My Favorite Marriages in Literature

How to Be Married author Jo Piazza on her fave fictional marriages—the good, the bad and the ugly.

My travel memoir How to be Married follows my own first tumultuous year of marriage. But despite all of the ups and downs, it was a good year and an even better start to a marriage. Sadly, the unhappy marriages in literature often end up being richer and more satisfying for a reader than the happy marriages. I’ve always thought that was a problem. We rarely talk about the happy marriages until they go bad. In How to Be Married, I wanted to try to convey the good and the bad. The book is non-fiction, but while I was writing I submerged myself in the fictional tales of other married couples, both the pleasant and the deeply disturbed. The above books contain some of my favorite marriages in fiction. Click the covers to read my thoughts about each one.

Featured image: Jurij Krupiak/; Author Photo: © Grace Chang

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JO PIAZZA is an award-winning reporter and editor who has written for the Wall Street JournalThe New York Times, the New York Daily NewsNew York magazine,GlamourMarie ClaireElle and Salon. She has appeared on CNN, NPR, Fox News, the BBC, and MSNBC. She received an MA in Journalism from Columbia, a MA in Religious Studies from NYU and a BA in Economics from the University of Pennsylvania. She is the author of the critically acclaimed If Nuns Ruled the World and Celebrity Inc: How Famous People Make Money. She currently lives in San Francisco with her husband and their giant dog.

  • techeditor

    I read a couple of these.

    The problem I had with AMERICAN WIFE was really a problem with my book club. They wouldn’t remember that this book is fiction. They kept referring to Laura and George instead of Alice and Charlie. You should remember that Alice really is a character of
    Curtis Sittenfeld’s imagination. Then you may enjoy the book properly
    because you understand what it really is.

    I thought the married couple in GONE GIRL started out good but ended up being idiotic.

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