From Publishers Weekly
Tempt a woman with a truckload of wedding gifts and social approbation, says Geller, and she's more than happy to forget that matrimony is the last institution she should want to join, given its patriarchal history. A single woman in her 30s working on her Ph.D. in English at New York University, Geller examines modern marriage in a lively, accessible book that's one part academic analysis and three parts rant. Fleeing a stultifying upper-class suburb, she found college so stimulating that she refused to swap cerebral pursuits for a conventional married life. As friend after friend rushed down the aisle, however, she began to examine why marriage is so revered that it automatically trumps a close, platonic friendship; the excitement of multiple sexual relationships; or a solitary, contemplative existence. Determined to find the answer, Geller pores over husband-hunting manuals and wedding guidebooks, and even poses as a bride at Bloomingdale's bridal registry, where the crystal pitchers, silver fondue dishes and Limoges soup tureens, she confesses, have tremendous allure. Women opt for house and husband, she suggests, because they've been subjected to a centuries-long, pro-marriage marketing campaign. Other lifestyles generate no comparable media blitz "no images of a woman burrowing at home with a book and a glass of wine, or sitting up with a friend talking." While Geller's argument is refreshing and timely in an age of wedding hype, some readers may wish that she spent more time exploring the pleasures and benefits of uncommon lifestyles and less telling readers why marriage is to be avoided at all costs.
Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc.
From Library Journal
In contrast to Marcia Seligson's lighthearted The Eternal Bliss Machine: America's Way of Wedding (1973), this work by Geller (English, New York Univ.) is a lengthy critique of both weddings and the institution of marriage. Using histories of women, histories of marriage, and popular culture sources, she builds her case that marriage institutionalizes gender inequality and that the "big white wedding," with all its customs and extravagance, is a public demonstration of that inequality and the popular notion that marriage is a woman's destiny. Geller proposes, but does not extensively elaborate on, a coming-of-age rite that would celebrate the individuality and independence of each woman, whether or not she had a male partner. Geller's somewhat dour book makes good points but does not completely persuade. Appropriate for public libraries and women's studies collections. Patricia A. Beaber, Coll. of New Jersey, Ewing
Copyright 2001 Reed Business Information, Inc.