The Bookworm Sez
‘The Marriage Book’ can be your something blue

“The Marriage Book” by Lisa Grunwald & Stephen Adler; c.2015, Simon & Schuster; $35.00 / $45.00 Canada; 537 pages
By Terri Schlichenmeyer

April showers bring May flowers.

May flowers, they say, bring June brides – and July and August, and, well, your mailbox is filled with invitations this summer. Bottom line, what do you give to the newlyweds who have everything? How about “The Marriage Book” by Lisa Grunwald & Stephen Adler?

When are you two going to tie the knot?

It’s a simple question often asked of starry-eyed couples, the answer of which is complicated and surprisingly defining. Because of marriage’s intricacies, therefore, one could expect that the institution itself would be a common subject for pundits, grumps, and romantics throughout history.

Take, for instance, Sir Winston Churchill. He was famous for no-nonsense words and his service to his office, but Churchill’s wife particularly cherished tender love letters – complete with blushing nicknames – that he penned to her while he was away. Oh, and speaking of Brits, you’ll also read about the man who gave away a kingdom for “the woman I love.”

Terri Schlichenmeyer
Maybe being in the public eye makes marriage more of a challenge, especially when infidelity becomes an issue: Bill and Hillary Clinton once went on TV to defend their love for each other, and Jimmy Carter took a lot of grief for admitting that he “committed adultery in [his] heart many times.” Famous or not, though, when you read what Paul Newman said about his wife, well, you’ll envy Joanne Woodward…

Still, being a good spouse can be a lifelong process, and this book offers a rating chart and do’s-and-don’ts advice on how to stay married and in love. You’ll also read directions on finding a millionaire and being a “total woman,” and an 1880s ad for marital bliss through patent medicine.

Here, you’ll find a postcard from a 1940s-era honeymoon suite, and an article filled with reasons to avoid starting a family. Learn what not to say on The Newlywed Game, who “Midnight Train to Georgia ” was written for, and how to propose at Yankee Stadium. You’ll read about gay marriage, arranged marriage, TV marriages, and a grief-soaked letter from a wife whose marriage ended too soon. And you’ll learn about divorce from the POV of a 1970’s magazine, a 6th-century law, a wife auction (true!) and from Richard Burton.

Advice for the newlyweds? Everybody’s got some, and that includes what’s inside “The Marriage Book” – but that’s not all you’ll find.

Infinitely browsable, sometimes shocking but always amusing, this huge collection of thoughts, warnings, and words of wisdom for the lovestruck is one of those things you’ll want to pass around at the bridal shower, just for fun. Married authors Lisa Grunwald & Stephen Adler scoured online sources, magazines, and books for “treasures,” some of which seem quaint, many of which are useful. What I like is the balance here; there’s something for everyone, from romantic to realist.

Her something old came from Grandma. Her something new is a beautiful dress. Her something borrowed belongs to her beloved, so give the newlyweds “The Marriage Book.” This something blue will make them smile.

The Bookworm is Terri Schlichenmeyer. Terri has been reading since she was 3 years old and she never goes anywhere without a book. She lives on a hill in Wisconsin with two dogs and 12,000 books.