GETTING MARRIED by Cathy Stein & Thomas J. Cottle Greenblatt


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One of those broad-based sociological surveys that unearths primarily what was known or suspected all along. Focusing on the engagement-through-nuptials experience, Greenblatt (Sociology, Rutgers) and Cottle (Psychology, Harvard Med) break their subject down into components: elements of the decision, social and economic pressures, family roles, etc. They also take a stab at debunking the cohabitation-as-paradise myth; such a lifestyle, they insist, is ""tolerated"" but not ""respected,"" and nine-tenths of all Americans will marry at least once in their lifetimes. Feeblest are the chapters devoted to such frippery as how and when the announcement occurs; we find out, for example, that ""the most common practice is to tell one's Parents first."" And, listening to transcripts of one woman's conversation with caterers, we also find out how crassly business and commercial interests can intrude on a wedding. Where the authors do latch onto something potentially interesting, there is no substantive follow-up: we learn that there is a difference between male and female approaches to marriage (she apparently screens each date as a potential mate, whereas he hears wedding bells only after meeting that ""special woman""), but little is done with that finding. Finally, too many quotes from respondents, at too great a length, dull whatever impact the book might have had. There is no excitement, no sense of discovery here; it all comes across as hard work with small reward.

Pub Date: Oct. 26th, 1980
Publisher: McGraw-Hill