Inspired by her popular Modern Love essay published in the New York Times, Calhoun (St. Marks Is Dead) takes a humorous, realistic, and loving look at marriage in this collection of essays modeled after wedding toasts. Each essay mixes components of memoir and self-help, drawing on insight from Calhoun’s own marriage as well as the wise thoughts of clergymen and lessons learned from long-married couples. “The main problem with marriage may be that its not better than the rest of life,” she writes, explaining that “we think it will be different—purer, deeper, gentler—than other relationships.” Marriage isn’t just about the hearts and flowers stage, she opines, but also about occasionally lusting after others, buying houses, raising children, and everything in between. At various points in the book Calhoun is laugh-out-loud funny (as when she is compares a baby’s reaction to being baptized to the Onion’s classic op-ed about lobster entitled “Just Wait ’Til I Get These Fucking Rubber Bands Off”) and at other times painful (she describes coping with her husband’s affair) but always direct and honest. In the final essay, Calhoun offers the one wedding toast she would actually give: “Weddings remind us why we were put on earth... nothing more nor less than these moments will keep you—will keep us—together, all the days of our lives.” This realistic, empathetic book of advice is worthy of a spot on any newlyweds’ bookshelf. (May)
Reviewed on: 03/13/2017 Release date: 05/16/2017 Genre: Nonfiction
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