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A MARRIAGE MADE IN HEAVEN...OR TOO TIRED FOR AN AFFAIR by Erma Bombeck

A MARRIAGE MADE IN HEAVEN...OR TOO TIRED FOR AN AFFAIR

By Erma Bombeck

Pub Date: Sept. 29th, 1993
ISBN: 0-06-018322-5
Publisher: HarperCollins

 Bombeck (When You Look Like Your Passport Photo, It's Time to Go Home, 1991, etc.) is in top form here, detonating snappy one- liners throughout this account of her 40-plus years of marriage. And there are some unusually serious moments as well: the death, at age 33, of a close friend--the first intimation for Bombeck and her husband that life is finite and for real; a late-life and much- wanted pregnancy that ended in miscarriage; the pathos of reversing roles as the author cared for her aging, ailing mother; Bombeck's breast cancer and mastectomy. The author married Bill Bombeck in the 50's. They had three children, and family life was both satisfying and something of a letdown: ``I hid my dreams in the back of my mind. It was the only safe place in the house.'' The dreams were of writing, and a lecture in the 60's by Betty Friedan galvanized Bombeck to ask her local newspaper if she could write a column. Syndication followed, then bestselling books, and, suddenly, the equilibrium of the Bombeck marriage shifted, as Bill, a teacher, held down the home front and Erma jetted off to talk shows, book tours, and speeches. How did the couple survive such a shift? Bill, in his 50s, found something (marathon running) to excel at independent of his wife, while Erma found that ``when the applause died down....I had someone real to go home to.'' The trials of raising teenagers; of grown kids coming home to freeload in order to afford a fancy car; of offspring delaying marriage and childbearing into their 30's, much to the exasperation of prospective-Grandma Bombeck (``If it doesn't happen soon, my grandchild and I will be in diapers together'')--all are described with the author's trademark wit. A few jokes misfire, a few phrases are repetitious. Overall, though, this is as light as a feather--and could float to the top of the lists. (First printing of 500,000)