Something New: Tales From a Makeshift Bride

Something New: Tales From a Makeshift Bride by Lucy Knisley is a funny and interesting biographical graphic novel about Lucy’s relationship with her boyfriend, John, and their wedding. This book takes you through how they met in college, moved in together, broke up, dated other people for three years, then abruptly became engaged.

Then, it takes you through a year of a DIY wedding. DIY: decorations (ALL the decorations), music playlist, ties for the men in the wedding party, photo booth, personalized gifts for every single guest, personalized gifts for everyone in the wedding party, and the list goes on. What they could not do themselves they worked out as cheaply as possible: a wedding dress that was on sale (it had pockets!), a backyard barn built for the occasion, and a friend of the family to cater everything.

There is also plenty of wedding stress. Lucy’s mother had her own list of guests to invite that mostly consisted of people who were strangers to Lucy and John, and it was longer than Lucy and John’s list of guests. The mother-of-the-bride also kept insisting on other things such as hiring a wedding planner without consulting the bride and groom, changing the size of the intended barn which forced the couple to remove guests from their invitation list, a band instead of their DIY playlist, and her badly-behaved dog walking down the aisle at the wedding. As Lucy and John worked through all of this stress, Lucy also reflected on what weddings used to be, what they have become, what marrying a man means for her bisexuality, and what she wants most in a marriage.

Genre: Non-fiction graphic novel

Setting: Most of the story takes place in modern-day Chicago and New York state.

Number of pages: 291

Is this good for a book club? Yes, if the club is willing to read a graphic novel. This book contains a lot of good discussion material about an important cultural milestone. It is also very quick to read, despite the number of pages.

Themes: The history of weddings, the modern wedding industry’s influence on what people think weddings are supposed to be (and what they are supposed to cost), how weddings can negatively impact people who are not heterosexual, what it means to have a good marriage, different types of relationships, and how wedding stress can bring out the worst in people.

Objectionable content: Suggestive themes, sexuality, and alcohol.

Can children read this? Teenagers would enjoy this.

Who would like this? Anyone who is preparing for their own wedding, preparing for someone else’s wedding, has gone through a wedding, thinks weddings are overrated, thinks weddings are wonderful, or enjoys examining the wedding industry.

Rating: Five stars



The Narcissism Epidemic

Jacket.aspxMerriam-Webster Dictionary defines narcissism succinctly: “Caring too much about yourself and not about other people.”

What that definition doesn’t spell out are all the ramifications of such self-absorption.

In the book The Narcissist Next Door, the author, Jeffrey Kluger, writer and science editor at Time magazine, uses the word “monster” in the sub-title: Understanding the Monster in Your Family, in Your Office, in Your Bed–in Your World.

Are narcissists monsters? Consider these examples of typical narcissist behaviors:

  • Your narcissist mother constantly belittles you but denies she is doing any such thing. There is always an excuse for what she says and does. She is oh so thoughtful. Her selfish manipulations are for your own good. Nasty comments mean she is concerned about you. She only wants to help you.
  • Your narcissist boss criticizes and demeans you. He lets you know he thinks less of you than he does of your coworkers. If you complain, he will treat the matter as a non-issue. He doesn’t care about your complaints. He just wants to let you know that you’re never right.
  • Your narcissist sibling ignores all boundaries. She goes through your things regularly. She asks nosy questions, snoops into your email, room, and conversations. She digs into your feelings, particularly painful ones, and is always looking for negative information that can be used against you.
  • Your narcissist spouse tries to make you look like the crazy one. He will claim not to remember events, flatly denying they ever happened. He will tell you that you’re unstable, otherwise you wouldn’t believe such ridiculous things. You’re over-reacting, like you always do.

Sound like someone you know? Probably, because the number people with this personality disorder doubled over the last 10 years just in the United States. Some refer to it as the Celebrity Epidemic, where outrageous, selfish behavior is rewarded with fame and money, while others blame it on the American emphasis on the importance of the individual. Still others think it is genetic, an inheritable trait that has always been prevalent but is now rampant because of lack of social consequences. Whatever the cause, the cult of self is thriving.

How do you spot a narcissist? First, remember narcissism is not an all-or-nothing disorder. It is a continuum, with some mild behaviors, such as always steering the conversation back to yourself, to more extreme forms, such as those who demean and torment you when no one is watching and then act simply darling in public. Extreme narcissistic behavior includes:

  • Comments that diminish, debase, or degrade someone else
  • Feelings of entitlement
  • Envy that tries to either take or spoil someone else’s pleasure
  • Lying, constantly about everything
  • Emotional manipulation
  • Constantly seeking to be the center of attention
  • Extreme defensiveness and sensitivity, especially about imagined insults
  • Lack of empathy
  • Will never admit to being wrong
  • Bragging and exaggerating achievements
  • Denial of any of the above behaviors

So what to do if you live or work with a narcissist?

Save yourself. Experts overwhelmingly say to leave any relationship where extreme narcissism is present. Most narcissists will never acknowledge they have a problem. It is always everyone else, not them. Getting a narcissist to see a counselor or doctor is nearly impossible, and even when they do, they seldom admit responsibility and so never change. Make your feelings known, but if the narcissist cannot understand or acknowledge your pain, then it’s time to move on.

Here are some resources to help you deal with the narcissist in your life.



Jacket.aspxThe narcissism epidemic : living in the age of entitlement / Jean M. Twenge, PhD and W. Keith Campbell, PhD



Jacket.aspxThe mirror effect : how celebrity narcissism is seducing America / Drew Pinsky and S. Mark Young with Jill Stern



Downloadable Audiobooks







Jacket.aspxWill I ever be free of you? : how to navigate a high-conflict divorce from a narcissist, and heal your family / Karyl McBride