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on May 29, 2001
I purchased this book on the recommendation of my best friend (a newlywed) when my boyfriend and I started preliminary discussions about "the future." A fiercely independent, practical, 25 year-old, I was looking for some insight into the feelings, worries, and expectations associated with early engagement and marriage. I was amazed by this book. Thank goodness for Marg Stark!
Stark's insightful, frank text is intended for female newlyweds, brides-to-be, or women considering "taking the plunge" who want to get some insight into the ups and downs of marriage. Written from the perspective of Stark (a writer/newlywed) and based on interviews with 50+ recently married woman, this book covers everything from mourning the loss of singlehood, to addressing and overcoming the money/power dynamic, to finding fulfillment in sharing your life with another person - while still maintaining your independence.
So many books out there are about "Planning Your Dream Wedding." However, this book gracefully avoids talk of wedding (except in two of the early chapters), instead concentrating on the time after the honeymoon.
Engagement and marriage is a difficult time. Not only must a bride deal with the pressure of a wedding, but also the joy/dramas associated with sharing her life with someone else. Often times, this happens at the same time a bride is trying to earn a living, raise children, go to school, find a new apartment, etc. With each chapter, Stark chips away the stereotypes associated with brides and marriage. Brides don't have to plaster on a smile all the time just because they're told that "this is the happiest time of your life." Marriage can be fun and sexy.
Also, the book carefully avoids the declarative feel of a "how to" book. Stark simply shares her observations and leaves it up to you to make the decisions. You'll put down the book feeling like you just had a conversation with a sage, understanding friend over a steaming latte.
Here are a few notes:
- Both the author and the majority of the brides she interviewed are college-educated, 23-33 year-old professionals. That being the case, the content is skewed to that particular demographic.
- Stark uses many anecdotes from her own life (and that of her husband Duke) to illustrate her points. I found this engaging and enlightening. Some may find it repetitive and biased.
- The book is content-rich with well organized chapters. Readers can easily go back to re-read sections that interest them. (However, I strongly recommend reading it cover to cover.)
- This makes an excellent bridal shower gift.
This is not a book to miss. Highly recommended.
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on September 30, 2003
This book is Horrible Advice for young women who are honestly seeking reassurance during an incredibly stressful time. I believe this book does a grave disservice to young women by making it cute to be a spoiled brat. Stark goes on and on about the difficulty of letting go of her wonderfully exciting single life but it is her husband, Duke, who turns out to be the exemplary character in the book. Duke is the voice of calm and reason to the author's selfish whining.
The worst part is when Stark explains that one bride's way of dealing with pre-wedding jitters was to have a "fling." What Stark calls a "fling," most normal people call adultery. (And I'm not religious or conservative.) Any half-baked marriage counselor can tell you that having an affair can be disastrous for a relationship. It gets worse: "To this day, her husband does not know about the fling" ( p.48).
After that brilliant piece of advice, I didn't have a shred of faith in this author and could not continue reading this book. If you're nervous in anticipation of your wedding, Good! It's an important, exciting time!
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on March 16, 2000
I received this book as a gift before I got married almost two years ago and I have not seen anything quite like it since then. It is humor-filled and easy to read. A welcome distraction from the stress of planning a wedding. It is a great book for newly engaged or newly married women. When I got married, many of my friends had already taken the plunge. They all acted as if life was a fairytale and gave me no warning that my trip down the aisle would be anything but perfect and blissful. By reading this book I came to understand that weddings and marriage are just like anything else in life - there are bound to be some problems, but you can work through them and they don't have to ruin all the wonderful things about getting married. Understanding that made it much easier to deal with. This book demystifies the engagement and wedding and the early years of marriage. By reading this book I was comforted in knowing that I was not alone in some of my experiences. I never had any doubt that I wanted to marry my husband but reading this book was helpful because I was able to relax and let go of some of my anxiety about marriage. Many phenomena that were confusing to me were explained in this book in an easy to understand and humorous way. Marg also gives some great, simple and common-sense advice about beginning a marriage that everyone can use. My husband also found comfort in many of the book's revelations.
The author's experience was as an independent, older bride, however, much of her advice and information is relevant to brides of all ages and backgrounds. Many younger brides (like me and most of my friends) who may be idealistic about weddings and marriage and have unrealistic expectations will be better prepared to deal with unexpected but inevitable problems they will face during this period in their life. The book will reassure them that what they are going through is normal, and will help them focus on the really important thing - their love for their fiance/husband and the lifelong relationship they are building together. I have been waiting to be able to buy this book for my few friends who have not yet gotten hitched. I am excited to be giving it as a gift this week.
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on December 30, 1999
Going through my engagement was supposed to be the epitome of all happy life experiences, but the stress of wedding planning, merging families and giving up my single life proved to be a bit more stressful than seemless! The book "What No One Tells the Bride" arrived in my life just in time to reassure me that everything I was feeling and going through was not only "normal" but was common to most other brides/newlyweds too! I highly recommend this book for ANYONE who is engaged or newly married. As a matter of fact, I'm making it my new favorite gift for all my engaged friends so hopefully they can start the process more prepared than I was! Thank You Marg Stark for writing this book so I didn't have to! You've finally come out and said what we were all quietly thinking but were too afraid to talk about until now!
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on January 24, 2008
I read What No One Tells the Bride a while ago and was shocked when I read the review titled "What Have You Done for Me Lately." Let me quote what comes straight after "To this day, her husband does not know about the fling" on page 48.

"Now, I'm not recommending a fling as the learning experience is was for Yvonne. But among the brides I interviewed for the book, Yvonne's experience is not that uncommon. Many brides contemplated one last fling, while almost everyone I know or interviewed, either in the engagement or early in the marriage, entertained such questions as, Am I doing the right thing? Did I marry the right person? Or, Am I even the marrying kind?"

The review I am replying to paints an unfair picture of this book, and represents an attitude that many brides struggle with. It may not be OK to have one last fling, but judgmental attitudes towards the many complicated emotions people experience while navigating their relationships lead to shame, which is not productive for anyone. Cheers to Stark for talking about the stuff everyone's afraid they're the only one thinking or experiencing.
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on August 17, 2005
Don't wait until after the wedding to read this book. Read this book months before you even think about saying "I do". Maybe even give a copy to the groom-to-be.

The most powerful message I took away from "What No One Tells The Bride" is that if you are not happy before you get married, you won't be happy after you get married. So, if you hope that the wedding will make everything better, it won't. Fix you, then get married J.

Throughout this book, married women reveal the little truths about marriage that they had to learn the hard way. It's as if you're in a little room and all of your girlfriends are telling you what you need to know before you get married, all the dirty details and not so dirty details. Even though the title may seem as if it the information is all negative, it's not. Marriage can, and should be a wonderful thing. Once you put the unrealistic expectations behind you, you and your honey can work on creating a lasting marriage that works.

I trust that any would-be wife will find "What No One Tells The Bride" a delightful gift and welcomed friend.
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on January 12, 2000
This book really changed my course. It is an incredibly sane, funny, insightful look into being a grown up woman and getting engaged. I was already frustrated by the planning of a wedding, as well as some personal changes that went on in the same period, and then I started to discover all the "secret" horrors of engagement...your friends don't call you as much, you worry about your commitment to feminism, you see a cute boy in a bar, etc. I was getting a little antsy that I was some kind of flake when I receieved this book.
I got it from my best friend, a self-help junkie, and found it to be an excellent exploration of the feelings of independent women who are entering into a commitment which fosters dependence.
The book is written in a conversational tone (fun to read!), is not "self-help-y," which is a really good thing. It relates anecdotes from the author's relationship, as well as those of her friends. It is reassuring without being pandering, which is a really hard thing to find in the bridal industry.
Highly recommended for the thinking bride.
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VINE VOICEon January 23, 2002
I have read it several years ago and really appreciated it ~~ and re-reading it again after getting married to Mr. Right, it helps me to understand the process!! (Only instead of dealing with wedding blues, I am dealing with pregnancy news!)
Marg Stark writes with humor and thoughtfulness as she doles out her experiences as a finacee and a new wife. Just what do brides expect after their one day in the sunshine is put back on the shelf and they settle down to wifehood? As it turns out, they are all in for a merry adventure.
This book is chock full of marital advice that helps the bride deal with issues ~~ like she's becoming her mother (ain't that the truth!) ~~ or dealing with finances or dealing with the wedding thank you notes or with a sick hubby or ... there are so many things. And Marg has an answer for almost everything ~~ and it's all ok. It's all part of settling in with your new husband.
I highly recommend this book to every woman who is contemplating marriage or is newly married. It's just a fun resource that surprisingly have good advice.
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on September 10, 2001
The thing I like best about this book is that it tells you the truth. Most things that are directed toward the bride-to-be skirt around issues and make marriage sound perfect. "What No One Tells the Bride" does not do this. It states from the beginning that, yes, you will have problems in your marriage and, no, you will not always agree on everything. Unlike most "bridal books," this one applies to what happens after the wedding.
If you are planning a wedding or are newly engaged, I strongly suggest you check out this book. It is an excellent read, gives great advice, and is well worth it.
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on January 31, 2006
I'm so glad that I found this book. It so articulated so many of my feelings during this period of preparation for marriage. Marg shares so many interesting stories and then gives easy to apply advice. This book really should be required reading for any bride to be. I am recommending it to brides to be and newlyweds.. I believe that so many people would benefit from the ideas in this contempary commentary on marriage.
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