Mating Rituals of the North American WASP

Mating Rituals of the North American WASP

by Lauren Lipton

I’m Kim Alexander and this is Fiction Nation, smart reviews for modern readers on Sirius XM Book Radio. The book is Mating Rituals of the North American WASP by Lauren Lipton. (Lauren is quick to assure me this book is not about insects.)

Well, who hasn’t had a day like this? You wake up in Vegas in your clothes with a wicked hangover and somebody next to you and you don’t know who they are. It’s the romantic comedy equivalent of time travel or war with the French — it gets things started. ÊIn this case, it starts an earthquake in the life of Peggy, our heroine, who — as she tells herself — is certainly not the kind of woman who wakes up married in Vegas. Peggy is responsible, if a bit high strung — she’s a New Yorker, she owns a business, she’s got a long term boyfriend. Of course, the business is floundering and so is the relationship, so really, if you’re going to marry a complete stranger while in a drunken fugue state, the timing is ideal. Lipton delights in taking rather buttoned-up Peggy and dunking her in situations where she’ll be forced to work without a net, pretend to be someone else, act like she belongs, make it up as she goes along. That’s the great fun of this book, not coincidentally also the cringeworthy bits — as Peggy must make the Yankee-WASP-preppy triad of the Right People of Litchfield Connecticut believe she was to the falling-down manor born. The reasons why she and her insta-groom must put on this elaborate puppet show for his family and neighbors has to do with everyone’s latest obsession: real estate. Would I pretend to be married to a hot but glacially repressed stranger if there was a restored Victorian with original hardwood floors at stake? I’d pretend I was engaged to a Golden Retriever. (I think houses have replaced shoes as objects of desire.) Lipton’s reliably archly funny style sounds perfectly natural in the mouths of both old money and New Yorkers, and serves to barely hide the very real fear (in Peggy’s case) of being caught out as a fraud — being married is just the tip of the lie-berg. WASP reminds me of a good vodka martini: (I know, I’m a non-gin drinking cave dweller) a perfect blend of crisp comedy and hit in the head with a shovel honesty. (See, the vodka would be the shovel…I’ve gone too far.)

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