I read this on Boston.com and it looked like a book I will have to read...
WHICH REMINDS ME! I read a really cute book (well I am not sure that cute is the word) it is called Heroes, hooks, and Heirlooms and if anyone wants to borrow it I will happily share :-D
What makes a marriage work?
Frank essays from female writers
By Diana Brown, Globe Correspondent January 24, 2006
TEWKSBURY -- For 18 months, Jean Trounstine and Karen Propp met in cafes, deliberated via e-mail, and chatted by phone as they co-edited a collection of moving, honest essays about marriage by a roster of heavy-hitting writers. Along the way, they discovered their collaboration itself mirrored a marriage.
''I found myself getting angry at you for the same thing that I get angry at my husband," Propp, who lives in Cambridge, said as the two friends talked in Trounstine's Tewksbury living room. Trounstine knew instantly: Propp became upset whenever she felt controlled or infringed upon.
That professional bond helped fuel the creative process for their book, ''Why I'm Still Married: Women Write Their Hearts Out on Love, Loss, Sex, and Who Does the Dishes," due in bookstores today.
The book evolved from a discovery they made in 2004 after first meeting at a reading in Providence. Having coffee afterward, they realized they both had written essays titled ''Why I'm Still Married." The title stuck because it resonated and made people chuckle.
''In working on this book; I felt less alone in my marriage," said Propp, 48, who has taught writing at Boston College, the University of Massachusetts, and the University of New Hampshire. She has been married for 10 years and has an 8-year-old son. ''People will be able to find themselves in these essays."
''The book allows you to feel that your own marriage is OK," said Trounstine, 59, a writer and playwright who teaches at Middlesex Community College in Lowell. She has been married for 18 years and has no children. ''As long as you have more happy days than not, then you feel you're in the right place with the right person. But it's a range, and we give people permission to have a range."
Reading the book is like listening to a chorus of women's voices, peeling away layers on individual marriages. It's an introspective look inside a private, richly nuanced part of life. It's confessional, but it also reads like a collection of philosophies about how an eclectic group of women navigates the bumpy, circuitous, steep, joyous, frightening, dark, and, ultimately, triumphant road into intimate partnerships.
To tell the stories, Propp and Trounstine assembled a collection of 24 writers with impressive oeuvres, including Marge Piercy, Ann Bernays, Erica Jong, Susan Cheever, Diana Abu-Jaber, Julia Alvarez, ZZ Packer, and Bharati Mukherjee. They are Fulbright fellows, National Book Critics Circle Award winners, PEN award winners, Pushcart Prize and O. Henry winners. Nearly half live in New England. ''We asked to hear about the longings, losses, and betrayals in conjugal life that had tested their commitment," Propp and Trounstine wrote in the book's introduction.
They questioned why women still marry. ''We know the dismal statistics: more than 50 percent of contemporary marriages end in divorce; married women are more depressed than married men and significantly more depressed than single women; married women with young children are the most depressed population.
''We wanted to know about the real marriages that survive, despite obstacles and struggles. We wanted people who were smart, articulate, funny, brave, and, above all, honest," they wrote.
In some cases, the authors are wrenchingly honest. Propp dissects her husband's rages in her essay, ''Matching Luggage." ''This is not an essay about healthy anger, the cleansing honesty that comes when both people trust each other enough to let their feelings rip . . . This is a story about an anger that's as bewildering as it is shameful -- a hidden emotional spring in which I almost drowned."
Susan Dworkin wrote about being married to a man who is estranged from his father: ''It was my very first encounter with the wages of divorce and the rage of abandoned kids. A bitter lesson, it lived on in my mind." She and her husband endured separation and reconciliation. ''You think everything was perfect after that? No way. Perfect is for kids, and we were -- finally -- grown-ups."
In the mix, there are children of divorce, lesbians, women who have been married once or three times, and women who have open marriages in which affairs are tolerated and celebrated. They endure cancer, strokes, heart attacks, and other health crises that can bring partners closer.
''Marriage is primal stuff -- two people confronting their own mortality," Jong wrote in her essay. ''It is not for the faint of heart. It is not for beginners."
Propp and Trounstine embarked on this literary expedition shortly after May 17, 2004, the day same-sex marriage became legal in Massachusetts -- a topic that is covered in the book by writers Elizabeth Graver and Helen Fremont. ''We fill the gaps for each other; growing into the holes left behind. We double up and increase our resistance; we are twice as brave," Fremont wrote.
Interspersed in the book, which is much more literary in tone than a ''how-to" manual, are words of advice. ''It's the angry silences that torpedo [marriages]," Jong wrote. ''Good marriages are noisy."
And the writers tried to grapple with the notion of why they stay together. ''Maybe what keeps us married is the hand that reaches across the abyss to comfort, a moment in darkness that outlasts all the fleeting brilliance of daylight," wrote Trounstine in her essay, ''The Finish Line." ''It takes us through the tough spots -- illness, job loss, our broken hearts."
Packer offered: ''We got married for love, yet we remain married for the times when love is as apparent and as obvious as the sun rising yet another day, and for all the times when our love seems so distant that we wonder why we bother with each other at all."