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Wedding Toasts I'll Never Give

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3.88  ·  Rating details ·  1,373 ratings  ·  205 reviews
We hear plenty about whether or not to get married, but much less about what it takes to stay married. Clichés around marriage—eternal bliss, domestic harmony, soul mates—leave out the real stuff. After marriage you may still want to sleep with other people. Sometimes your partner will bore the hell out of you. And when stuck paying for your spouse’s mistakes, you might mi ...more
Paperback, 192 pages
Published June 5th 2018 by W. W. Norton Company (first published May 16th 2017)
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Diane
Aug 03, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: memoirs
This is a charming memoir about marriage and what it takes to stay married. The humorous advice commonly given is, "Don't get divorced," and most of this book is about how that joke is both true and also ridiculously oversimplified.

Ada Calhoun begins the book by admitting she doesn't give toasts at weddings:


I prefer to sit quietly under the twinkling lights, enjoying other people's efforts. Some are perfect mini-sermons — but better, because at the end there's champagne. Some go rattling off the
...more
David Yoon
Jan 04, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
It's a book filled with marriage advice - which clearly dooms this book to a purgatory of well-intentioned bromides and Pinterest worthy quotes suitable for placement over a picture of a sun dappled tropical beach. But Ada Calhoun is far smarter and way more real-talk than that.

Her advice on not getting divorced? Don’t get divorced. The idea you’d take a bullet for your husband or wife - that bullet is infidelity. No easy advice here - and she backs it up with candid vulnerability and a courage
...more
Scott
May 20, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I wish Ada Calhoun and I were actual friends, because she's smart and clever and perceptive and likes to talk for a long time about things like the history of the East Village and how the fact that NYC is always changes isn't necessarily "bad" (this was in the fantastic St. Marks Is Dead) and, now, in the slight but effortlessly engaging and insightful Wedding Toasts, about the complicated nature of love and sex and relationships--specifically, in the context of marriage--and what they do to peo ...more
Rene Denfeld
Jun 10, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This is a deceptive book. You might think from the title it will be cutesy, but it is not. Instead it is filled with warmth and wisdom—not just about marriage but all kinds of relationships, from parenting to friendships. Calhoun writes with grace and humor. She dismantles the cultural expectations of relationships deftly, but leaves plenty of room for hope. I often think of this book when navigating the rough but rewarding waters of foster parenting.
Lindsay Detwiler
"To hitch your rickety wagon to the flickering star of another fallible human being--what an insane thing to do. What a burden, and what a gift."

Ada Calhoun's frank, eye-opening, and deeply thought-provoking Wedding Toasts I'll Never Give truly sucked me in from the first page. I'm not a huge fan of books that give marriage advice because in reality, I've found them to usually be condescending in nature or too "prim and proper." Ada Calhoun shattered all of those ideas I had about marriage books
...more
Sara
Jun 10, 2017 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: giveaway
I think I'm definitely in the minority here, but this book was just not funny or 'gosh this girl is so smart about marriage and she's cheeky about it too!' for me.

I found the second chapter, or toast, to be the best; the one that I really understood and felt strong, positive feelings towards. It made me feel optimistic, rather than depressed and out of my depth about marriage, reading as a single girl in her younger twenties.

A lot of this information about how marriage is a struggle and 86.9% o
...more
Pia
May 30, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Loved this. It's a lovely elegy to marriage, why we choose people to stay with for the rest of our lives and why the best marriages are irregular and strangely shaped.
Terzah
Mar 11, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The idea that my marriage could end terrifies me. Yes, I know many people are caught in marriages that *should* end, and that a marriage ending isn't the end of the world--people recover and even thrive afterwards. Nonetheless, I love my husband, and one of the great goals of my life is to be with him and only him, truly, until death do us part. I believe in the promise I made to him almost 13 years ago. And it makes me sad, every time, when the marriages of family members, friends and acquainta ...more
Suep
May 29, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a witty? read about marriages and the challenges faced. I liked it; didn't love it.
Laura K
Sep 30, 2018 rated it really liked it
I picked up this book after reading a couple of articles by Ada Calhoun in the Modern Love section of the New York Times. I really like her writing and her observations about relationships and marriage. The essays are both funny and thoughtful. Maybe I am old fashioned (and I am clearly not living nearly as an exciting life as the author where she seems to often have to fight off temptation), but I did not really relate to the parts where she discussed levels of infidelity. Nevertheless, I enjoy ...more
Laura Jean
This is NOT a book to give newlyweds.

Tomorrow, I will be 3 months into my second marriage. I loved it though perhaps that's because my first marriage was over a decade long, so I am familiar with what a long term marriage entails. But for those newlywed and still full of young love and hope and without the disillusionment that reality inevitably brings, this book is not for you.

It is for anyone else who has been married for a while. The author looks at marriage and the struggle of marriage. Th
...more
Nicole
Jul 06, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Outstanding-- I even read the dang ole notes.
Bec Rindler
Aug 01, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This was sweet and fun - perfect for a newlywed read. Made even better if you're familiar with her husband, the rapper and performance artist Champagne Jerry. A good reminder that relationships are a mix of awe-inspiring emotion and struggle, quotidian annoyances and companionship in storms.
Jenna
Jun 09, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Some strong essays, and the author's surprisingly frank discussion of marriage and monogamy is refreshing, but overall I found the tone to be smug and self-satisfied. Despite having married and divorced in her early twenties before entering her current marriage at 28, Calhoun seems to view herself as some kind of marriage guru, and her writing suggests that she views marriage as a stepping stone into adulthood, something single or merely "coupled" but unmarried people are incapable of fully expe ...more
Joanne Serling
Dec 13, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I went into this book with a bit of skepticism. I had never read Calhoun's famous NYT column and assumed the book would be similar to a women's magazine article. However, I'm on a quest to read current memoirs and essays collections and this book kept popping up on my Kindle feed. As soon as I started the sample, I was hooked. Calhoun is a gifted and very funny writer who isn't afraid to be honest about her own marriage. I loved the way she wove her observations about her relationship into inter ...more
Michelle
Very charming rumination on marriage. Though I don't relate entirely to the author's marriage or the problem (and joys) within, this is a good reminder how universal so many aspects of marriage truly are. I laughed out loud several times and also got a little teary-eyed with gratitude. She writes that marriage is not made up of many endless years slogging through faithfully but of moments of grace. A quick, uplifting read...and deeper than it appears. You have to admire someone who writes an hon ...more
Angela

Though there were some moments of insight and wit in this slim memoir-style book on marriage, I found the overall narrative to be disjointed and too slim on content to really feel like I gained much from it. I also found the tell-all style of the author to be less endearing or relatable than I think was intended, and the voice came across as often simultaneously smug and adolescent, which didn't endear me much to the couple's struggles and triumphs.
Kristin
Jun 27, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Reading this collection of essays is a lot more affordable and fun than couples therapy. Funny and sad and contemplative and honest -- it nudges you to reevaluate and appreciate your own relationships.
Mrs. Bradshaw
Sep 18, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
I received this book in exchange for an honest review. Unfortunately, it has taken me entirely too long to make reading it a priority, and now that I have finished it, I'm sad I didn't do so sooner.

I think this is the perfect book for every married person to read. Ada Calhoun recounts times in her marriage that'll make you stop and say, "Wait, you guys, too?" There's really something to be said about acknowledging the similarities in all marriages despite how different they can be. It normalizes
...more
Jessica
Apr 21, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A dose of realness

I finished this book a month before my own wedding and feel it was the perfect read for this moment. My partner and I have been together for 7 years so I didn't want to read fluff about how marriage is this amazing celebration of love with rainbows and glitter (although don't get me wrong, I love glitter). Ada Calhoun talks about the hard parts of being in a relationship with another person, the work of takes to make that relationship successful, and the times when people screw
...more
Emily
Jul 18, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is one of the few books I'd consider buying even though I've already read it. Ada Calhoun's take on marriage is incredibly relatable and insightful, and her "toasts" were the perfect blend of humor, romanticism, and honesty. The only caveat here is that if you are divorced or seriously considering it, this book might make you feel ostracized. Calhoun is very much in the "stay married always" camp, and she writes about divorce in such a way that it seems to have no benefits. With that said, ...more
B
Jun 24, 2018 rated it it was ok
Shelves: fluff
Tom Hanks told me to read this book.

Bold move, Tom Hanks.

Bad move, Tom Hanks.

Wedding Toasts I'll Never Give is a collection of anecdotes wherein Ada Calhoun shares that she cheats on her husband sometimes, but then flips out when another woman finds him attractive.

Girl gets points for being honest in a world where people like to pretend that, unless you never fight and never think of someone else naked, your marriage is a failure. We're all animals: we are going to fight and we are going to want
...more
Karen Stanton
Jul 28, 2018 rated it really liked it
I really liked this book. I loved Ada’s sense of humor, her honesty, the quotations she included about marriage. I bought a copy of it as soon as I finished the copy I had borrowed from the library. I appreciated the lack of sugar coating in this book and agree with her that marriage Is just mostly a decision to stay.
Anna W.
Jun 23, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A humorous and insightful look into marriage through the lens of what one would not say while giving a wedding toast. Calhoun offers up anecdotes, quotes from others, celebrity and famous persons’ insights, along with a broken narrative with suggestions and advice about marriage.

I found many parts to be quite humorous, and in several sections I even laughed aloud. I have been married and divorced, so many of the more traumatic and stifling aspects of marriage I am familiar with. Regardless of th
...more
Kattyaj
Dec 20, 2018 rated it it was ok
I didn't find this book "witty" or "full of humor." Ada was not very likeable and had a generally negative outlook on marriage. Partly, I'm tired of books about bad marriages but I was also hoping for more from this.
Joelle Klein
Jan 21, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Listened to it. I thought your insights into marriage were really interesting and provocative.
Chesney Woodchek
Jan 10, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Loved this book and would recommend it for anyone thinking to get married or already married!
Meredith
Nov 29, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
Started strong, but lost steam about midway through. Still, some good takeaways, things to remember.
Morgan Martin
I liked the raw and truthfulness of the book. It gave some good perspective on what if takes to have a long and lasting marriage. Two of the toasts were on infidelity, which felt repetitive but overall it had good advice.
Vicki
Jan 11, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: nonfiction
Equal parts philosophy, memoir, and advice/self-help, this was a heartfelt and often laugh out loud series of reflections.
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Ada Calhoun is the author of Wedding Toasts I'll Never Give, named by W magazine one of the best 10 memoirs of 2017; and of St. Marks Is Dead, chosen by Kirkus and the Boston Globe as one of the best books of 2015.
“By staying married, we give something to ourselves and to others: hope. Hope that in steadfastly loving someone, we ourselves, for all our faults, will be loved; that the broken world will be made whole. To hitch your rickety wagon to the flickering star of another fallible human being -- what an insane thing to do. What a burden, and what a gift.” 11 likes
“So what's the secret to staying together?" I asked her. "Be nice?" she offered. I laughed, but that may be it, the way a secret to losing weight is to eat less. Be nice. Don't leave. That's all.” 4 likes
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