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I Do but I Don't: Why the Way We Marry Matters Paperback


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Da Capo Lifelong Books (May 7, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0738210889
  • ISBN-13: 978-0738210889
  • Product Dimensions: 8.8 x 5.6 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.6 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 3.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,848,999 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

About the Author

A contributor to Salon.com, Kamy Wicoff lives in New York City. She and her husband have two children.

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

17 of 18 people found the following review helpful By M. Broder on September 2, 2007
Format: Paperback
I have conflicting feelings about this book in the vein that Wicoff feels conflicted (very much in retrospect) about the rituals of American marriage today.

On the one hand, she is a good scholar and an engaging writer when it comes to dissecting the status quo through a 21st century feminist lens. I found the chapter about engagements invaluable! She helped me to understand my own ambivalent feelings about the whole process. I've since found myself sharing several insights from the book with friends, including the notion that: as modern career women we are taught that to speak up and take charge is to assert our independence--in every arena except when it comes to getting engaged. In this realm, we exhibit independence by keeping silent and are thereby robbed of our power.

Yet as a memoir I found the story trite and I had to struggle to get through sacharine descriptions of her family, hubby Andrew, and friendships. To me, these sections were actually very status quo and whitebread, with a fair share of cloying yuppie elitism thrown in for good measure.

Wicoff would have strengthened her book by trimming much, if not all, of the memoir. I understand what she was trying to accomplish by discussing her own experience as it clashed with her feminist ideals; but since so many of her revellations are in retrospect, she is asking the reader to think outside the box in ways that she herself was unwilling to even try. She comes off as hypocritical.
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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful By History Teacher on July 11, 2008
Format: Paperback
The author wants to have her (wedding) cake and eat it too. She manages to boast about her more than two carat VVS emerald cut diamond platinum engagement ring (in a long chapter on why engagement rings are bad, that ends with her ceasing to wear said ring -- but getting a ruby-studded ring to wear instead), about her Vera Wang dress,letting us know that it cost more than $1700, while whining on and on about how wedding dresses are bad, about--but you get the point. She continually says 'we' feel conflicted about this and conflicted about that, while describing the feelings of a very elite group of women, who can afford to get married in a certain way (and to live in a certain way afterwards) but have been taught in college feminist classes to be feel bad about it. There were no interesting insights here about anything, much less informed discussion--just a rehashing of the view that traditional marriage is bad and must be changed (while describing her EXPENSIVE traditional marriage). I ended the book feeling very sorry for Andrew, her then fiance and now husband, but not otherwise enlightened about anything at all. And very glad that I got married (twenty-five happy years now) back in the days when you were happy to be engaged to the guy you loved, happy to get a ring (size of diamond did not matter) and happy to celebrate the day with the people you loved without spending big $$$ and thinking that "how the wedding day turned out was symbolic of your worth as a woman". (Yes, she really writes that she felt that.)

P.S. Wicoff has very strange ideas about people her parents' age, as well.
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Format: Kindle Edition
I read this book a few years ago in my mid-20s, and it stuck with me. I recommended it to friends, particularly for the engagement chapter recommended in another customer review, and while they've had mixed feelings about it -- the elite social strata it deals with (not worse than Eat, Pray, Love in its blindness to class, though), and the memoir aspects of it -- we had lots of very interesting and important discussions that would likely not have happened without this book...not because we wouldn't have talked about those things, but because the book gave a structure to that discussion, and offered several insights we wouldn't have thought of ourselves.

Having those conversations made me see a way forward where there had been only shudder-inducing petal-strewn aisles and a huge white dress before.

Of course there are brides (past and present) who don't feel pressure from the wedding-industrial complex to give in to a "fairy tale wedding." But I do think that this book has a strong message to share with younger brides now, who may be constantly challenged to have their weddings a certain way. It's not about whether the history is statistically exact; it's about the stories we tell ourselves about the past, and whether those have an effect on us now. The narrative of the "fairy tale wedding" IS having an effect, and we need alternative narratives, and discussions of why that is and how it happens, to de-pressurize.

Wicoff's book did that for me. I found reading it very helpful, discussion-inspiring and freeing; even now years after I've put the book down -- having become engaged through mutual choice and now planning a low-pressure wedding that would not have felt possible if I hadn't read Wicoff's book -- I'm glad to have read it.
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