Monday, March 28, 2022

Book Review: Four Aunties and Wedding

By Jami Denison

**Review may contain spoilers for Dial A for Aunties**

Right after author Jesse Q. Sutanto turned in her final manuscript for her blockbuster debut Dial A for Aunties (reviewed here), she began work on its sequel. Four Aunties and a Wedding features the same madcap energy as the original, which combined all the best elements of Wedding Crashers, Crazy Rich Asians, and Weekend at Bernie’s. But with the stakes now so much more personal for Sutanto’s protagonist Meddy Chan, there’s a sadness to the frenzy that makes the humor bittersweet.

Meddy is finally marrying her college sweetheart Nathan, in England where his parents live, and she’s persuaded her wedding-planner family to hire out the work so they can enjoy the festivities in style. And the aunties have found the perfect company—another Indo-Chinese family, led by a grandmother and her grown sons, organized by granddaughter Staphanie. Meddy bonds quickly with Staphanie, who’s a wedding photographer just like Meddy.

The gang flies out to England, where the first fly lands in the ointment: Nathan’s parents aren’t exactly charmed by Meddy’s aunts, whose flamboyant outfits and over-the-top antics make them the star of every scene. But things get even messier when Meddy overhears a chilling phone call that reveals Staphanie isn’t who she says she is—and neither is her family. In fact, they aren’t wedding planners, they’re mafia—and they’re here to assassinate someone in the middle of Meddy’s wedding. And if Meddy tries to tell anyone—including Nathan—they’ll tell the police about the man they killed last year. Meddy has no choice but to go through with the wedding, while the aunties try to protect the woman they believe is the assassin’s target. 

Naturally, mayhem ensues, including a few kidnappings, some drug overdoses, and lots of threats. Through it all, Meddy tries to take part in her wedding while keeping Nathan in the dark. 

I absolutely loved Dial A for Aunties, and I wanted to love Four Aunties just as much. But the similarities to the first book, coupled with Meddy’s anguish over lying to Nathan and missing huge chunks of the festivities, made this book harder to love. In Dial A for Aunties, the dead guy deserved it, and there’s nothing funnier than dragging a dead guy around a formal setting. But now Meddy is missing her own wedding—and stuck with a fake photographer, meaning even the pictures won’t be any good—to save a woman she doesn’t even know. Even worse, her in-laws don’t seem to like her. I found it hard to laugh when my heart was breaking for Meddy. 

Still, the bickering between the aunties and their absolute loyalty toward Meddy make this a series worth following (the end of Four Aunties sets up a sequel, even though one hasn’t officially been announced yet.) I remain envious of this close-knit family and look forward to their antics when Meddy finally delivers the grandchild they’re hungering for. 

I still haven’t impersonated my son on a dating website yet. But that day might come. 

Thanks to Berkley for the book in exchange for an honest review.

More by Jesse Q. Sutanto:

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1 comment:

holdenj said...

Looking forward to reading this!