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.