April 30, 2012

Cheerful Weather for the Wedding by Julia Strachey: Review

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cheerful weather for the wedding coverI still don’t know what to make of Cheerful Weather for the Wedding by Julia Strachey. I think I’m going to have to read it again. Not a big deal, since it’s such a short book.

The story’s plot all occurs on the day of Dolly’s wedding to an older man. It was a short engagement. Dolly’s mom, Mrs Thatchman, is running around getting all the last minute odds and ends together and preparing for guests. Dolly herself doesn’t seem all that happy about her big day. Most of the day she’s hiding up in her room. Guests trickle in, including Joseph an old admirer of Dolly’s. He seems to be getting up the nerve to do something, but if he will remains to be seen.

There’s a disconnect between Dolly and her mother. Mrs Thatcham flits around telling everyone what a beautiful day it is when it’s a miserable cold March day. She speaks to everyone like she’s a character in a play. Dolly is so unhappy, she’s getting plastered with a bottle of rum in her room. She’s not exactly the blushing bride. 

The reason I couldn’t get fully into Cheerful Weather was because I couldn’t figure out the tone of the story. Is it a comedy? A tragedy? There are certain scenes that point to both: the brothers arguing over socks, comedy; Dolly’s gloomy moping, tragedy. It wasn’t until the end that I sort of figured out what was going on and that’s after a character drops a big old bombshell. Even then I didn’t know if this character was telling the truth or just trying to get a rise out of everyone. I did end up enjoying the writing even if I wasn’t 100% happy with the plot.

What I came away with from this story is how people spite themselves by not saying what is on their minds.

Ratings:

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7 comments :

  1. I couldn't figure out the tone either.

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  2. Hm, if you and Ti couldn't figure out the tone, I'll probably skip this one.

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  3. I think the tone was both a comedy and a tragedy. The comedy masked the tragedy somewhat, but both were very strong, and that seems to be a big part of the book, that there can be comedy and tragedy both. In my opinion, spoilers ahead for those who haven't read it, it was a girl who had had this past, getting married for, it seemed, the wrong reasons, and the guy wanted his say, wanted things out in the open so to speak. He left it too late however, he should have said it before the wedding. Dolly drowning her sorrows points to the idea that things aren't happening as she hopes, in a way she's just as bad as the man who doesn't speak up.

    I think that's correct, though it is a year since I read it.

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    1. Yeah, that's about right. What was frustrating was how they had a moment where they were alone and yet never said what they should have.

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  4. I think your last line sums it up perfectly; I ended my review by saying I felt that honesty was the thing most required. As to a comedy or tragedy, perhaps Strachey was pointing out the way that dysfunctional families are ludicrous. Funny, but in a sad way, right?

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    1. They were pretty ludicrous. Honesty, that's definitely what they needed.

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