A mid-Westerner by upbringing, he survives the torment of Los Angeles without necessarily thriving in it. An advocate of movies that make statements and photographs that are created with actual film, his own sense of authenticity is often at odds with the ever changing world around him. It is a changing world that comes to the hilt when his friend Debra asks him to photograph her wedding at Yellowstone National Park.
Isaac may insist that he does not photograph weddings (“‘I do fine art landscape photography’, Isaac explained. ‘No weddings, no bar mitzvahs.’”) but his more pertinent excuse for not wanting to be involved is his not-so-secret love for Debra. Seeing her marry anyone, let alone a wealthy film mogul, is clearly going to set him off on a bumpy search for his true feelings. After relenting to her request, the reader is taken on a trip with Isaac to a world of natural beauty infused with Hollywood bigwigs and the people who admire them (or at least marry them). Featuring a healthy dose of trout fishing and feuding families, the story meanders along with Isaac, his camera, and his growing urge to do what he feels is right.
Full of both nature and inter-personal squabbles, the book does a good job of juxtaposing real nature and real people. Whether it is Isaac’s impulsive screenwriter friend or Debra’s concerned mother, the characters have a way of feeling familiar without falling into too much cliché. Debra’s fiancé, for instance, may be the somewhat jerky villain but he is by no means a jerk. He may be aloof and spoiled but he is not evil. He might very well be able to make Debra very happy. Perhaps the reader would even like to see him make Debra happy. The question though is whether or not Isaac could make her happier and how badly we want to see him try.
Occasional jokes, such as Isaac’s reluctance to get a cell phone, may feel dated however they do not detract from the overall light-hearted nature of this wedding adventure. What can feel more distracting is Isaac himself. One of Isaac’s main goals is to produce a movie about a vampire involved in politics. It is a movie that, with Isaac’s earnest feelings for it in spite of its general silliness (do we need vampires to get into politics?), could have provided a Christopher Guest-like venue for comedy but may instead leave the reader wondering how much he believes in Isaac and his dreams. Nevertheless, Isaac follows those dreams and, though the ending proves to be easily foreseen, it will be satisfying to readers more interested in the journey than the destination.
Though the conclusion of this romantic comedy is fairly predictable, the genuine rendering of the characters along the way make it a worthwhile read for fans of the genre.
Reviewed by Collin Marchiando for IndieReader