The Singles is Meredith Goldstein's debut novel.
Have you ever attended a wedding and realized that there was a table at the reception with single attendees, not couples? That's the premise behind Goldstein's book.
Beth Evans has every detail of her fairytale wedding planned, until the singles upset her seating plan. Five singles to be exact - Hannah, Vicki, Rob, Joe and Nancy (who sends Phil in her stead). The story is told from the viewpoint of each of the characters in alternating chapters.
I did find myself making notes as to who was who and what they 'did' in life to keep everyone straight in the beginning. It took me about a third of the book to get a firm grasp of everyone.
We are privy to the hopes, dreams, disappointments, memories and more of each of the characters. I did find some of the stories quite sad rather than the humour the flyleaf hinted at. I was expecting more of a chick lit read, but still enjoyed the social commentary Goldstein has woven into her narrative. Why must we all be paired up? I enjoyed how each of the stories eventually intertwined with the others.
Although the ending seemed abrupt, I think Goldstein was wise to not neatly tie up all the loose ends, instead leaving the reader to imagine where each character's life will go next.
The Singles was just an okay read for me. The idea behind the book is not new, but Goldstein does a decent job with her interpretation. See for yourself - read an excerpt of The Singles. There's a reading group guide available as well.
Meredith Goldstein is an advice columnist and entertainment reporter for The Boston Globe. Her column Love Letters is a daily dispatch of wisdom for the lovelorn that gets about 1 million page views every month on Boston.com.