"Like a candy-colored wedding favor with a daringly dark center, Avery Carpenter Forrey's Social Engagement is as mordant and incisive as it is utterly delectable." -- Megan Abbott, New York Times bestselling author of The Turnout
A bitingly sharp and darkly humorous debut novel exploring millennial wedding culture, class, and relationships, all filtered through the ever-present lens of social media.
In an opulent honeymoon suite in Watch Hill, Rhode Island's most desirable wedding venue, 29-year-old Callie Holt is spending her wedding night lying in a bathtub shoveling down a pizza; her expensive white dress now splattered with sauce and her groom passed out in the next room. With her seven-hour-old marriage already imploded, Callie turns to the place of record - her phone - sifting through the photographic evidence of the past year to pinpoint where it all went wrong.
Could it have started when Callie moved in with her best friend, Virginia Murphy, in the swanky Upper East Side pied-à-terre for which Virginia's parents foot the bill? Or when Virginia's irritatingly attractive cousin (and Callie's secret ex) Ollie returned from pursuing his photography career abroad, throwing a wrench in Callie's relationship with her kind (if a bit dim) finance bro boyfriend, Whit? Or was the true turning point when Callie stumbled upon a dark secret lurking in the Murphys' well-heeled past, one with the potential to upend everything Callie knows about the people she considers her second family?
Over the course of one wedding-filled year, all these long-simmering secrets and resentments will come bubbling to the surface, leading to a reckoning that will strip Callie and everyone around her down to their most gruesomely real, filter-free selves. As Callie attends wedding after wedding, getting tagged in post after post, she begins to contemplate--and actualize through her own art--the gulf between the true selves of the people around her and the selves they present on their screens.
"I can't remember the last time I read a book that so perfectly captures the humor, absurdity, and anguish of how we live now. An astounding debut." -- Grant Ginder, author of The People We Hate at the Wedding and Let's Not Do That Again