Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Mating Rituals of the North American WASP by Lauren Lipton

“I have a promise ring,” she finished lamely. “I can’t have coffee with you.”

“You can’t get married,” the caller said.

“Oh, really?” She didn’t need this. Not from Bex and not from some stranger she’d…No, don’t think about it. She turned to face the wall, away from the prying eyes of her customers and Padma. “Brock and I love each other, and when people love each other, they get married. I can get married, and I will get married.”

“I’m afraid you’re wrong,” he answered. “You’re already married. To me.” (from Mating Rituals of the North American WASP, page 23)

Mating Rituals of the North American WASP is a fun book by Lauren Lipton about a thirtysomething woman who wakes up in Las Vegas with a man she vaguely remembers meeting in a casino after downing too many martinis. Peggy Adams is worried that she cheated on her long-time commitment-phobe boyfriend, Brock, but her worries escalate when the man from Vegas calls to tell her that in their drunken stupor they got married. Luke Silas Sedgwick IV is a WASP from New Ninevah, Connecticut, and aside from his elderly great-aunt, Miss Abigail, he is the only Sedgwick left.

Peggy, concerned that the rent on her New York City bath products store will double when the lease is up, decides to stay married to Luke, as Abigail changes her will to allow the two to sell the family home and split the proceeds if they stay married for one year. Luke could use the money as well, with the family finances dwindling and Abigail’s dementia in need of more care than he can provide. So Peggy begins leading a double life, working in NYC and juggling her feelings for Brock during the week and fixing up the Sedgwick home and living as a married woman during the weekend.

Although Mating Rituals of the North American WASP was predictable, it was an enjoyable read, and I flew through the 350 or so pages in just a couple of days. I liked Lipton’s characters and was glad to see that Peggy and Luke evolved from anxious (Peggy) and reserved (Luke) to stronger people more sure of themselves and what they want by the end of the book. Bex’s, Peggy’s best friend and business partner, was another of my favorites. How she juggled the business, fertility treatments, and Peggy’s wacky double life, I’ll never know. Throw into the mix Luke’s snooty New Ninevah friends, Peggy’s eccentric parents, and the annoying Brock, and you have the makings of a romantic comedy. Jeremy, another love interest of Peggy’s, was the one character I felt was totally unnecessary to the plot, but his scenes didn’t detract from my enjoyment of the book.

Mating Rituals of the North American WASP could be categorized as “chick lit,” but it’s well-written chick lit that focuses more on marriage and family than dating and sex. Watching Peggy try to fit in with New Ninevah high society – using food as a prop during parties but draining all the liquor and discussing one’s lineage like you would the weather – was hilarious. The misunderstandings between Peggy and Luke and Luke’s desire to be a poet lent the necessary romance to the story, while protests on the New Ninevah green added some tension. All the humor, romance, and drama make Mating Rituals of the North American WASP perfect light reading for the summer.

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When I asked about her writing space, Lauren Lipton, author of Mating Rituals of the North American WASP, generously provided a picture and a description:

Dear Anna,

This is the glamorous locale in which I wrote most of Mating Rituals of the North American WASP: My glamorous sofa in my glamorous New York City apartment. Now I'm writing a third novel--or trying to.

Sometimes pictures say it better than words. So, clockwise from the bowl of peanut butter pretzels on the sofa arm at left:

1. Peanut butter pretzels. Can't write third novel on empty stomach!

2. Jump drive, to back up third novel in case of MacBook meltdown (which had just happened in the moments before I shot this photo).

3. Pillow with cool, black-and-white graphic pattern I'm so enamored of that I just redid my website to match it, using time I should have been spending writing third novel.

4. MacBook user manual I was consulting to try and diagnose meltdown (finally had to call Apple tech support, in time I could have been spending writing third novel).

5. Naughty, naughty MacBook. Bad MacBook.

6. Lap desk, so MacBook stays cool and comfortable.

7. My foot. I am standing on the sofa, looking down upon the glamorous scene. Note perfect pedicure. I did it myself, while I was supposed to be working on third novel.

Thanks, Lauren! I wish my writing space was that glamorous...and neat. :)

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About Lauren Lipton:

Lauren Lipton is the author of two novels, It's About Your Husband (2006) and Mating Rituals of the North American WASP (2009). She is also a freelance journalist who specializes in style, business and trend stories.

She is currently fashion, beauty and lifestyle editor at ForbesWoman magazine. She has also contributed features on society and media to the New York Times Sunday Styles section. A former Wall Street Journal staff writer, she reported on copycat brides who steal their friends' wedding ideas, pajama parties for grown women, and luxury homes with his-and-hers garages.

Her work also has appeared in Conde Nast Portfolio, In Style Weddings, Martha Stewart Weddings, Best Life, Glamour, Marie Claire, Fit Pregnancy and Working Mother, and on National Public Radio's All Things Considered. She began her career at the Los Angeles Times.

Born in Providence, R.I., Lauren grew up in the North County of San Diego and in Los Gatos, Calif., before moving to Los Angeles. She holds a bachelor's degree in English and anthropology from Occidental College and a master's degree in print journalism from the University of Southern California.

She lives with her family in New York City and in Litchfield County, Conn.

For more information about Lauren Lipton, check out her website, blog, and Facebook fan page.

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Visit drey's library for a list of other book bloggers participating in the Hachette Early Birds Blog Tour for Mating Rituals of the North American WASP. A big thanks to Miriam Parker at Hachette for organizing the tour and to Drey for compiling the list of participants.

Disclosure:  I received a free copy of Mating Rituals of the North American WASP from Hachette for review purposes.

12 comments:

Serena said...

I really enjoyed this book. I loved her writing space.

bermudaonion said...

I agree that this book was fun and a little predictable. I love the picture the author shared with you - it's fantastic!

lilly said...

I haven't read the book yet as I am not really a huge fan of chick-lit but I see it's making the rounds around the blogosphere and all the reviews, especially yours, are very positive. I like that you added the author's personal touch with her writing space. it's very original and frankly, her sense of humor is convincing me to read her book. So, great move.

Dar said...

Love her writing space. I really enjoyed this book and flew through it too. I loved Aunt Abby-what a character!

Sandy Nawrot said...

I loved Serena's interview, and this was just priceless. What a rocking personality this one has! I must read this. By the pool. While the children are playing nicely and doing whatever I want.

Staci said...

I loved your review and the photo idea was extremely cool!!! I want her pillow and can totally understand designing a web page all around it!

The Tome Traveller said...

Great review and what a fun author post...and a photo! That is fabulous. I liked this one, too.

Hope to see you at BEA (going to finish up the packing now....)

Carey

Literary Feline said...

This does sound like a fun book. The more reviews I read about it today, the more I want to read it! Thanks for the great review, Anna.

miriamparker said...

Love this guest post! Lauren is so funny and fabulous!

naida said...

I've heard good things about this one, great review!
http://thebookworm07.blogspot.com/

suburban prep said...

What a wonderful review. It has really peaked my interest to read.

Anna said...

Thanks, everyone! If any of you get a chance to read it, let me know. I'm still behind on reading the tour posts, but I'll get there eventually.