Tuesday, February 14, 2012 Posted by Dina N
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.
Much Ado About Loving is a fun combo of relationship advice and a book about romance in books. Many of the relationship issues people have nowadays have been around forever. It's helpful and amusing to see how romance writers have resolved the romantic struggles of their characters. Personally, I'd rather read the originals. If you don't have the time or the inclination, Much Ado About Loving is your book. It's well written, funny, and smart, combining the advice and point of view of a literature expert and a relationships columnist.
Disclaimer / Disclosure: I received a complimentary copy of the book with no obligation for a positive review. No compensation was obtained for this post. Cover art and book description courtesy of the publisher.