Hello loyal readers! Apologies for the long absence – work and life has kept me busy over the last few weeks and I have not had a chance to update my blog. I managed to finish three books in that time, so I anticipate posting reviews of same in the coming weeks!
As for today’s post, I was touched that a friend of mine thought highly enough of my opinion to ask me to read and write a review on Marry Me. I read it and, quite naturally, had a different reaction to the book than my friend. A part of me felt badly to write anything but a positive review on the book given her excitement about it. When I told her about my concerns, she was very understanding. Afterall, she did not ask me to write a review so that I could regurgitate her own opinion on it, right? She wanted my opinion. Ah, the beauty of good friends and the exchange of opinions and ideas. Admittedly, this might be too deep of an observation for this particular book (ha ha! it’s not exactly, War and Peace, is it?), but I appreciated our conversation nonetheless – thanks, Ms. K!
Marry Him is a fun, easy read and, through Gottlieb’s highly-relateable dating experiences, the book aims to be a wake-up call to women on why it is okay to “settle” for Mr. Good Enough.
Of course, the concept of “settling” is a gimmick to stir up controversy and sell books. When Gottleib speaks of “settling”, she is advising women to let go of their rigid notions of what Mr. Right is supposed be and look like and focus on the qualities that really matter – his loyalty, honesty, goodness and kindness. Basically, common sense conclusions that are hard to disagree with. Although I found myself nodding in agreement to many of her points, ultimately, the book did not resonate with me, largely because I found it hard to be sympathetic to Gottlieb. Maybe it was just me, but in reading Marry Me, I was not convinced that Gottlieb, despite writing a book on the topic and speaking with many “experts” and laypersons alike, really got her own message.
This book, in part, is an autobiography of Gottlieb’s dating history. Perhaps that is why I felt like this book would speak to a very specific demographic, i.e. Gottlieb’s demographic: a woman in her early 20s to mid 30s, likely well-educated, has a decent career, is relatively attractive and has had opportunities in life to succeed. This woman grew up in an era where she benefitted from the breakthroughs of the Women’s Liberation Movement, having “equal” opportunities in society, education, workforce and relationships. As a result of her personal and external circumstances, this woman probably grew up believing she really could “have it all”. Importantly, and specific to this book, this woman has a history of rejecting men (maybe other people/things, as well?) on the basis of something relatively superficial and in looking for someone (something?) “better”.
Gottlieb identifies a common issue for this woman (i.e. herself) – how does she reconcile her expectations of having it all with her desire for a happy marriage and family? What is she to do with her long list of must-haves in a man, which she believes she deserves and is attainable? Gottlieb asserts that these attitudes are the reason that many more women today in their mid 30s and 40s are single (including herself) – and facing the reality of a man pool that is a fraction of the size as when these women were in their 20s.
Despite her common sense conclusions, a word of caution, dear reader. When I consider the number of women that proclaimed in online reviews that this book saved their relationship, I could not help but think that, like all opinions, Gottlieb’s advice should be taken with a grain of salt. No book, and certainly not this book, can capture The Whole Truth. Gottlieb made many generalizations throughout the book to make her point . The book was filled with examples of women who were filled with doubt about their “good enough” guy, left them, only to still be single years later. On the flip side, the book was filled with just as many examples of women who “settled” with their “good enough” guy, and of course, are happily married x years later.
In reality, there is a large gray zone in the middle. I could (hmmm…maybe I should) write a book about how being single after a long-term relationship can be highly beneficial for a young woman.
For what it’s worth, my personal experience leads me to believe that, if by fate, you are lucky enough to even have a shot at “having it all” (because let’s face it, around 5,999,000,000 other people in the world do not), you just may be able to have it all…but not all at once. C’est la vie.