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I Married My Mother-In-Law by Ilena…
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I Married My Mother-In-Law

by Ilena SIlverman

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It seemed appropriate to finally read this the week that my own in-laws are coming for their first post-wedding visit (we're 1600 miles apart). I've already read The Bitch in the House and The Bastard on the Couch and a few additional similar essay collections, and this volume stays within that vein. It is more serious, however, which is unsurprising. There's just too much inherent conflict in the topic. You also lose some of the annoyance of only hearing from NY/LA freelance yuppies because at least their in-laws come in a wide variety of types. Although there's still an awful lot of Jew vs WASP.

Many classic disagreements are mysteriously missing -- how to raise the kids, dividing up holidays, money. (Then again, how many writers would dare? Even under a pseudonym, your spouse will still know.) Instead, it's mostly death, divorce, and generally getting acquainted. There are two sets of his/her essays, which is clever enough, although there's nothing in the pieces themselves to reveal the connection.

I particularly enjoyed the pieces by Michael Chabon, Susan Straight, and especially Barbara Jones. The sole pseudonymous piece was well-written but I was too distracted by the mystery of her incredibly crappy-from-the-get-go choice of husband to really absorb it.

I have no idea whether I will get anything personally useful from reading this. I'm not six months into my marriage. But it was a quick, pleasant, thoughtful read regardless. ( )
  kristenn | Aug 15, 2010 |
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