Has there been a film version?
Two – one in 1950 with Spencer Tracy and Elizabeth Taylor, and one in 1991 starring Steve Martin and Diane Keaton.
Who are the important characters?
Stanley Banks – an ordinary father who finds himself sucked into the maelstrom of planning a wedding
Kay Banks – Stanley’s only daughter
Mrs. Banks – Stanley’s wife
Buckley Dunstan – Kay’s fiance
What’s it about?
Stanley Banks is having a rough time of it. His attractive daughter, Kay, has just announced she’s engaged and Stanley has no idea what to do. The wedding plans burst over him and he soon finds it’s way out of his control…and everyone else’s.
Do I recommend you read this book?
Yes. If you liked either of the movies, you’ll like the novel as well.
How did this book make my list?
I didn’t know it was a book until I saw it at my LL.
Why is this book a classic/bestseller?
It’s very funny and talks about something many people can relate to or at least *think* they can relate to – being a member of the wedding party other than the bride.
Has it won any awards?
“At this point Mr. Banks began to come down with some strange kind of psychic rash. From the night of that conversation at the dinner table he could feel it creeping through his system. With a detachment which was anything but calm, he watched himself change from a logical, well-balanced lawyer into an unreasoning, anxiety-ridden psychopathic. It disturbed him so much that he did not even mention it to Mrs. Banks.” – p 14
“Women were inconsistent creatures. If the kids were out at some little dance she couldn’t sleep until she heard them come in. But when it was a question of how (or if) her only daughter was going to eat for the rest of her life, she fell asleep like a baby.” – p 17
“Anyone faced with the necessity of giving a wedding present should remember that only the first few to arrive will receive the admiration they deserve. Shop early and avoid oblivion.” – p 124
“A wedding was like the experimental explosion of an atom bomb, thought Mr. Banks as he walked out behind his wife, smirking to the right and left. You made the most careful preparations for months, then someone like Mr. Tringle pressed a button – and it was all over. There was scarcely any present tense in connection with weddings. They existed either in the future or in the past.” – p 206
“During their absence Mr. Massoula had taken over completely in accordance with his promises. His Buckingham Caterers were darting about like Walt Disney gnomes.” – p 209
This quick little read is every bit as enjoyable as its film family. Mr. Banks is one of the most endearing gruff old grumps to ever grace a page. His daughter and wife have to put up with as much from them as he takes from them and the rest of the wedding party. And every aspect of a 50’s wedding is covered, from the champagne to the cufflinks in hilarity and with a bit of sadness. I’d recommend this to anyone who is considering getting engaged and putting their father through a wedding.