Take an instantly recognizable social dilemma—attending a wedding alone—add a good laugh (and maybe a cry), and meet The Singles, the warm and witty debut by Boston Globe “Love Letters” columnist Meredith Goldstein.
Beth “Bee” Evans’s first vow as a bride is that everyone on her list be invited to bring a guest to her lavish, Chesapeake Bay nuptials. When Hannah, Vicki, Rob, Joe, and Nancy one by one decline Bee’s generous offer, the frustrated bride dubs them the “Singles,” adrift on her seating chart as well as in life.
This debut by Boston Globe Love Letters columnist Goldstein chronicles the wedding of lawyer Bee Evans and Matt Fee from the viewpoints of five protagonists dubbed The Singles by Bee who each decline to bring a guest to the nuptials. The book starts out as the stale story of college friends shakily navigating adulthood frequent flashbacks from the day of the wedding reveal trite plot points, like bridesmaid Hannah Martin s clandestine hookup with Syracuse University buddy (and fellow Single) Rob Nutley, who proves himself a flake when he doesn t show up at the wedding, leaving Hannah to face her old flame, Tom Keating, without the welcome distraction of Rob. Vicki Clifford, another college pal, lends Hannah support despite needing some herself. The plot picks up substantially once noncollege folks enter the mix. Forty-something Joe Evans, Bee s uncle, is attracted to the much younger Vicki and spends the reception with her imagining a different outcome than she does. These additions transform what could have easily remained a generic slog through old friends unresolved love lives into a relatable tale with good momentum. Despite a few tired chick lit tropes, readers won t regret accepting Goldstein s invitation to mingle with these Singles.