“We are all connected through our stories.” That was the answer Adina Ferguson gave when I asked why she was compelled to write creative nonfiction. Three years after that conversation, she released a collection of personal essays titled, I Don’t Want to Be Your Bridesmaid and I got to witness the connection first hand.
If you’re an avid reader, you can probably agree that nothing is better than the discovery of a good book—one that takes over your entire morning, afternoon, or evening and doesn’t let you go even after you’ve turned the final page. Something in the story welcomes you, and you are compelled to stay a while. Maybe you see yourself or someone you love in the characters. Maybe you are compelled by emotional experiences that are nothing like you have ever known. Maybe as you read you wonder if the writer has been secretly spying on you for the last year and half of your life.
The title essay takes a humorous look at the awkward stage in a woman’s life when everyone around her seems to be getting married. That stage is made even more awkward by the often coveted (but sometimes repulsive) request to stand next to the bride as a bridesmaid. “I Don’t Want to Be Your Bridesmaid” is rife with joy and Ferguson’s fearlessness to poke fun at herself. “My Beef with God” takes a different turn, revealing a side of the writer who is exhausted and doubtful, but no less tenacious as she rides the waves of tragedy and loss.
There lies the beauty in Ferguson’s work. She carefully balances acute emotion with laughter and lightheartedness. The infusion of one into the other cultivates an environment where you cannot help but connect to the writer through your shared humanity and ability to feel deeply and heal diversely.
I laughed. I cried. I nodded in agreement. I yelled out, “Me too!” And when I got to the end, much like with a good container of salted caramel ice cream, I wanted another bite.
Buy the book on Amazon.