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You Say Tomato, I Say Shut Up: A Love Story Paperback – February 8, 2011

3.9 out of 5 stars 58 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Married for 13 years, Gurwitch and Kahn look back with laughter at the highs, the lows, and their different marital needs. Writer-actor Kahn (Curb Your Enthusiasm) won an Emmy for scripting The Ben Stiller Show; actress Gurwitch (Seinfeld) produced a documentary adapted from her 2006 book Fired! Tales of the Canned, Canceled, Downsized, & Dismissed. By teaming for this equally merry marriage memoir, the duo doubles the giggles and guffaws. Over many months, they have been doing readings and performances from this book in progress, when it had the working title, How Not to Have a Marriage Like Ours. The book includes alternating He Says/She Says sections. Opening with Jeff's pursuit of Annabelle, they write in a lighthearted fashion about dating, cats, living together, marriage, the honeymoon, and lots of sex: In the beginning, there was sex and it was good. In the middle, it became something to schedule like a tennis lesson and flu shot. A genuine crisis interrupted their comedic conflicts when their son was born with birth defects, a situation that affected their marriage: We became each other's psychological punching bags. In the concluding chapter, they speculate on the future direction of their marriage, possibly like the bonds of emperor penguins and Gertrude Stein and Alice B. Toklas. Readers will hope they stay together to write more heartfelt, funny books like this one. (Feb. 14)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Review

"You Say Tomato, I Say Shut Up: A Love Story shows how hectic, hard and hilarious married life can be. Spanning friendship, courtship, marriage and parenthood, Annabelle Gurwitch and Jeff Kahn’s "he said/she said" memoir at times reads like a mix of couples therapy and "Real World" confessionals for grown-ups. Only funnier and heavier.”—The Washington Post

“This book is a must-read for couples and singles alike. Finally, a married couple that doesn't hide behind such tedious traits as personal loyalty, good taste, and an overall sense of decorum.  You Say Tomato, I Say Shut Up tells people what marriage is really like!”—Liz Tucillo, co-author of  He’s Just Not That Into You and author of How to Be Single
 
“So funny because it is so accurate. Kahn and Gurwitch illuminate the insanity of marriage.  They make you want to embrace your spouse for the same reason you want to strangle them.”—Ben Stiller
 
“Although after eleven and a half years of pure, uninterrupted marital bliss I don’t relate at all to the subject matter, I still found Jeff and Annabelle’s book to be hilarious.”—Judd Apatow
 
“As someone who has never married or ever understood why anyone would,would, I feel I can say with authority that this is the finest, funniest, most insightful book I’ve ever read about a subject I’m completely unqualified to comment about.”—Bill Maher
 
“The far right believes that marriage should only be one man plus one woman. But they are oh so wrong. Marriage should only be between two funny people, and Jeff and Annabelle are the shining examples of this new marriage movement.”—Carol Leifer
 
“Damn, marriage isn’t supposed to be this much fun! If anyone is going to save marriage, it won’t be James Dobson—it’ll be Annabelle Gurwitch and Jeff Kahn.”—Barbara Ehrenreich, author of Nickel and Dimed
 
“Oh, now I get it. This whole sham of a marriage was not just for tax purposes, it was also to write and sell this immediately engaging book! I remember when Jeff first told me about Annabelle and the hazy, humid thermal cloud she wrapped his head in. I thought he was nuts. Turns out I was right (see pages 1–250). After reading this book, I feel sorry for both of them now. And that’s quite an accomplishment.”—David Cross, author of I Drink for a Reason
 
“He said tomato, she said shut up, and I took a Vicodin to ease the pain from laughing so hard.”
—Sandra Tsing Loh, author of Mother on Fire and A Year in Van Nuys

"We're just not that into us."--Annabelle Gurwitch and Jeff Kahn


From the Hardcover edition.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Broadway Books; 1St Edition edition (February 8, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0307463788
  • ISBN-13: 978-0307463784
  • Product Dimensions: 5.2 x 0.6 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 15.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (58 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #971,786 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Alexsandra Sukhoy on November 4, 2010
Format: Hardcover
Jeff Kahn and Annabelle Gurwitch got it right. Marriage is funny, it's tough, it's work, it's intimate, it's distant and a thousand other contradicting adjectives. While so many couples obsesses over the perfect wedding, how many really think about what it means to grow up and grow old with someone you are legally and emotionally bound to, good and bad, day after day? In today's post-feminist universe, is marriage even a sustainable union? Jeff and Annabelle open the Pandora's box, let us in and generously provide the reality check to what this institution holds in store, especially when two people genuinely love each other and want to be a part of the world. You Say Tomato, I Say Shut Up should be THE mandatory reading to anyone and everyone who is even mildly considering one day saying, "I do."
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By SpicyGuy on February 23, 2010
Format: Hardcover
Wow. I had expected this book to be funny: I'm a big fan of THE BEN STILLER SHOW and have read Gurwitch in the past (FIRED!) and seen her Showtime special. But, what I didn't expect was how true, poignant, moving this book turned out to be. Yes, it's a "warts and all," laugh-out-loud comedy book about marriage: the most dysfunctional marriage you've ever seen. But, it's also the story of two parents who love their son and (in their own bizarre way) each other very much.

If this isn't turned into a movie or tv show, Hollywood has no idea what they're doing. I hear that they may turn it into a two-person show. Based on the video they made to promote the book, I'd go see that play in a heatbeat.
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Format: Hardcover
This is one of the funniest, yet touching, books on marriage that I have ever read and I would recommend it to anyone who wants to read an honest book about marriage.

The book is set up so each chapter is loosely organized by theme, such as pets, dating, childbirth, in-laws, etc. Either Annabelle or Jeff presents their view first (in short essay format), and then the other one follows. I really enjoyed the "getting both sides to the story" aspect of the book. It is also mostly in chronological order, so it is pretty easy to tell where they are in their relationship when they are discussing each theme. They deal with most things that any married couple would deal with, yet you also receive some interesting insights into the Hollywood/LA/creative profession culture that they both reside in.

Many of the essays are incredibly funny, and there are some that are also very touching when discussing a serious subject, such as the birth defects of their son. The book doesn't pretend that marriage is easy, but at the same time, you can tell that they really care about each other.

Additionally, I found this to be a fast-moving, easy read and perfect for those days when you only have time to read a few pages, because of the divided-eassay format.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Ms. Gurwitch's and Mr. Kahn's memoir is dripping with sarcasm. The chapters are set up in a manner in which each spouse takes a handful of pages to speak their mind about various topics. Some of the topics covered are about their first encounters, dating, moving in together, their respective personalities, marriage, being pregnant, parenting, scheduling sex time, sports, their relationships with the in-laws, utilizing a marriage councilor, and vacations. My wife and I have been married for over 30 years, live in New England, and are the Bizzaro version of this West Coast couple's relationship. I don't know if these two artsy authors are intentionally being overly melodramatic just for the sake of being funny, which they very much are, or if this is their real personalities? Ms. Gurwitch and Mr. Kahn have no qualms about sharing their intimate details. I'd rather make love to a dozen porcupines than divulge my wife and my sexual compulsions or be forced to marry either of the authors. To each his or her own, I guess.

The memoir is loaded with off-color humor, is brutally honest, sprinkled with crude material, and written by two people who are liberal agnostics. Each chapter ends with a page or so of cynical relationship trivia. There is a touching section which involves medical complications involving their child Ezra. Surprisingly, the last chapter is a heartfelt admiration for being married to the other. A positive testament to the quality of 'You Say Tomato, I Say Shut Up' material is that many times I read out loud to my wife excerpts of the memoir and she ALWAYS broke out laughing. It is a light, fast read that is not suitable for people who easily take offense to criticism of religion, blunt sexual talk, and profanity.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This is one of the most laser-precise books on marriage, sex, kids, LIFE that I have ever read. I laughed my ass off, then would suddenly get caught off-guard and find tears welling in my eyes. The laugh lines are abundant and so are the moving moments, especially with their son's diagnosis with VACTERL. iIt's a true honor that Annabelle Gurwitch and Jeff Kahn would open their hearts up to us readers. A wonderful wonderful book. Highly recommend.
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I was really looking forward to reading this book. I mean, I seriously had a stack of books and this one I couldn't wait to read. It really seemed like a funny account of a couple who dealt with relationship issues sarcastically, cynically and without the romantic idealism that often makes relationships fail. In other words, I thought it would be hilarious and insightful. It fails on soooo many levels.

First of all, it's not funny. Maybe it's because it's written by TV writers/actors, but the jokes are incredibly formulaic. For example, every other line would be something like this (I'm paraphrasing): "she told me to call her, but how could I trust her. She treated me so badly for five years. There's no way I could do that to myself. So I called her on the way home." Yep, say something emphatically, do the opposite action. Maybe it's funny when you're not expecting it and it happens once every twenty pages, but it's the same joke, over and over again here.

Secondly, as another post wrote, it's very narcissistic. Let's talk about the party where we met. Two accounts, "he said" and "she said." Let's talk about when we moved in together. Let's talk about our wedding. Let's talk about vacations. Let's talk about our arguments, every single one of them, and what annoys us. Wow...really? It's like having to see someone's vacation photos or wedding photos, but for their entire lives!

Third, there are typos. Yes, typos.

Fourth, there's a good amount of gross humor and cliches. Fart jokes. If you're into that, then go for it. I'm not. And cliches about men wanting more sex. The wife getting bothered by flirting on Facebook. Maybe they just were forcing material to fill the book, because sometimes it reads like that.
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