‘The Christmas Wedding’ fails with disappointing plot

The Christmas Wedding fails with disappointing plot

Cara Reilly, Copy Chief

Although James Patterson is known for writing a new murder mystery every month, readers can only hope for bloodshed to liven up the lackluster story “The Christmas Wedding.” However, even then they’re disappointed.

The so-called plot of the story involves widowed Gaby Summerhill being proposed to by three different men at the same time. Instead of saying yes to one of her suitors, she uses the not-so-riveting mystery of whom she will marry to lure her four children to her wedding on Christmas day.

There’s quantity and then there’s quality, and Patterson is seriously lacking the latter. As one of his 84 books, “The Christmas Wedding” makes one wonder how he is the most frequented author on the New York Times bestseller list.

The sheer volume of books he writes in such quick succession provokes suspicion if he’s really the one writing everything, or if his ghost writers are just working really hard. At least in this book he gives credit to his co-writer Richard DiLallo. Still, its list of attributes ends there.

“The Christmas Wedding” begins with a transcript of Gaby’s video of herself that she has sent to her children. These narcissistic recordings tell Gaby’s story while the lives of her children are captured through alternate chapters. However, the characters were all so unmemorable that I had to keep referring back to the “Invitation List” that preceded the first chapter. Even then, I still don’t remember the name of the man whom she married.

While Gaby’s suitors were all equally unremarkable, a few of her family members stand out like sore thumbs. For example, there’s her 14-year-old grandson Gus who teaches his 8-year-old cousin Tallulah how to smoke a joint on Christmas day. He just wants to share his love of weed, which he explains to Gaby after she runs barefoot into the woods to watch Tallulah take a hit. Totally normal behavior.

The weirdness continues as Mike, Gaby’s son-in-law afflicted with a brain tumor, erupts into a seizure as the cake is being cut. After the seizure has passed, another son-in-law who is a surgical resident in neurology advises Mike to stay rather than be taken to the hospital. Who knew that grand mal seizures can be treated with wedding cake?

 Mind-numbingly dull plot aside, the writing was still just as unimpressive with corny dialogue and several noted grammatical errors. Patterson’s attempt at heartfelt sentiment is cliché and unconvincing. He should stick to murder mysteries, where at least there’s potential for a happy ending.

Cara Reilly is the Copy Chief for the JCpatriot and JCpatriot.com