Catherine's Reviews > I Do and I Don't: A History of Marriage in the Movies

I Do and I Don't by Jeanine Basinger
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Usually I eat up books about Hollywood like candy, especially old Hollywood, so when I saw a gorgeous photo of two of my favorite stars on the cover, I couldn't pass this one up. Unfortunately, this book was so hard to plow through that I set it down several times, and basically had to force myself to finish it.
That isn't to say there aren't some interesting parts, but the author made the mistake of not only doing exhaustive research, but PUTTING ALL OF IT INTO THE BOOK! Instead of discussing the best "marriage movies" and maybe, for contrast, some of the worst or most controversial, she forces the reader to read synopses and analysis of every single movie she could come up with that fit somehow under that category, including movies that even she admits are mediocre or forgettable. If she wanted to show off how many movies she knows of, it would have been better to list them all in the index, and only discuss the most interesting or important ones in the actual text.

For a while, I was trying how to imagine how the author could have watched so many movies in one life time, not to mention the time she spent writing about them. Considering the quality (or lack of) many of the movies, I actually felt sorry for her wasting so much time on them. Then I read that she researched many of them in old magazines, etc. Ah! Which still makes me wonder why she thought we needed to read so many details about so many of them that we have never heard of and will never see (for good reason).

The second problem is one that Basinger also admits up front: the topic of a "marriage movie" just isn't that interesting. If she had written a more concise book that focused on only the interesting or worthwhile movies, she might have succeeded in convincing me otherwise. However because she threw in so many movies of doubtful quality, droning on and on about the same points over and over with each example, she failed to do so (even though one of my favorite films, The Philadelphia Story, probably qualifies as a "marriage movie").
That said, I have to give this book three stars because Basinger obviously worked so darned hard on it that she deserves at least that much for her efforts.

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Reading Progress

February 1, 2017 – Started Reading
September 26, 2017 – Finished Reading
September 27, 2017 – Shelved

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