Father of the Bride

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Today I was feeling in the mood to read a cozy, comforting sort of book. Well actually that's not true, I was feeling in the mood to watch a cozy, comforting kind of movie - preferably an old movie. Since that wasn't an option I decided instead to read a book that one of my favorite old movies was based on.

Today's book; "Stanley Banks is just your ordinary suburban dad. He's the kind of guy who believes that weddings are simple affairs in which two people get married. But when daddy's little girl announces her engagement to Buckley, Mr. Banks feels like his life has been turned upside down."

Shallow thoughts on today's book:

  • I enjoy both the old movie and the remake that were based on this book, and I've watched both so many times that the voices of Spencer Tracy and Steve Martin were battling it out in my mind while I was reading this. For the record dear readers, Spencer Tracy's voice won. It's rare for me to watch a movie before reading the book, but since I recently just discovered how many of my favorite old movies were based on books that's been happening more and more often. Consequently I always hear the voices of the actors from those movies in my head while reading - and it kind of bugs me. I prefer imagining the people up first, before seeing and hearing what they look and sound like - watching first and then reading later creates a sort of imagination deficit in my mind. What do you prefer dear readers, book before movie or movie before book?

  • Father of the Bride was originally published in 1948 - so there were lot of amusing references to the cost of wedding planning. Bridesmaids dresses that cost more than $24 dollars? Why that's highway robbery. The book mentions the wedding costing $3.72 per person (anyone who has recently planned a wedding will either laugh or weep at that number) - so I did a little research to compare that to a modern wedding. According to my research, the average wedding has 178 guests, making the cost of a 1948 wedding roughly $662 dollars. A modern wedding with 178 guests costs, on average, roughly $20,000.

  • During the chapter about the wedding gifts I began to wonder if they had wedding registries in 1948. I already knew they didn't have them for people who "aren't rich" (as my mother puts it) in the 70's, which resulted in my parents receiving a ceramic frog holding an umbrella, 5 Crockpots and an avocado green mixer from one of their friends even though, as my mother always points out with just a hint of disgust in her voice, "She knew our kitchen colors were gold." But since the Banks and the Dunstans sound wealthy I figured maybe they did have registries available to them. I did a little investigative research and discovered that wedding registries were first offered by Marshall Fields in the year 1924. Well good for Kay and Buckley, they won't have to spend their entire marriage trying to figure out how to re-gift a ceramic frog and a ugly Early American landscape picture that was, according to my dad, "so ugly it was worse than those pictures of dogs playing poker."

  • And finally, Stanley Banks' daughter Kay is marrying a man named Buckley Dunstan. I'm trying to imagine a scenario in which is would be possible to take a man named Buckley Dunstan seriously enough to even reach a point of wanting to marry him but, nope. I just can't do it. A 12 year old named Buckley Dunstan is merely a boy whose parents owe him a big apology. A 26-year-old man who willingly goes by the name of Buckley, well now that's a whole other story. Lest you think I'm too harsh towards other people's names dear readers, I'm saying this as a person who is seriously contemplating legally changing my middle name because it sounds like a name more befitting someone who spends their workday jumping out of the top of cake. - I tried to fight the urge to jump ahead to the part of the book where the vows are said so I can find out what Buckley's middle name is. That lasted for about 2 pages, before I jumped ahead and discovered that the book just skips right over that part. How disappointing, but it did give me a chance to exercise the imagination that hasn't been used thus far while reading this book, because I spent 3 or 4 minutes (okay more like 8 or 9) imagining what I think his middle name would be. Here's the list I compiled: Herbert, Norton, Winston, Chauncey, and Shelton. That reminds me of a car travel game my sister and I used to play where we tried to come up with the worst/most pretentious names for two boys and two girls. She won that contest with Nippy, Biddy, Chauncey and Crispin. It saddens me so much that I can remember that but I can't remember basic third grade history. Ask me what year anything happened in American history and I won't be able to give you an answer - but ask me to name all the kids on Family Matters and I can tell you. And just to prove it: Eddie, Laura, Judy (whose presence we weren't supposed to miss after she got sent upstairs one episode and never came back), and Little Richie.