Friday, August 29, 2008

Looking for Something to Read this Weekend?

If you like books by authors Miriam Toews, Emily Giffin or Melissa Banks, you should get your hands on The Prairie Bridesmaid by Daria Salamon. This debut is funny and fresh and has a conflicted, wry main character that women everywhere will be able to relate to. 30-ish Winnipeg teacher Anna is stuck in a toxic relationship with her boyfriend of ten years Adam. With Adam away in Germany for a few months on a work contract, she is finally attempting to break things off, but when Anna starts to show signs of wavering, her well-meaning best friends stage an intervention. Adding to Anna's problems are:
  1. a job she doesn't really like
  2. a sister who moved to the Middle East with her boyfriend (now husband), became a Muslim, and is now pregnant and wondering what to do now that her husband has announced his intention of taking a second wife
  3. her cantankerous Ukrainian-born grandmother, who refuses to leave her prairie farm despite being past eighty and nearly blind
  4. Her friend Sara is getting married and is turning out to be quite the bridezilla. Anna is one of her bridesmaids and feels like she had gone to bridesmaid hell.

To deal with the stress of it all, Anna starts seeing a therapist, smoking, and keeping counsel with a squirrel (Buddy) who has moved into her attic. There are numerous funny sections in the book, but it is also very thought provoking look at the choices we make in relationships, how we change our dreams and plans for the love of others, and how hard it is to break free of a bad relationship and an abusive partner. This would make a great choice for book clubs!

And as a bonus, if you purchase the book (or are the first to take it out of the library) there is a sticker on the book that directs you to the book's web page ( From there, you enter a unique code that allows you to download a free soundtrack of indie music that the author has put together for the book. All the music fits the tone of the novel and the soundtrack features a great mix of names you will be familiar with (Sarah Slean, Jill Barber), as well as some new Canadian artists to discover.

The book has received glowing praise from author Steven Galloway (The Cellist of Sarajevo) and Alice Kuipers (Life on the Refrigerator Door) and in the Quill & Quire, The Globe & Mail, The Winnipeg Free Press and the National Post. Read the reviews here, then go out and get yourself a copy of The Prairie Bridesmaid- you won't be disappointed!

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