Tongue-in-cheek observations on married life coupled with poignant moments of true love and grief.

One man’s humorous tips on navigating the complex marriage highway.

As columnist for the Guardian, Dowling (The Giles Wareing Haters' Club, 2007, etc.) is used to discussing his personal relationships with a public audience. In this laugh-out-loud memoir, he goes in depth in to the 10 years between bachelorhood and fatherhood. From navigating the rocky shores of two continents to be with the woman he loved to the decision to get married, with the caveat they could always get divorced, to the unexpectedness of seeing his firstborn son and the ensuing years of parenthood, Dowling delivers a running commentary on how he stumbled and bumbled his way through it all and somehow achieved a stable and successful union. He also remarks on living with his in-laws and the complicated issues surrounding death. Although not a self-help book, nuggets of unexpected, useful advice on how to be a good husband can be found hidden in the author’s witticisms. When doing a comparison on relevancy between husbands of 1950 versus 2014, he observes, “Being a good husband: 1950—Every time you go out for cigarettes, you come back. Being a relevant husband: 2014—Every time you’re sent out for espresso pods and tampons, you come back with the right sort.” This is sound guidance from a man who has spent much of his time multitasking as a househusband and freelance writer. Multiple lists of helpful advice cover topics such as the necessary items for a DIY tool cupboard (epoxy resin is No. 1), “five things you can actually fix by hitting them with a hammer” and 40 tips on achieving “gross marital happiness” based on the country of Bhutan’s goal of Gross National Happiness for every individual. Dowling’s entertaining commentary on marriage will resonate with men and women alike.

Tongue-in-cheek observations on married life coupled with poignant moments of true love and grief.

Pub Date: Feb. 5, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-399-17293-9

Page Count: 288

Publisher: Blue Rider Press

Review Posted Online: Nov. 10, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2014



This is not the Nutcracker sweet, as passed on by Tchaikovsky and Marius Petipa. No, this is the original Hoffmann tale of 1816, in which the froth of Christmas revelry occasionally parts to let the dark underside of childhood fantasies and fears peek through. The boundaries between dream and reality fade, just as Godfather Drosselmeier, the Nutcracker's creator, is seen as alternately sinister and jolly. And Italian artist Roberto Innocenti gives an errily realistic air to Marie's dreams, in richly detailed illustrations touched by a mysterious light. A beautiful version of this classic tale, which will captivate adults and children alike. (Nutcracker; $35.00; Oct. 28, 1996; 136 pp.; 0-15-100227-4)

Pub Date: Oct. 28, 1996

ISBN: 0-15-100227-4

Page Count: 136

Publisher: Harcourt

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 1996




An extravaganza in Bemelmans' inimitable vein, but written almost dead pan, with sly, amusing, sometimes biting undertones, breaking through. For Bemelmans was "the man who came to cocktails". And his hostess was Lady Mendl (Elsie de Wolfe), arbiter of American decorating taste over a generation. Lady Mendl was an incredible person,- self-made in proper American tradition on the one hand, for she had been haunted by the poverty of her childhood, and the years of struggle up from its ugliness,- until she became synonymous with the exotic, exquisite, worshipper at beauty's whrine. Bemelmans draws a portrait in extremes, through apt descriptions, through hilarious anecdote, through surprisingly sympathetic and understanding bits of appreciation. The scene shifts from Hollywood to the home she loved the best in Versailles. One meets in passing a vast roster of famous figures of the international and artistic set. And always one feels Bemelmans, slightly offstage, observing, recording, commenting, illustrated.

Pub Date: Feb. 23, 1955

ISBN: 0670717797

Page Count: -

Publisher: Viking

Review Posted Online: Oct. 25, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 1955

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