Kristen Northrup's Reviews > Why Not Marry

Why Not Marry by Anna Steese Richardson
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's review
Sep 07, 08

bookshelves: fromlibrary, nonfiction, womens-studies
Read in September, 2008

I enjoy (in a horror movie kind of way) really old housewife-advice books, but this one was very surprising. It's from 1917 but you pretty much just have to remove all the references to domestic help to make it blend in today. And most of the pieces were written by a man; Richardson seems to just be the editor. They were originally magazine articles. All the sources of marital strife are still relevant. There was nothing about obedience or subservience. Even the remarks on feminism were remarkably familiar (equality in the home and the workplace is absolutely appropriate but describing all men as evil needs to stop). And the marriage failure rate was just as high as today, if you add the divorces to the people who chose permanent separation. Probably half of it was class and money issues -- dial back on the materialism, don't buy things on credit, she's willing to marry you before you've made partner. There was an argument for sex education for women. There was a chapter on how kids were being over-scheduled in order to get them into the best colleges and the best careers and thus families no longer seemed to ever spend time together -- that was weird. The more things change....

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