I just finished this book and while nothing earth shattering or ground breaking was presented it was still interesting. Well, I only found it interesting in so far as it provided me with a string of random facts. Actually, this book is kind of just that – random facts strung together somewhat chronologically to give you an idea of how the institution of marriage has changed over time.
I really only gave this book 3 stars on Goodreads. It deserved more like 2 1/2 but that doesn’t mean I don’t recommend it (kind of). I have a lot of criticisms of this book (the biggest being the history is cursory, most discussions are treated as anecdotes, the analysis can be described with the following “well, duh!!!” and the statistics on modern marriage weren’t broken down enough by race or class for my liking).
Anyway, I wanted to share the following passage because I read it last night and laughed out loud. Not because it is funny but because its true and sad.
“College graduates and women with higher earnings are now more likely to marry than women with less education and lower wages, although they generally marry at an older age. The legal profession is one big exception to this generalization. Female attorneys are less likely to ever marry, to have children, or to remarry after divorce than women in other professions. But an even higher proportion of male attorneys are childless, suggesting there might be something about this career that is unfriendly to everyone’s family life, not just women’s.” page 285
There were quite a few points made in this book that made me stop and think. I am sure you won’t be surprised to know those points dealt primarily with the division of labor in modern households, the evolving gender norms and the role of women in marriage, and the impact of children on marriage and female identity. Actually, on that last point I wish the book had offered something more. Granted, that isn’t what the book was meant to discuss but it got me thinking and made me curious. As I hunt for books my public library over the next few weeks I’m going to try and explore books on that very topic. For those of you who are interested, I will keep you posted on what I find!