I now pronounce you husband and wife. There are few phrases as sobering, with the possible exceptions of "We have lift-off" and "This country is at war." Yet as they have done for centuries, millions of courageous men and women continue to walk down the aisle every year, without so much as a job description. Now, in her most autobiographical book, Erma Bombeck puts it all in loving and laughing perspective, as she looks back on her own forty-three-year-but-who's-counting marriage and the timeless passages that ...
I now pronounce you husband and wife. There are few phrases as sobering, with the possible exceptions of "We have lift-off" and "This country is at war." Yet as they have done for centuries, millions of courageous men and women continue to walk down the aisle every year, without so much as a job description. Now, in her most autobiographical book, Erma Bombeck puts it all in loving and laughing perspective, as she looks back on her own forty-three-year-but-who's-counting marriage and the timeless passages that make the honorable estate of matrimony the highest-risk, highest-reward profession of all. A Marriage Made in Heaven...or Too Tired for an Affair is Erma's personal story as well as a resonant evocation of the decades that have shaped modern American matrimony - for better, for worse, and for laughs. Since the sunny day in 1949 when Erma and Bill Bombeck first plighted their troth, their marriage has weathered the advent of televised football and the dark side of Donna Reed. They've grappled with teenagers and technology, the women's movement and the sexual revolution, and have patented their own course in Creative Arguing. They've survived both the dream house from hell and the empty nest, and have been there for each other through maternity, miscarriage, and mortality. From the nervous newlywed, to the supermom who elevated guilt to a sacrament, to the steadfast partner, to the shy author on the road, here is an Erma Bombeck readers have never seen before, in a book for all those who are married, who were married, who are thinking about getting married, or who have hesitated (until now!) to take the plunge.
This program, read by the author, is classic Bombeck. She begins with recollections about her wedding and continues through the marriage of one of her children. She enlarges on various aspects of marriage with humor, sarcasm, and innuendo. Ranging from struggling beginnings to changes wrought by the arrival (or non arrival) of children, Bombeck meanders through changes in residence, career moves, to the inevitable aging process, all the while successfully evoking the fitful essence of marriage. She describes scenarios common to many couples, which will likely elicit ``I know what you mean'' from listeners. Bombeck's narration is a definite plus. She delivers the lines as only one who wrote them can, successfully providing the inflection, emphasis, and speed that best convey her meaning. Recommended for general collections.-- Joanna M. Burkhardt, Univ. of Rhode Island Coll. of Continuing Education Lib., Providence
Bombeck (When You Look Like Your Passport Photo, It's Time to Go Home, 1991, etc.) is in top form here, detonating snappy one- liners throughout this account of her 40-plus years of marriage. And there are some unusually serious moments as well: the death, at age 33, of a close friend—the first intimation for Bombeck and her husband that life is finite and for real; a late-life and much- wanted pregnancy that ended in miscarriage; the pathos of reversing roles as the author cared for her aging, ailing mother; Bombeck's breast cancer and mastectomy. The author married Bill Bombeck in the 50's. They had three children, and family life was both satisfying and something of a letdown: "I hid my dreams in the back of my mind. It was the only safe place in the house." The dreams were of writing, and a lecture in the 60's by Betty Friedan galvanized Bombeck to ask her local newspaper if she could write a column. Syndication followed, then bestselling books, and, suddenly, the equilibrium of the Bombeck marriage shifted, as Bill, a teacher, held down the home front and Erma jetted off to talk shows, book tours, and speeches. How did the couple survive such a shift? Bill, in his 50s, found something (marathon running) to excel at independent of his wife, while Erma found that "when the applause died down....I had someone real to go home to." The trials of raising teenagers; of grown kids coming home to freeload in order to afford a fancy car; of offspring delaying marriage and childbearing into their 30's, much to the exasperation of prospective-Grandma Bombeck ("If it doesn't happen soon, my grandchild and I will be in diapers together")—all are described with the author'strademark wit. A few jokes misfire, a few phrases are repetitious. Overall, though, this is as light as a feather—and could float to the top of the lists. (First printing of 500,000)