Marnie MacGraw wants an ordinary life—a husband, kids, and a minivan in the suburbs. Now that she’s marrying the man of her dreams, she’s sure this is the life she’ll get. Then Marnie meets Blix Holliday, her fiancé’s irascible matchmaking great-aunt who’s dying, and everything changes—just as Blix told her it would.
When her marriage ends after two miserable weeks, Marnie is understandably shocked. She’s even more astonished to find that she’s inherited Blix’s Brooklyn brownstone along with all of Blix’s unfinished “projects”: the heartbroken, oddball friends and neighbors running from happiness. Marnie doesn’t believe she’s anything special, but Blix somehow knew she was the perfect person to follow in her matchmaker footsteps.
And Blix was also right about some things Marnie must learn the hard way: love is hard to recognize, and the ones who push love away often are the ones who need it most.
Matchmaking for Beginners is a very charming book, much like the eccentric and otherworldly Blix. She sees people’s auras and colors and has a sixth sense of which person should go with whom. Knowing that she’s about to die, she bequeaths her Brooklyn house to Marnie, her nephew’s ex, whom she’s only met once. Along with the house, Marnie inherits Blix’s friends and Blix’s magical matchmaking gift. Marnie is at first resistant but eventually, she finds that she was meant for this life.
“You need to forget what society has told you about life and expectations, and don’t let anybody make you pretend. You are enough, just the way you are – do you hear me? You have many gifts. Many, many gifts.”
Although the book ends happily, some aspects of the story just felt wrong to me. First is Blix’s declaration to Marnie that she was meant for a “big life” as opposed to the ordinary life Marnie saw for herself – being married, domestic bliss, a job, children, etc. But by “big life”, Blix meant a life in Brooklyn in a charming brownstone with a collection of bohemian friends. That doesn’t sound very “big” to me. To me, “big life” means she’s going to find the cure for cancer or have adventures in the Amazon or jump out of planes. Suburbs = small. Brooklyn = big. I found nothing especially “big” about the life the author described.
Secondly, it really grated on my nerves when Blix, and then Marnie, insisted on the introverted Patrick attending parties. The author made it seem like preferring to be around one person at a time versus lots of people as pathetically sad. Only when he came upstairs to go to their parties was he deemed saved by their extroverted ways. As an introvert, I found nothing wrong with Patrick preferring to hang with one friend at a time. I hate it when people insist that something must be wrong with me for not wanting to be around lots of people all the time. This of course is my personal preference. I just saw these scenes in a different way than the author intended. I felt really bad for Patrick being forced to be sociable when he did not want to be. Blix and Marnie should just have accepted Patrick just the way he was – the way true friends should.
“There is so much fear to wade through before you get to love.”
“The subversive truth about love is that it really is the big deal everyone makes it out to be, and it’s not some form of security or an insurance policy against loneliness. It’s everything, love is. It runs the whole universe.”