The Best Day of Someone Else's Life

The Best Day of Someone Else's Life

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by Kerry Reichs

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Despite being cursed with a boy's name, Kevin "Vi" Connelly is seriously female and a committed romantic. The affliction hit at the tender age of six when she was handed a basket of flower petals and ensnared by the "marry-tale." The thrill, the attention, the big white dress—it's the Best Day of Your Life, and it's seriously addictive. But at twenty-seven,

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Despite being cursed with a boy's name, Kevin "Vi" Connelly is seriously female and a committed romantic. The affliction hit at the tender age of six when she was handed a basket of flower petals and ensnared by the "marry-tale." The thrill, the attention, the big white dress—it's the Best Day of Your Life, and it's seriously addictive. But at twenty-seven, with a closetful of pricey bridesmaid dresses she'll never wear again, a trunkful of embarrassing memories, and an empty bank account from paying for it all, the illusion of matrimony as the Answer to Everything begins to fray. As her friends' choices don't provide answers, and her family confuses her more, Vi faces off against her eminently untrustworthy boyfriend and the veracity of the BDOYL.

Eleven weddings in eighteen months would send any sane woman either over the edge or scurrying for the altar. But as reality separates from illusion, Vi learns that letting go of someone else's story to write your own may be harder than buying the myth, but just might help her make the right choices for herself.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly

Reichs is the daughter of bestselling thriller writer Kathy Reichs, and her cute romantic comedy debut makes BDOYL syndrome-imagining your wedding day as the "Best Day of Your Life"-scarily palpable. A 20-something Washington, D.C., wine buyer, "Vi" Connelly (née Kevin-her parents expected a boy) embarks on an excruciating, crushingly expensive odyssey: she attends more weddings than you can count on two hands in less than two years, all the while searching for the love of her life, and mooning over her lost first love Caleb Carter. Fans of Meg Cabot's 27 Dresses will find that Reichs rewards those patient enough to sit through all the toasts, and Vi's Web store purchases allow for some comic e-mail-based retail moments. (May)

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The Best Day of Someone Else's Life
By Kerry Reichs
HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. Copyright © 2008 Kerry Reichs
All right reserved.

ISBN: 9780061438578

Chapter One

My First, Her Third

The first wedding I ever went to was my aunt's third, and it wouldn't be her last.

My aunt Jackie was beautiful, and demanded attention like neon graffiti on a church. She gave me my first taste of schnapps, a delicious, minty syrup that I later learned was good when drunk sparingly and disastrous when guzzled. Most importantly, Jackie gave me my first taste of the BDOYL.

At age six I was too young to realize that Jackie's (third) wedding was the beginning of my indoctrination. That my participation in the wedding ritual was intended to sucker me down my own bridal path, ring on my finger as firmly as a bit between the teeth, to what the world would view as my greatest accomplishment: the Best Day Of Your Life. The BDOYL begs the question of why girls are so eager to get married if it's all downhill from there. After the vows, does life hold only lesser happinesses, the mildly unfulfilling expectation that today might be the Second Best Day Of Your Life—but only if it's really, really good? Like winning the lottery, having a baby, or bumping into the ninth grade bully Susan Bland and seeing that she'd gotten fat and had some sort of skin condition while you had your skinny pants on.

But, as my aunt was having one of the three greatest days of her life (thus far), my brainwashing commenced. I was oblivious, ofcourse. I was never very bright that way. It was third grade before I figured out the bait-and-switch of the New Lunch Box. Each August, I'd happily trail my mother to pick out a new My Little Pony or Strawberry Shortcake lunch box, eager to strut the new model at school. Dazzled by my shiny object, I'd be unwrapping my cream cheese and jelly sandwich the first day before realizing I'd been duped into a classroom prison for the whole year. With my aunt's wedding, instead of a lunch box, I was given a basket of flower petals, and instead of school, I was sucked into an elaborate "marry" tale about the BDOYL.

My encoding would progress from merrily scattering rose petals to the doctrinal texts of Cinderella, Snow White, Sleeping Beauty, and Sweet, Savage Love. (What can I say? I was a precocious reader.) Then came the junior preparatory rituals. I staged weddings between Barbie and Ken, and between my Sea Wees mermaid dolls and my brother's G.I. Joes, blissfully ignoring the sticky I-live-on-land-you-live-underwater issue. No problemo. It's true love. I would later observe similar avoidance in many a Determined Bride, myopically focusing on her glorious BDOYL and railroading blindly past warning flares: Fiancé has never filed an income tax return, Fiancé spends more on cosmetics than you, or Fiancé drives an '82 El Camino and calls it a "venerable classic." Worry not. It's true love.

Eventually the BDOYL Story led to eleven trips down the aisle, nine one-wear-only dresses in colors to make the blind wince, seven pairs of dyed-to-match shoes, thirteen Very Humiliating Moments, six seriously regretted hook-ups, one sprained ankle, four allergic reactions, seven stitches, multiple hangovers, and a total cost exceeding $56,800. And that was just other people's weddings.

Not surprisingly, I developed a healthy skepticism about marriage. Which isn't fair, really, since I embrace Christmas wholeheartedly, turning a blind eye to the same corruptions there. But I did, so there you have it. They'd title The Movie Starring Me "The Grinch Who Stole First Corinthians." You may mist up at the first mention of "Love is patient, love is kind . . ." but trust me, by the fifth time they trot out this war-horse of wedding readings, you'll be looking to bury your lavender satin pump in the minister's eye socket.

But not at the beginning. At age six, at my aunt's wedding, I presaged none of this. I was solely interested in being the center of attention and annoying my cousin.

I couldn't be Barbie. I knew that. But when I saw Jackie in her gown, I saw a version of princessness within my reach. You got the billowy shiny white dress and the sparkly earrings and the delicate shiny shoes. An admitted sucker for shiny objects, I was enslaved. When it was my turn, I would glisten and smile and laugh charmingly at my own carefully selected audience, self-conscious of my lofty status and the attention pinned to me as I twirled gracefully on the arm of my prince, a crisply tuxedoed figure crowned with a blurry face befitting his lesser status in the affair. The marriage to follow had no traction with me, but the lure of the wedding was awesome.

I didn't remember much about Jackie's Husband Number One except that he looked like one of the bad guys in Return from Witch Mountain and swept me into a lap that smelled like garlic. Husband Number Two was pretty in the way of gleaming appliances or game show hosts. He called me "Littlekin" and gave me smooth round stones that he polished in a machine that made loud grinding noises. Jackie met him when she worked in her first husband's office. People didn't talk about it, so I knew something wasn't right. People didn't talk about him anymore because he was in jail.

Now Jackie was marrying Cub. I didn't know much about him except that Jackie was happy to be getting married and Cub was helping her. The whole time Jackie was dating Cub, the adults would ask, "When are they getting married, when are they getting married?" Getting married was what everyone wanted, you knew that from the way people talked, and that's why you had weddings, which were the best things ever.

Watching Jackie star in her big show, I was ready to be Princess by Proxy. My white-blond hair hung in curler-enforced ringlets that contrasted starkly with my stick-straight bangs and the occasional escapee curler-eluding strand. I wore a floor-length Holly Hobbie—style pinafore and clutched a basket of pink and yellow rose petals. My cousin Jared was seven, and wore one of those short pantsuits that distort a little boy into a mini-man in a way that emphasizes his childishness. Plaid, of course, because it was the 1970s.


Excerpted from The Best Day of Someone Else's Life by Kerry Reichs Copyright © 2008 by Kerry Reichs. Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
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