Matchmaking For Beginners by Maddie Dawson is a perfect book for those who are looking for a novel that is lighthearted, and fun. There isn’t anything particularly deep about this book, though there’s a fair amount of life advice that can be taken away from it.
The novel follows two main characters Blix Holliday and Marnie MacGraw. Marnie MacGraw is the ex-wife of Blix’s nephew, Noah. A few months before their wedding Marnie meets Blix, Noah’s eccentric aunt, who everyone in Noah’s family thinks is a nutcase. During their encounter Blix becomes convinced that Marnie has big things going for her saying, “You’re amazing and powerful, and you’re in for a big, big life. There are lots of surprises in store for you. The universe is going to take you to such heights.” Marnie’s marriage falls apart after just two weeks and shortly following that, her job. Feeling miserable and defeated she moves back in with her parents. During this time Noah, arrives at Blix’s home to find that she is about to die from cancer. A cancer that she knew about about before she met Marnie, but told no one in the family about. He is hurt by this and her refusal to go to the hospital and get treatment. After Marnie has finally started to settle in to her life back in her hometown, she receives a letter from Blix’s lawyer telling her that Blix died and left her home in Brooklyn, New York. Thinking that she will only be there for a short amount of time she books a flight and leaves to sign the paperwork with the lawyer and then put the house for sale. Her plan, however, does not come to fruition when she finds out that Blix has made a stipulation that she must live in the house for three months before she decides if she likes it or not. Chaos ensues from here.
One of the things that I loved the most about this novel is that Dawson manages to make the mundane things that happen in life fun and interesting with how she describes them. For instance, she describes one of Noah’s nervous ticks saying, “underneath the table, his knee is bouncing up and down like it’s connected to a metronome.” This is not something that many people think about when they are doing it, or watching someone else, and yet she perfectly describes the movement in a way that makes it clear what is happening but not in a way that makes it mundane like the action truly is. “Emotion was a luxury item on the menu and he couldn’t afford it” is what she uses to describe someone who is emotionally closed off.
This book, while it is a cute and easy book to read, offers a plethora of life advice most of it focusing around relationships and the different views on them. Blix’s relationship with her significant other, Houndy, is one that after having three divorces she decides that “if you have to bring the law into your personal relationships, then you’re doing it wrong.” While it is a different way of looking at relationships, it is not an incorrect way of looking at it. Their relationship is wholesome and Houndy is “made from stardust” as Blix says. Houndy does lament about Blix’s decision to forgo cancer treatment but he understands and trusts in her decisions. At one point he reveals that he wishes that she could live forever to which Blix responds “If we all lived forever.. Then life really wouldn’t have any meaning. So why not embrace it, prepare for it, and love what is?” How beautiful is it for someone to come to terms about their death instead of being bitter and resentful. Blix does this one more time when Noah shows up at her house. Noah is concerned that she is going to suffer when she dies, but she tells him, “oh, my darling, I have decided not to suffer. Suffering is optional.” Later in the same conversation she says, “I’m not scared, and I don’t want you do be scared either.” It is touching that she comforts him in her sickness when she is the one who most would think would need the most comforting.
Matchmaking for Beginners is a lovely novel, that offers the reader a little bit of everything from romance to tragedy. It speaks of some hard topics in a way that makes it beautiful and less distressing for reader. All in all, I loved Matchmaking for Beginners and I hope that anyone who decides to read this novel feels the same. But as Blix would say “Whatever happens, love that.”