Ah, romantic happiness.You’d think finding it would be easier now than ever before, given all the options modern life allows us. Instead, it’s much harder—because there’s so much to figure out. And we feel such pressure to find someone perfect: soul mate, sexual dynamo, emotional stalwart, and best buddy all in one. And if we do beat the odds and manage to get into something steady, then a new batch of concerns arises—like how to go from a friendship-with-benefits to a full-fledged commitment, how to deal with his overbearing mother, or how to overcome problems in the sack. In our quest to reach romantic nirvana, we turn to self-help manuals, daytime TV, magazines, talk shows, friends, relatives, and shrinks. But we’ve forgotten a far better source of wisdom: the timeless stories written by the great novelists. Jane Austen was around long before Oprah—and though ladies in tight-laced corsets didn’t have to deal with Internet profiles or speed dating, they can help us better understand why first impressions shouldn’t necessarily be lasting (Sense and Sensibility) and why sometimes it’s okay to date bad boys ( Jane Eyre).
Daunted by how hard it would be to mine books like those for the best nuggets? Don’t be. The authors of Much Ado About Loving have done it for you, combining expert dating advice with lit crit as they discuss classics of literature. Avid readers and relationship gurus, Maura Kelly and Jack Murnighan have gone through as many romantic highs and lows as Bridget Jones and Don Juan combined. They’ve also stayed in plenty of nights, comforting themselves with great novels and learning a few lifetimes’ worth of lessons in the bargain. Trading off narration chapter by chapter, they explain the key romantic eurekas that more than thirty books have given them. Whether they’re talking about Moby-Dicks or why brides are prejudiced, each chapter will get you thinking—and keep you laughing all the way to a great relationship.
You don’t have to be a bookworm to learn about love from great novels. Jack Murnighan and Maura Kelly have done the reading for you. Their take on life’s greatest love lessons from literature’s most memorable characters will enlighten you about all sorts of questions, like:
* Why shouldn’t a relationship develop too much online before it enters the realm of reality? Love in the Time of Cholera was published long before Match.com went online, but it demonstrates the dangers of getting your hopes too high before you meet.
* Are you more excited about having a wedding than being married? Pride and Prejudice can help you take off those “champagne goggles” and get real.
* Is hanging out at bars your go-to move for meeting dates? Bright Lights, Big City shows why that’s no way to find a new relationship.
* Should you marry a man with a past? There are times when it’s the most principled thing you could do—and Jane Eyre can help you see why.
* Do you have a TMI problem? You should rein it in if you want romance to bloom—as Brothers Karamazov shows.
* Should you cross the political aisle for love? Howards End has the answer.
* Nobody who’s interested in you is ever good enough? Get over your intimacy issues with a look at The Bell Jar.
* Why do men talk so much, and why do women put up with it? Infinite Jest will tell you everything you need to know.
Whelp....I liked Much Ado About Loving but my expectations might have been rather high since I liked Murnighan's Beowulf on the Beach. I probably would have liked it better from the outset had I NOT started it around Valentine's Day because it was too much advice for someone with a rather pathetic dating life. And I wasn't looking for a dating advice book. Coming back to it in September was much better.
I like Murnighan's chapters more than Kelly's - probably because I LOVED Beowulf on the Beach and was looking for more of that.
So a good book, a decent read, but not as good as I expected.