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How to Stay Married: The Most Insane Love Story Ever Told

de Harrison Scott Key

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Biography & Autobiography. Family & Relationships. Nonfiction. Humor (Nonfiction.) HTML:From Harrison Scott Key, winner of the Thurber Prize for American Humor, How to Stay Married tells the hilarious, shocking, and spiritually profound story of one man's journey through hell and back when infidelity threatens his marriage.
One gorgeous autumn day, Harrison discovers that his wife??the sweet, funny, loving mother of their three daughters, a woman "who's spent just about every Sunday of her life in a church"??is having an affair with a family friend. This revelation propels the hysterical, heartbreaking action of How to Stay Married, casting our narrator onto "the factory floor of hell," where his wife was now in love with a man who "wears cargo shorts, on purpose." What will he do? Kick her out? Set fire to all her panties in the yard? Beat this man to death with a gardening implement? Ask God for help in winning her back?

Armed with little but a sense of humor and a hunger for the truth, Harrison embarks on a hellish journey into his past, seeking answers to the riddles of faith and forgiveness. Through an absurd series of escalating confessions and betrayals, Harrison reckons with his failure to love his wife in the ways she needed most, resolves to fight for his family, and in a climax almost too ridiculous to be believed, finally learns that love is no joke. How to Stay Married is a comic romp unlike any in contemporary literature, a wild Pilgrim's Progress through the hellscape of marriage and the mysteries of
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He let his wife contribute a chapter. Honest, self-reflective, well-written. I'd give it five stars. The rest of the book? Very hard to get through the scaffolding of Key's not-funny, too-clever-by half, writing that disguised who he really is and any self-reflection whatever.

I'm sorry. He's not funny. ( )
  bobbieharv | May 6, 2024 |
I don’t think I’ve ever read a book so achingly vulnerable before. The author is so honest about his personal failings, this dark period in his marriage, & the humility it took to stay together. When his wife asked for a divorce & reveals she’s having an affair, he’s beyond shocked. He shares this account not to shame her, but to reflect about how hard marriage is & how much work it takes. It sounds contradictory, but it’s also so darkly funny. The author’s glib and self-deprecating sense of humor makes their story feel accessible.

“That is marriage, in the end: two of you, being you, warring against the worst parts of you, making space for the best to grow, and learning to see that some parts of your spouse are not your favorite, and letting those parts be anyway. Hating those parts is no grounds for divorce." ( )
  bookworm12 | Apr 26, 2024 |
Harrison Scott Key is a very funny guy. Indeed he has won the prestigious Thurber Prize for American Humor. And I can vouch for how good - and how funny - the guy is, having read and very much enjoyed his first two books, THE WORLD'S LARGEST MAN and CONGRATULATIONS, WHO ARE YOU AGAIN? He's also very smart, and extremely well read, having spent the better part of a decade in the halls of higher learning and earning a Ph.D. His writing reflects all those years of study, with frequent allusions ranging from the ancient Greeks (Oedipus Rex) and Shakespeare all the way up to and including the esteemed works of Phish and Taylor Swift. And the Bible too, of course, from his childhood and youth spent in an evangelical religious culture, and subsequent years of studying and puzzling over both the Old and New Testaments as literature.

All that erudition - and humor - are still still very much in evidence in his latest effort, another memoir titled HOW TO STAY MARRIED: THE MOST INSANE LOVE STORY EVER TOLD. But this time his story is much darker. In fact the book's starkly black and white cover, but with a grey area in between, are perhaps illustrative of his subject: infidelity, depression and a marriage in deep trouble. Harrison's marriage to Lauren began under a cloud, as her mother had just died from cancer, leaving her deeply depressed, yet struggling to make the best of the situation. As his career progressed and their circumstances improved, Lauren found herself often overwhelmed and lonely with three young children to care for, mostly on her own. In her own chapter, she confides -

"I loved being a stay-at-home mom, but no one prepares you for how lonely it is ... I grew more miserable with every passing day. I felt so alone."

And so she drifted into an affair with a neighbor. Harrison is mostly oblivious, and when she confesses and asks for a divorce, he is simultaneously shocked, angry, confused and devastated. He seeks help and counsel from friends and their church, causing him to change churches. He agonizes over their children, what divorce would do to them. (And so does she.) He vows to fight for their marriage. They get counseling, individually and together. They reconcile. It all happens again. He consults a divorce lawyer as things come to a head. He confronts her with what she is doing. She has an emotional breakdown. He rushes to her rescue as her lover looms just offstage.

I could NOT put this book down. Could NOT! It reads almost like a thriller, but with much darker overtones. Key's trademark humorous style is there throughout all of this dark drama, but I could almost not be bothered with it. I had to know what happened next. That was all that mattered. Because in addition to humor, Key has now added SUSPENSE to his writing repertoire.

Anyone who has ever experienced hard times in their marriage - and I'll wager that includes almost everyone (us too) - will relate to this story. (And I'm so glad that Lauren provided her own chapter, with her side of the story too.) In their search for help, the Keys joined a new church, a makeshift congregation they called "The Church of Broken Windows." There they learned -

"... love is what saves you. Love, love enough to confess your failures, love to forgive the failures of others, is always what saves your life, your soul, your family, your marriage."

There are things in here that will make you laugh. Key is known for that after all. But I also did a lot of wincing as I read their story, remembering some tough times in our own marriage. Because this is a scary story. But it's also a beautiful story, and bravely told. You will keep on thinking about it for a long time. I know I will. My very highest recommendation.

- Tim Bazzett, author of the memoir, BOOKLOVER ( )
  TimBazzett | May 23, 2023 |
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Biography & Autobiography. Family & Relationships. Nonfiction. Humor (Nonfiction.) HTML:From Harrison Scott Key, winner of the Thurber Prize for American Humor, How to Stay Married tells the hilarious, shocking, and spiritually profound story of one man's journey through hell and back when infidelity threatens his marriage.
One gorgeous autumn day, Harrison discovers that his wife??the sweet, funny, loving mother of their three daughters, a woman "who's spent just about every Sunday of her life in a church"??is having an affair with a family friend. This revelation propels the hysterical, heartbreaking action of How to Stay Married, casting our narrator onto "the factory floor of hell," where his wife was now in love with a man who "wears cargo shorts, on purpose." What will he do? Kick her out? Set fire to all her panties in the yard? Beat this man to death with a gardening implement? Ask God for help in winning her back?

Armed with little but a sense of humor and a hunger for the truth, Harrison embarks on a hellish journey into his past, seeking answers to the riddles of faith and forgiveness. Through an absurd series of escalating confessions and betrayals, Harrison reckons with his failure to love his wife in the ways she needed most, resolves to fight for his family, and in a climax almost too ridiculous to be believed, finally learns that love is no joke. How to Stay Married is a comic romp unlike any in contemporary literature, a wild Pilgrim's Progress through the hellscape of marriage and the mysteries of

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