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In 2010, Lucy and her long-term boyfriend John broke up. Three long, lonely years later, John returned to New York, walked into Lucy's apartment, and proposed. This is not that story. It is the story of what came after: The Wedding.
DIY maven Lucy Knisley was fascinated by American wedding culture . . . but also sort of horrified by it. So she set out to plan and execute the adorable DIY wedding to end all adorable DIY weddings. And she succeeded. This graphic novel, Something New--clocking in at almost 300 pages of humor, despair, and eternal love--is the story of how Lucy built a barn, invented a whole new kind of photo booth, and managed to turn an outdoor wedding on a rainy day into a joyous (though muddy) triumph.
SOMETHING NEW, Lucy Knisley's autobiographical graphic novel about her wedding, hits that indefinable spot somewhere between memoir and how-to. If you've read RELISH or any of her travelogues, you'll know what to expect from this one: humor, lots of internal dialogue, and a level of detail that makes you feel like you just might be Lucy's friend.
The narrative brings us through the early stages of Lucy and her now-husband John's relationship, a winding journey that includes a three year (!) break and a lot of back and forth regarding career, children, and life goals. As a bisexual woman, Lucy has complicated feelings on the institution of marriage, and she doesn't shy away from talking about them. John has complicated feelings about having children, and Lucy doesn't shy away from talking about those either. It's an honest, considerate depiction of the types of conversations I had with my own husband before our marriage. (Of course, I'm viewing this all through the lens of a married bisexual white woman, so Lucy's story probably has a lot more resonance for me than it would for others.)
After the engagement, Lucy employs self-deprecating humor and pointed social commentary as she guides readers through the long and tedious process of planning "the event of a lifetime." An entire chapter is devoted to finding "the dress," an experience that is supposed to be fun, but usually causes undue amounts of stress.
Chapters on food, money, pre-wedding parties, and "emotional sickness," cover most of the wedding bases, though the book clearly can't be a "how-to" because every couple, every venue, every family is different. For example, Knisley married at her mother's rural home, but that's not an option or a preference for many couples.
The end result is a book that's part critique of the wedding industry and societal expectations, part tribute to the love and support she received throughout the process, and part funny retelling of all the things not to do.