cover image Wedding Pictures

Wedding Pictures

Jacqueline Carey, Chronicle Books, Kathy Osborn. Chronicle Books, $22.95 (160pp) ISBN 978-0-8118-1109-5

A vivid and arresting jacket, numerous full-page, full-color illustrations and a distinctively spaced text delivered entirely in captioned dialogue, like a play, make this charming book an attention-grabber. Part grown-up comic book, part wry nuptial guide, this is not a gimmick item, however, but a solid piece of work from two young artists who enhance their already fine reputations--novelist Carey wrote Gossip and The Other Family; Osborn has done covers for the New Yorker--with a playful collaboration that perfectly captures how simultaneously vexing and beguiling the months leading up to big events can be. Kip lives in New York, and Bonnie lives in Washington, D.C.; they get engaged over the phone. They set the date only to realize that one of them will have to give up a good job so they can live together. This causes their first fight. (The delightful reconciliation sequence is composed of messages left on answering machines.) Bonnie's parents are baffled that she won't let them pay for the wedding, particularly when it turns out that both Kip and Bonnie resign from their jobs the day after their fight. The news that Kip's brother George (who's been married four times) is having an affair with bridesmaid Fay (who married her high-school sweetheart) shakes Bonnie and Kip's confidence in marital ties, and they wonder, in the nervous last days before their wedding, if either of them knows a single happily married couple. But the ceremony more than resolves their doubts and even manages to rejuvenate some other relationships. The marriage here of edgy art and smart dialogue conveys each character's insecurities and yearnings. (June)