Lacey Louwagie's Reviews > Marry Him: The Case for Settling for Mr. Good Enough

Marry Him by Lori Gottlieb
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Sep 15, 2010

really liked it
bookshelves: non-fiction
Read from August 30 to September 07, 2010

So, despite the fact that the feminists hated this book, I gave it four stars. And here comes my justification.

Like most of those who criticize the book, I was less than thrilled with Gottlieb's depiction of remaining single as the worst-possible-outcome. To be really fair and well-rounded, the book should have given at least a passing acknowledgment that a miserable marriage is an equally appalling, and in many cases, worse, outcome. Still, this book does NOT advocate coupling up at all costs, which is why I let it off the hook. Instead, it serves as a wakeup call to women to start looking for more realistic relationships and to focus on qualities that REALLY matter -- such as generosity, kindness, and honesty -- over superficial qualities such as height, favorite types of music, etc. It's other bit of "wake-up call" mentality reminds women that they aren't perfect, either, so it's not fair to expect their partner to be (I know, shocker, right?).

The "want-to-have-it-all" women depicted in this book, women who dumped men for not having seen their favorite movies (um, why not suggest watching it together) or for having nose hairs that were too long, did feel a little extreme to me. Gottlieb herself is incredibly bold in what she's willing to reveal about her own ridiculous hang-ups (she doesn't want to date someone who's short or into sci-fi -- fine by me, all the more sci-fi dudes for me!). And although she does come across as demanding, unrealistic, and whiny at times, I also admire her willingness to put all those faults out on display.

So while I didn't wholly relate to her -- I never have been in search of perfection -- I still couldn't put this book down. The examination of what mattered in long-term happy relationships vs. what didn't was fascinating and drew upon psychology, spirituality, and other relationship "experts" (maybe a few too many "matchmakers.") There's also a healthy dose of reality vs. the "longer you wait, the better the spouse you'll end up with" mentality. In actuality, the most desirable spouses will often be the "first to go," and the pool of possibility will continue to get smaller over time. This isn't to say that you should settle, of course, but only that you need to be aware of this reality's potential to affect you.

It's also important to note that, despite the title, this book does not advocate "settling", or staying in a relationship that is unhealthy or makes you unhappy. And comparisons to previous anti-feminist dating books like "The Rules" are really unfair, as the book doesn't encourage changing who you are or how you act to be in a relationship, either. Instead, it drives home the idea that, if you've found a guy that has 80% of what you want, that's a catch--not someone worth throwing back for that perfect 100%. Because in actuality, perfect people don't exist. Well, duh. But sometimes it takes a whole book to get that into some people's heads.
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08/31/2010 page 90

Comments (showing 1-6 of 6) (6 new)

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message 1: by Keir (new)

Keir That sounds like the book "The None" from the TV show "Being Erica". I wonder if the fictitious book inspired the real one.

Lacey Louwagie I've never seen "Being Erica," but I wouldn't be surprised if a fictitious book was based on this one. It made quite a stink when it came out, apparently. I read the author's article, which was the inspiration for the book, a year or so ago and thought it made a valid argument. When the book came out, it got a lot of [negative:] press in the feminist media. So when I saw it at the library after all that hype, I couldn't resist taking it home. It's interesting so far.

message 3: by Theodora (new)

Theodora Ha -- I saw Being Erica too. It sounds like this book!

message 4: by Keir (new)

Keir I looked it up and the fictitious book was on TV about a year before the real one was published. It may just be coincidence, but it is an interesting one. In the show, the book got a lot of negative press too, but, if I remember right, it was mostly from males who were offended by not being considered perfect.

Lacey Louwagie Keir wrote: "I looked it up and the fictitious book was on TV about a year before the real one was published. It may just be coincidence, but it is an interesting one. In the show, the book got a lot of negat..."

That means the episode probably aired while the book was in the process of being written -- maybe they based the book off the author's article, which was published much earlier. Or maybe it's another case of the collective consciousness at work!

I do find myself wondering how men might take this book -- I don't think anyone wants to feel as if they were "settled for," although that's not what the book is actually about.

message 6: by Keir (new)

Keir What I get from the description is that it is more about being realistic about your goals than settling for someone that isn't good enough. I think a lot of guys would be relieved that someone is taking the pressure off of them to be perfect, but the words "settled for" are kind of off-putting. In reality, you are always settling for something though. It's not necessarily a bad thing.

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