Jennifer Weiner Fan Girl

I’m meeting Jennifer Weiner tonight at her Toronto signing. EEEEK! I’m meeting Jennifer Weiner, the queen of chick lit and women’s contemporary fiction! I’m going to bumble over my words because I have so much to tell her. I’m very confused as to what to thank her for most:  

  • For inspiring me to write.
  • For championing women’s fiction and chick lit.
  • For writing incredible books.
  • For writing one of my favourite books, Good in Bed.
  • How the first-ever review at my book blog, Novel Escapes, was Certain Girls five years ago last Friday.
  • For the writing advice she gave in an interview when Certain Girls released about how quickly pop culture references become dated, and how readers like physical descriptions of characters.
  • For the break up with a (not-so-lovely) boy after we fought when I’d purchased the hard cover copy of Good in Bed when I struggled to pay my rent at the time. It was the best “Book Investment” I ever made as I describe in THIS post.
  • How a book of hers made it to my wedding with “the one.”

Do you think she’ll grant me that much time!? How I wish we could go out for a dinner. I have so much I need to tell her. #fangirl 

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The Best Book Investment I Ever Made

Not only did I break up with a boy who was absolutely not “The One” because of Jennifer Weiner, but she also attending my recent wedding with “The One”.

Sorry, I skipped ahead a bit. I’ll start at the beginning…

You can’t read women’s fiction without knowing her name. You can’t write women’s fiction and not know her name. And you definitely shouldn’t watch The Bachelor without monitoring her hilarious tweets.

My introduction to Jennifer Weiner came thirteen years ago during a bookstore browse where I happened across her debut novel, Good Good in Bed by Jennifer Weinerin Bed, displayed on a table. The title snatched my attention (how could it not?), the synopsis drew me in, and I grasped the book in my hands in debate. It was a hardcover. I had very little money at the time. Negative money, if we’re being honest. But there was something about the book, and I found myself unable to set it back down. After a quick ping-pong back and forth in my mind, I walked back to my boyfriend with the book tucked under my arm.

“Whatcha got there?” he asked.
“A book!” I said, holding it out. “It looks great. I can’t wait to read it!”
His eyes narrowed as he pulled it out of my hands and put it down on the closest table. “Don’t be ridiculous. You can’t afford this. You don’t have any money.”
I snatched it back, stalked off to the cashier, and used more negative money to buy it.

It was the best book investment I ever made.

Two of my BFF’s and I all read it twice within a year, and then I passed the book onto another friend who devoured it before giving it to her sister. That copy never made it home. I did, however, buy another which I kept and have subsequently read over the years.

The boy became history shortly after the bookstore incident. Thank you, Jennifer Weiner! He didn’t understand my love of books. He didn’t get me. And he definitely didn’t do himself any favours by once saying “What am I, the bank of David?”* at some ridiculous one dollar item like a bottle of water when I was thirsty and couldn’t find a bank machine. Although I like to think I would have been smart enough to figure it out eventually, thank you for saving me from this very bad man via both the book purchase illuminating his bad boyfriend behaviour and for your wonderful heroine who I’m sure also encouraged me to get his balls rolling, I mean the ball rolling.

Even more important than breaking up with Mr. Tight Wad and passing on a phenomenal, inspiring novel to friends (it still remains one of my favorites to this day), Good in Bed reignited my passion for writing, for the genre that would come to be known as chick lit, particularly the more serious side of it. As much as I loved Bridget Jones’s Diary, a novel that also inspired me to write, and all the other light and fluffy pink covered books out there at the time about shopping and shoes, I adored Good in Bed even more. I loved how serious the novel was amidst the humour, how real. It was smart and funny and it made me think about life and reading and especially writing in a whole new way. Thank you again.

Okay, so maybe I was stretching the truth a bit earlier when I said Jennifer Wiener attended my wedding. She wasn’t actually there in person. She was, however, there in book form. At some point I took my wedding and made it bookish. I think I’ve mentioned this in another post before – do NOT google ‘a bookish wedding’ two months prior to your nuptials. A disaster of epic re-planning proportions will ensue.

Here’s a photo of our place cards which were handwritten library cards fanned out in two books, one of which was Jennifer Weiner’s Lydia_Reno-297novel, In Her Shoes. While a bit sad about defacing the book, I’m happy to report that it still sits on my entrance table and holds mail and other bits and bobs that need a home.

And that’s how Jennifer Weiner attended my wedding. And changed my life.

*Name changed to protect he who was not “The One.”

My Bookish Wedding

Less than two months prior to my wedding day, I stumbled across a post, picture or musing about a bookish wedding somewhere on the interwebs. The world went quiet as I sat back and realized I had to have this – or at least some of it.

A google-second later, I landed in book heaven. And also, a little bit of hell. So many decisions had already been made. Could I change them? Did I want to? So much work had been already done and my allocated wedding planning time was already in short supply as I was splitting the time with readying my novel for publication – which I was silly enough to schedule shortly after the wedding, a deadline I didn’t quite hit and had to extend from May to June.

I browsed the awesome ideas, wondering if I could use them or if I could incorporate some of them and some of the ones I dreamed up into what I already had planned. There were so many options from cake toppers to cakes themselves and book-stacked centerpieces doubling as hostess gifts. Everything could all be books! I realized I had some serious decisions to make – and one hands-on groom to convince – and in the end, some books and even some writing made it to our wedding, making this bride even more pleased with her big day.

First things first: A novel poked out the top of my wedding bag. Yes, there might have been a few cocktails consumed the night I threw it in there, because what bride has time to read on her wedding day? But I tend never to go anywhere without my book so my current read tagged along to my wedding. I wish I’d snapped a shot of it, alongside my shoes and jewellery, but it never crossed my mind – probably because I never had two seconds to crack it open.

More writerly than bookish, I decided to take the most jitter-inducing moment of any wedding and make it even more nerve-wracking. I wanted us to write our own vows. I wrote them in spurts, languishing and agonizing over the words again and again until perfected. Words of love, honor and cherish and “I promise to wake you with coffee and quiet on every morning I am able” (a morning person, my husband is not) gave us the perfect blend of meaningful with a few chuckles. I might even be a touch teary thinking about it now.

My Google searches uncovered that library cards were often used in a bookish wedding for initiations. Much too late for this, I re-purposed the idea and used them for place cards instead, immediately placing an order for library cards – yes, I was a bride on a mission. I then grabbed two hardcover books off my shelf, folded each page in half and then tucked them into the center until it fanned out accordion-style when laid flat. I slid the cards inside in alphabetical order.

Yes, I defaced a book. Two of them actually, but one now sits on the front table in our hall and collects our mail and various other items that would clutter the counter (someone tipped too much red wine on the other to salvage.) So I consider that a win. In case you were interested Jennifer Weiner’s In Her Shoes made the cut. Yes, Jennifer Weiner attended my wedding. Sort of. Sadly, I forgot to request the photographer take shots of each of these items, so this bookish aspect didn’t receive a dedicated shot, but in the periphery of the photos below, you can get the gist.

We also had a ‘Wordy Wishes’ guestbook. The dictionary that fostered my love of words throughout my childhood lay splayed open to the heart-circled word love. A frame with the following instructions accompanied it: “Circle a word to describe our special day, your thoughts of us, or your well wishes. Write some words, sign and bookmark.” Mini-bookmarks accompanied the dictionary so we could easily find the inscriptions we encouraged guests to write.

From bookish back to writerly, our kissing game was having the tables or individuals write a poem and read it out loud. Some guests stepped up to the challenge and spouted off romantic to silly poems, and even an R-rated one.

I heart my bookish wedding. It was perfect in every bookish detail and beyond, particularly my groom.