When I had my chick lit phase, the books I enjoyed reading were the ones with strong, complex male and female characters. The thing is, there are plenty of books out there where female characters are portrayed as weak and feeble, damsels in distress, spoilt, or bitchy. This really grinds my gears.
In a nutshell
The shallowest woman in the world does a very stupid thing for a tremendously shallow reason. She then has to lie about doing this stupid thing and via incredible amounts of luck is able to pull together a wedding on a budget.
I found myself thinking, wouldn’t it be nice if one of the women at her support group suddenly turned into a flesh-eating zombie and just ate her face off? That’s how much I hated the main character, I just wanted her to suffer. (Yet oddly, when everything came crashing down I felt sorry for her, because you could see that the events really changed her.)
The addiction part was interesting, and could have done with more story time.
First person (FP) narrative blows. Okay, it does have some good points. With FP you get to see the entire story from the main character’s point of view, but if that character isn’t likable, you alienate the reader. You also get to experience the same lack of certainty that the main character does over another characters words or actions (because you don’t have access to their thoughts or what they do when away from the narrator). This introduces another layer of tension and possible conflict.
Conflict must be realistic, and challenging to the character. If the character is backed into a corner, but there’s a door marked exit, there has to be a bloody good reason why they’re not running for the door. You can’t just say, well, she’s not taking that option because of reasons. It’s not great to have several fairy godmothers spring forth and deliver the character out of a sticky situation.
Conflict isn’t the same for everyone. For me, the conflict in the book felt unnecessary, easy to fix and dull. The thing is, I hate weddings with a burning passion. For me, the perfect wedding would be either: registry office, bar, done; or strange/exotic location, done. Fussy weddings (ones with guests – I’m such an introvert) make me come out in hives. But this character planned her whole existence around a big, expensive, designer wedding, so making that the central conflict for her story worked for that character (just not this reader).