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You Can Be Right (or You Can Be Married): Looking for Love in the Age of Divorce Hardcover – September 4, 2012

4.2 out of 5 stars 55 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews


“A wonderful and important piece of thinking and reporting.”

--Elizabeth Gilbert, author of Committed: A Love Story and Eat, Pray, Love

"A book about divorce written by a man who's never been married should be ridiculous. And yet I gobbled up this odd and touching and delicious book. I read it in a single sitting. And what's more, I learned something new about love and marriage and passion and commitment."

--Ayelet Waldman, author of Red Hook Road and Love and Other Impossible Pursuits

"After reading Dana Adam Shapiro's fascinating and revealing book, I will never again take my marriage for granted. I would write more, but I have to go buy some scented candles and tidy up the kitchen."

--A.J. Jacobs, author of Drop Dead Healthy: One Man’s Humble Quest for Bodily Perfection

"As a couples therapist, I witness daily the unraveling of adult intimacies. Dana Adam Shapiro's gripping testimonies of demise and divorce are written with vividness and aplomb—I felt as if he were eavesdropping in my office. A grand reportage of marriage and its discontents."
--Esther Perel, author of Mating in Captivity: Unlocking Erotic Intelligence

“Divorce is a reality most of us will deal with (maybe twice). It is an elemental human struggle. It can be heartbreaking, angering, confusing, elating, dangerous, completely annihilating, embarrassing, absolutely necessary and above all, deep and touching. If you have left or been left and feel alone, you won’t after reading these stories.”
--Marc Maron , WTF with Marc Maron and The Marc Maron Show

About the Author

Dana Adam Shapiro directed the Academy Award-nominated documentary Murderball. He is the author of The Every Boy, a former senior editor at Spin, and a contributor to The New York Times Magazine. He lives in Venice, California.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Scribner; 1 edition (September 4, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1451657773
  • ISBN-13: 978-1451657777
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.8 x 8.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (55 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,083,887 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
Gifted writer and filmmaker Dana Schapiro takes on the big relationship questions in this compilation of interviews and personal narratives. Following in the oral-interview footsteps of Studs Terkel and Alfred Kinsey, Schapiro digs in and asks many far-to-personal questions of divorced men and women. It's all with the purpose of finding out what leads to divorce -- and how things might have been different. So, what's the sense in asking those with failed marriages how to stay married? You learn what mistakes to avoid, what paths NOT to tread.

The book is broken into three parts: Accelerating the Inevitable, Discussing the Dirty, and Engaging the Elephants. Each part looks at a different avenue to divorce, drawing from the failed marriages of the interviewees, and then suggests a non-divorce route.

Accelerating the Inevitable deals with the individual process of self-realization and self-discovery that often leads to the breakdown of a marriage. When two persons realize that they are cutting off vital aspects of themselves in order to stay married, divorce becomes an appealing option. So, staying married and fulfilled at the same time requires integrating necessary change and personal growth into the marrige.

Discussing the Dirty talks about the sexual exploration that must occur within a marriage if it's going to succeed. This is no clinical text, however. The tone is erotic, voyeuristic, and sensational. It's hot reading. You learn what needs people are supressing when they stay married. You find out about people's secret and not-so-secret cravings. And you learn what happens when a marriage is unable to integrate -- in some way -- the individual erotic needs of the spouses.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
If you're going through a rough patch in your marriage and are looking for some pointers, I would NOT recommend this book. It's not that kind of a book. Likewise, if you're going through a rough patch in your marriage and want some inspiration that all will work out for the best in the end, you might want to skip this book as well. If, on the other hand, you are looking for the literary equivalent of reality TV and aree interested in reading about other folks' troubled relationships, this might be an ideal read. It's very interesting and reads like a page-turner novel. And there's plenty of infidelity and other hijinx activities to keep the interest level high.

Essentially Shapiro, who has never made it to the altar, interviews a number of divorced people and writes about the demise of the marriages. And each story is a little more bizarre than the last. The title of the book is clever, though a little misleading. It suggests that both partners need to be flexible and forgiving to make a marriage work. And that very well may be true, but it's not what this book is all about. In fact, I'm not sure that most of the failed marriages described in this book would have ever worked -- nor should they necessarily work.

Most of the stories are just a few pages long, and they are written in the style of an interview -- questions and answers. The interviewee is identified by name, occupation, year of birth, area of residence, year of marriage, how long he or she dated before getting married, and the year of divorce. Followed by the divorce story, presented in Q&A format. Some of the interviewees are bitter and hostile about their divorces, others are not. There's alot of infidelity, emotional and otherwise, as well as other issues.
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Format: Hardcover
Marriage is a crap shoot. We never know how they'll turn out until we experience them. Dana Adam Shapiro, a serial boyfriend but never a husband, decided to find out why marriages fail, in a quest half self-serving, half investigative reporting. The result is You Can be Right (Or You can Be Married) Looking for Love In The Age Of Divorce, a mashup of memoir and a couple dozen interviews of divorced folks of every stripe. The author skillfully weaves the stories of love gone wrong despite his own less than stellar track record.

The in-your-face candor of the men and women interviewed is a voyeuristic thrill ride that lands with a thump. Yes, You Can Be Right or You Can Be Married is a page turner but I wanted a happy ending and there isn't one. The most surprisingly thing about these battle-scarred love warriors is that each one would consider marrying again and maybe that's the silver lining. Despite the hurt, pain, betrayal and loss, most of us (no matter how bloodied) are willing to go back in the ring again. I highly recommend this book for bedtime reading with or without a partner.
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Format: Hardcover
This was such a thought-provoking read for me. I have been happily married for 18 + years. I got married in my 20s and am in my early 40s. My husband and I have seen numerous friends get married, get divorced and in some cases get re-married to give long-term commitment another go. This book covers many of the problems that we have witnessed as "divorce by-standers" to several of our couple friends. I know that everyone says it: Marriage is not easy; it takes work. Reading this book made me appreciate the relationship I have with my husband, imperfect as it may be. It also made me want to work on my own flaws as I saw myself in some of the women the author interviewed. No matter how long you have been married, or if you are divorced or living with someone, it's a fascinating look at relationships and worth the read!
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