Review: Cheerful Weather for the Wedding, by Julia Strachey

I assumed this novella would be “cheerful,” as its title implies, but I was wrong.  It’s actually a rather dark portrayal of Dolly Thatcham’s wedding day.  All of the “action” takes place in the bride’s house, even during the ceremony, because this book is not about the wedding, it’s about reactions to the wedding.  As Dolly gets dressed, and her extended family and friends sit down to a wedding luncheon, it becomes clear that no one is very happy about this wedding, not even the bride.

This state of affairs is revealed slowly, through a quirky cast of characters.  Mrs Thatcham books multiple guests in the same bedroom, confuses the staff with conflicting direction about meal service, and flaps about in a scatterbrained fashion.  Two boys fight over wearing appropriate socks. Dolly steels herself for the afternoon ceremony by slowly draining a bottle of rum.  And Joseph, a former suitor, mopes about downstairs waiting for Dolly to emerge so he can have the last word before she becomes a married woman.

Cheerful Weather for the Wedding is supposed to be funny, I think.  Yes, there were moments of wit, and characters like Mrs Thatcham who were so over the top that I had to laugh.  But I expected a continuous chuckle, and maybe a laugh-out-loud moment or two, and this was not that sort of book.  The cover blurb compared this book to Cold Comfort Farm, another “hilarious” book that failed to resonate with me.  Perhaps I just can’t appreciate this type of quirky humor.

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18 thoughts on “Review: Cheerful Weather for the Wedding, by Julia Strachey

  1. I haven’t heard of this one, but I do like quirky weirdness so I’ll keep my eyes open for it ;) We each have our own tastes, etc. Have you read The 100 Year Old Man? It’s a definite quirky/weird read but I loved it to bits :)

    • relentlessreader, I haven’t read that book — might have to check it out. I like some kinds of quirky, and don’t like others. :)

  2. I always meant to finish listening to this audiobook. I downloaded this from Persephone, started it, then stopped for some reason. Can’t remember why? I’d like to pick it back up again because I do enjoy Persephone selections, but I wonder if the humor is more apparent in the audio version? We shall see!

  3. This book was *so* miserable but, oddly, I thought it was an excellent piece of writing – the slow, inevitability of disaster being played out with all that symbolic stuff going on in the descriptions. I was glad it was short though! ;-)

  4. Most people seem not to warm to this one, but (like Claire) I thought it was absolutely hilarious! I loved the quirky, dark, surreal humour.

  5. Hmmm. . . I’m not sure if this makes me want to read it or skip it. I enjoy a humorous book, but I don’t always like books where I feel like I don’t get the jokes. Was it like that or was it just not that funny when you thought it was trying to be?

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