BOOK REVIEWS

Sister of the Bride (First Love) Reviews

UPDATE TIME: 2018-12-08 
Review Score: 4 out of 5 star From 24 user ratings
ISBN:0380728079
LANGUAGE:English

"Read this when I was around 11 and loved it. I wanted to read it again as an adult to get a different perspective. When I was eleven, it was mid 70's, so the changes in a young woman's future weren't as drastically different as they are now. It was interesting to see Barbie's growth from wanting to get married just like her sister, to realizing that there were more options out there for her than just getting married. Ms. Cleary did a wonderful job of subtly allowing the main character and her sister to buck the establishment with some of their "ideas." This is a book that is still worth reading for young girls if for no other reason than to give them a sense of appreciation for all that today's world offers them compared to the young girls of the 1960's." said.

"As a kid, these books were the only romance novels I could stomach - and due to the lightness of the content, this could easily be children's as well as YA. Sister of the Bride tells the story of Barbara as she helps her older sister prepare for her wedding. Beverly Cleary does a great job of keeping the characters realistic; Cleary doses her novels with reality and doesn't fall into the worst cliche of all in romances - everyone gets their happy ever after. I do remember this novel being a little slower than the preceding three (Fifteen was always my favorite and, I think, the most well-developed).

Great for readers who are ready to make the transition from children's books to YA (I haven't read it as an adult, but I'm sure older readers would find the morals less powerful and the plot more stereotyped).
" said.

"Barbara's older sister is getting married and she couldn't be more thrilled! But even though the wedding bells initially inspire her to dream about her own future as a bride, she faces family challenges as the wedding planning kicks into high gear. Barbara's sister and other folks involved bicker and fight over aspects of the wedding both trivial and significant, and Barbara herself starts feeling a bit lost in the shuffle, wondering if things will ever go back to normal.

Big family events can often be hard for children at a tender age, especially if tensions are high and someone else spends weeks, even months in the spotlight; they may start to feel like no one notices them, and Barbara's experience will be familiar to some of these kids. It's also a pretty eye-opening presentation of how wedding planning actually works; in these days of Disney weddings that just fast forward to the wedding vows and reception, kids may have no idea what goes into these things. This book will set them straight, despite its obvious dated references.
" said.

"An enjoyable enough book by another of my favorite childhood authors, about a 16-year-old girl whose 18-year-old sister is getting married. It kind of meanders along and never has any real drama to it, but the worst part of it is how badly dated it is, not just in the story itself but in the mechanics of the writing. Lots of phrases that really should've been contractions, because that's the way people talk. The constant reference to Barbara's parents as "Mr. and Mrs." without using their first name (I think the mother's first name was said once, but not the father's). But mainly, I just couldn't relate to this book. I've been a sister of the bride, but I am the older sister and neither of us were young when she got married. I've never been a bridesmaid, never got all excited and fussy and sentimental over wedding preparations (at the wedding, sure, but this part of the story was kind of rushed through). It was an enjoyable enough story but very much fluff without any depth to it." said.

"16 year old barbara is excited when older sister rosemary (18!) decides to get married, but planning a wedding puts the house into upheaval, and barbara can't help but wonder when her turn will come.

another retro treasure i recall from my childhood, found on the bargain table at john k. king. this was never my favorite of the cleary "young love" novels but i feel like i appreciate it more now. i like that cleary points out that a marriage is all about the couple's love for each other and doesn't have to look like anyone's traditional idea of a wedding. that said, the book is pretty outdated. there are a lot of ribs at barbara's mom because she can't make a good meringue and when she's busy she serves girl scout cookies for dessert. rosemary worries about learning to cook once she gets married. at the same time, rosemary also scoffs at the idea of a man asking a woman's father's permission to propose marriage, and barbara throw's bill cunningham's shirt in his face when he asks her to mend it. (obviously this is my favorite part of the entire book.) i think this juxtaposition makes sense for 1963, when the book was published, but i don't think that the book carries over well to today's teen audience.

still. i am going to reread all of my beverly cleary teen romances now.
" said.

"One of my best friends gets married this week. She asked me a year ago if I would stand up with her on her special day, and I was thrilled and said yes right away.

So the last time when I was home and saw this book on my shelf, I grabbed it right away, remembering how charming it was when I was a teenager.

I loved Beverly Cleary growing up, and was not let down by this re-read. It's good, clean teen romance. When Barbara's 19 year old older sister comes home and announces that she's getting married in the next few months, Barbara begins thinking about her own wedding someday and gets a little ahead of her self.

Of course, in 2016, people's first reaction to this 19 year old getting married so young and so quickly is "oh, she must be pregnant". (Many of the reviews on GR speculate about this). But this book was written at a different time, when people frequently got married earlier. I'm not saying she absolutely wasn't pregnant, just that it is not my assumption. We never find out either way.

The context of the time is important for other reasons, too. I try to be patient with a lot of the gender roles in books like these, but as an ardent feminist, it's tough sometimes. The 60's are close enough that's it's hard for me to consider it "history". But that's my own personal battle. Cleary was just writing what she knew - what all some in the 60's knew.

At the end, all goes well, and Barbara thinks that maybe she doesn't want to rush to
Get married after all. In my opinion, a wise choice.

It was nice to walk down memory lane a bit with this book, and to get in the wedding mood in the midst of all the stresses that come along with it.
" said.

"This was another wonderful book by Cleary, with all the human insights and relatable details that make her writing so enjoyable.

Although this is a rather simple story, I feel like there is a lot more to it underneath the surface. It addresses father/daughter, brother/sister, and sister/sister relationships, as well as featuring the widening generation gap between children of the 1960s and their parents.

I can't believe that they were able to plan the wedding in six weeks! It did seem like Rosemary was rushing into things a little naively, but it was interesting that she was so detached from many elements of the planning—a stark contrast to the over-commercialization of many weddings today. I love the description of the sea-spray-green organza bridesmaid dresses, the yellow daisies in their hair, and the bride's bouquet of roses and lilies-of-the-valley. It sounds like such a pretty spring wedding!

I think the Amys sound like so much fun—sequined potholders and all. (Such a contrast to Rosemary's idea of burlap placemats!)

I could really relate to Barbara, as I have an older sister that I was always trying to live up to as a kid. I can also relate to Elinor a bit, but that's another story (I pretty much WAS Elinor when I was 11 or so. Ugh, yes—the awkward age).

Cleary has such a talent for recording the ordinary, quirky details that form the pace of everyday life. Her genuine, down-to-earth, often humorous style made these such a delight to read. It also really makes me wish she had written more young adult books (especially a young adult series that follows one character; that would've been great.)
" said.

"A teenager's views of love and marriage gradually become more mature as she witnesses her older sister's frustratingly practical engagement and wedding. There is a "first love" dating subplot for the main character, Barbara, but isn't particularly filled out (compared to, say, Fifteen) because that's not the point. Bride Rosemary is sharp and well-drawn. As the wedding plans unfold with delicious detail, characters butt heads over opposite but totally understandable beliefs about love, adulthood, and values. Barbara's feelings about marriage are completely teenager-appropriate, and at once less and more mature than her idealistic sister's; Rosemary's views are classic college sophomore, and at once less and more mature than her set-in-their-ways parents'. Beverly Cleary is skilled at presenting nuanced ideas in simple, powerful language that makes a story equally compelling for a child and an adult.

When I first read this book at age sixteen or so, I admired the way Cleary illustrated the generation divide between the young people of the '60s, who earnestly romanticize simplicity, and their parents, who were forced into making practical, frugal choices during the Depression and World War II and want bigger and better things for their children. I recognized my parents in Rosemary and Greg. Now, the story seems even more universal as my friends marry off and I find myself thinking about the kind of life and relationship and housekeeping that I want. I'm 100% sure that I have said exactly what Rosemary said when Barbara suggested she have a big wedding so as to get plenty of presents: "Oh, presents. They are mostly just things. [We] want a life free of things."

The moral of the story is that Beverly Cleary is deeply perceptive and I am my parents.
" said.

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