowled and went back to their beers. Zadie didn't care. She needed solace. She'd been forced to watch Jack, and every memory of her Day of Humiliation came rushing back at her: explaining to her parents that the wedding was off because Jack was "missing." Seeing the pity on her cousins' faces. Watching Jack's parents stammer and look at the ground as they tried to make excuses for him. Realizing that none of Jack's groomsmen had shown up, which meant he'd made the decision early enough to tell them, but not her. Realizing that the man she loved valued her feelings so little that he couldn't be bothered to spare her this agony.

Zadie downed her beer and poured herself another. She didn't care if she was drunk by the time Grey showed up. Grey had seen her in far worse condition — snot flowing down her face, mascara streaked to her chin, and in the midst of the aforementioned puking episode. Grey had seen every ugly, petty, disgusting part of her and that's why he was her best friend. Any guy who can watch you hurl Cheez Doodles is a keeper. And when they drove to Tijuana for a night of mindless drunken fun, he let her play the entire Grease soundtrack and even did the "Greased Lightning" moves along with her, through the sunroof. You don't just find friends like that on the street corner.

She'd met Grey at the eighteenth-birthday party of one of her students. It was one of those overblown Hollywood affairs where a Protestant parent felt the need to equal the bat mitzvah of his best friend's daughter, so he hired KC and the Sunshine Band to perform in his Bel Air backyard and invited everyone his daughter knew and everyone he knew and wanted to impress. Grey was his lawyer. And Zadie was the daughter's favorite teacher. Since neither one of them knew anyone else there, they ended up together in the gazebo, doing shots of Jägermeister and making up bios for everyone. The wife was an arms dealer, masquerading as a San Marino debutante. The business partner was a porn star, trying to pretend he had an MBA. None of it was true, but it made them all more interesting.

After the party, they'd ended up at Mel's Diner, devouring cheeseburgers. At two in the morning, they drove up and down Sunset pointing out the hookers. She hadn't had a night that fun in ages. At the time, she'd been engaged to Jack, and Grey had been in a live-in relationship with Angela, an agent at William Morris. Two weeks later, he caught Angela making out with an Asian hip-hop singer at the Viper Room and eight weeks later, Jack left Zadie at the altar.

If they had been really pathetic, they would've ended up sleeping with each other. But since they were only semipathetic, they ended up drinking and eating with each other. A lot. And bitching and moaning. A lot. Pursuits at which they were highly skilled. Besides, Grey had issues. He was a freak about pronunciation. For a surfer, his car was immaculate; if you dared to drop your empty water bottle on the floor, he would pull over. He once broke up with a girl because she drank too much coffee. Issues. She no longer slept with "issues." She was out of the issues business.

When Grey walked in, he looked as if he were ready to kill. As much as, say, Richie Cunningham could look ready to kill. He was far too wholesome looking to convey any actual sense of malice. He plopped down in the booth, dropped his briefcase on the floor, and reached for Zadie's beer, downing it in one gulp and slamming the glass back onto the table.

"Why do I do what I do?" His blue eyes narrowed, as if he'd been pondering this question the entire drive over.

"Because it pays well."

"It doesn't pay well enough for me to have to listen to an actor tell me he should get a million-five when he only got three-fifty on his last project, which bombed and he should've been shot for. I hate actors." He signaled to the waitress for another pitcher. "Yet I am their slave. There is something very wrong with my life."

"If you're looking for an argument from me as to why actors are decent people, you're talking to the wrong girl."

"It's my own fault. I could've been an environmental lawyer. But then I wouldn't have a house. Or a car. I'd have a nice studio apartment and a bus pass. Why does the choice between good and evil have to involve personal comfort? I like my TiVo. I need my pool. Yet to pay for these things, I'm forced to listen to high school dropouts who can't pronounce the word 'sorbet' tell me why they should be making twenty million a movie."

When the pitcher arrived, Zadie asked for a double order of potato skins and filled their glasses. It was obviously going to be a late night. She had enough to bitch about, but if Grey had his own agenda, they'd be there until closing. Which was actually quite a happy thought. It beat going back to her apartment and watching ER.

"I fantasized about one of my students today" She liked opening with a shocker.


"He's eighteen. It's legal. He's also an Abercrombie and Fitch model. I've actually masturbated to the thought of him."

Grey just stared at her, then hoisted his beer in her direction. They clinked glasses and he took off his suit jacket and loosened his tie. "I want details."

"His name is Trevor. He's on the cover of the catalog without a shirt and with khakis so low you can see those little V-shaped muscles that frame his crotch. How am I not supposed to look at that?"

Grey seemed highly amused by this. "Do you get all twitchy when you talk to him in class?"

"No, I'm a professional. Today I handed him back his essay and suggested that he read Dharma Bums if he liked On the Road. Then I watched his ass as he walked away." She took a sip of her beer. Cold Coors Light and salacious gossip. A perfect combo.

"Where did said masturbation take place?"

"Where do you think? In my car. On the way home."

Grey grinned. "I worship you. Have I ever told you that? You are the only woman I know who would admit to masturbating as she drove down Coldwater Canyon."

She rolled her eyes. "Save your praise. I watched Days of Our Lives today. By accident."

"And?" He looked worried. Zadie liked it when he looked worried about her. His worry was merely friendly concern, as opposed to her parents' worry, which was a burden that occasionally sapped her will to live.

"I watched Jack kiss another woman with the same cheesy look on his face that he used to have when he kissed me, which means he acted during our entire relationship — not that I didn't know this." Jack had acted even after their relationship. When he finally called two weeks after the aborted wedding, he pretended he'd been in a Mexican jail. Eventually he admitted that he'd got cold feet and stayed in Vegas with his bachelor party buddies. He felt that he deserved recognition for admitting his flaws, but all Zadie thought he deserved was her foot up his ass. She hadn't talked to him since. She and Grey had driven past his condo once and thrown a beer bottle at his door, but she wasn't proud of it. Or of the time she used a Web site that sends dog-doo to people in the mail. Raging anger and profound aching grief tend to make one act out of sorts.

Grey dug into the potato skins as soon as they hit the table. She respected a man who would eat carbs after five o'clock. Very hard to find in L.A.

"At least you never caught him." He was referring to the Viper Room incident, which he still carried like a vial of mental poison.

"You're dating the most perfect girl in the world. Why do you even care that Angela cheated? You're so beyond her." She spooned some ranch dressing onto her potato skins. Everything's better with ranch dressing. Her life was shit, but as long as it was shit with ranch dressing, she could survive.

"The ones that screw you are burned into your brain. Like I have to tell you." Very true. But Zadie didn't like to admit that Jack still had any power over her. In effect, he didn't. Not over her heart. Only over her ego. Which had begun to erode since the day she took off her veil and put on her "I'm okay" face.

"Have you talked to Helen, by the way?" He said it casually, but his face got all tense, like he was either constipated or concerned about telling her something.

"Don't even tell me you two broke up." Helen was her cousin. When Helen's sister Denise got married last fall, Zadie had dragged Grey along with her to the happy occasion. It was a mere month after her own nonwedding. Zadie had needed him around to ease the pain. However, the pain was not eased by the fact that Grey ended up sucking face with Helen on the dance floor during the reception. People were not supposed to be getting married when she couldn't and people were not supposed to be hooking up when she wasn't. But it wasn't just a hookup. Grey and Helen had actually started dating. And fallen in love. And taken a trip to Napa. You don't take a girl to Napa unless you have intentions.

"Although getting dumped at a wine tasting isn't the worst place I can think of," Zadie said. "At least you can drown your sorrows in a nice merlot." She was joking, but then realized this was actually a possibility and felt bad for saying it. Grey was smitten and she wouldn't wish a broken heart on anyone, despite the fact that Helen wasn't exactly her favorite relative. There were several reasons for this distinction, the most prominent one being that Helen had never done a single bad thing and she never let anyone forget it.

"We're engaged." He said it as he shoved a forkful of melted Swiss into his mouth. As if he were announcing that he just traded in his Saab for a Volvo.

Zadie stared at him. "I'm sorry, it sounded like you just said that you and Helen got engaged. But I know that can't be true, because you would've called me the second it happened, not waited four days to tell me while we're listening to 'Hurts So Good' on the fucking jukebox."

"I couldn't call you from Napa, it would've been too weird. She would've heard, and I can't talk to you in front of her. She's always grabbing the phone and looking at me weird whenever she hears me call you 'Loser.'"

"You're engaged. You and Helen. Are getting married."


There was a buzzing noise in Zadie's head. It was most likely all the blood in her body rushing to protect her brain from this news. "And when is this blessed event taking place?"

"Soon. She told me she booked the hotel the day I told her I loved her. She already bought her dress."

"Helen? I'm sure she bought her dress when she was eighteen. She's had a wedding scrapbook waiting to be filled since her twelfth birthday."

Grey frowned. "You sound angry."

"How could I be angry? My best friend is marrying my cousin and my only semblance of a love life is touching myself while lusting after a teenage boy that I'm supposed to be educating. Why would this upset me?" Zadie rubbed her temples.

Grey refilled her glass. "You're overreacting. Besides, I want you to meet my friend Mike. I'm going to ask him to be one of my groomsmen. I think you'll like him."

Now Zadie was really pissed. "If you mention Mike to me one more time ..."

"What? He's a great guy."

"So you've told me," she said.

"So why won't you meet him?"

"Because I don't want a pity setup. I'm not going to go out with your lame-ass friends just because you don't think I'll ever find anyone on my own."


Excerpted from The Bachelorette Party by Karen McCullah Lutz. Copyright © 2005 Karen McCullah Lutz. Excerpted by permission of St. Martins Press.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

Meet the Author

Karen McCullah Lutz co-wrote the films 10 Things I Hate About You and Legally Blonde. She attended James Madison University in Virginia and currently resides in the Hollywood Hills with her husband Walter and dog Millie. The Bachelorette Party is her first novel.
Karen McCullah Lutz co-wrote the films 10 Things I Hate About You and Legally Blonde. She attended James Madison University in Virginia and currently resides in the Hollywood Hills with her husband Walter and dog Millie. The Bachelorette Party was her first novel.

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Bachelorette Party 4.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 93 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Cute book told with a great sence of humour.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This is the funniest book I have read in a while. I usually read Sophie Kinsella and Marian Keyes and I saw this book on the shelf and decided to give it a shot. I am so glad I did because I seriously did not want to put it down. I would recommend this book to all!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book was very crude and raunchy. There was so much foul language and the characters had no morals. There.was nothing good about this book!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I thought I had this book pegged after reading the first chapter; I'm happy to have been proven wrong.
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LadyBug80 More than 1 year ago
Hilarious! I laughed throughout the entire book!!! Definitely one of my favorites.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
risuena More than 1 year ago
It started off okay, then it went through the predictable events, and ended slightly better. The story was slow working its way to the bachelorette party; there were things, events, or descriptions that could have been edited out without affecting the story much. The bachelorette party itself was standard stuff; I felt like it was the sort of thing where it was probably hilarious and entertaining if you were actually experiencing it or watching it on the screen, but it didn't have the same effect in writing. Honestly the only saving grace or interesting part of the book is the student teacher relationship. That could be a whole book on its own that I would prefer reading with so many issues, taboos, characters to explore. The ending was predictable, cheesy, but it felt you with that feel good feeling I suppose. Overall, it wasn't that funny or that romantic.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is a funny book that kept me laughing. I greatly enjoyed it, but it does deal with sex in a frank and funny way. If you are offended by vulgar language or situations, you might not like it.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Light read. Enjoyed it while away on an RV camping trip.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I laughed until I cried with this book. I passed it around to all my girlfriends and EVERYONE loved it! It's a very light, fun read that you won't be able to put down.
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I enjoyed this book very much. It was a quick read, and tons of fun. I laughed out loud more than once. Completely worth a read.
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