Pictures have been snapped. Vows have been taken. Rice has been thrown.
Now it's time for the happy couple to live "happily ever after!" But what does "happily ever after" really mean or look like in this day and age?
In the anthology, "Wedding Cake for Breakfast: Essays on the Unforgettable First Year of Marriage," edited by Kim Perel and Wendy Sherman, 23 acclaimed women writers share a candid glimpse into the first year of marriage, and what their "happily ever after" was made up of.
First I want to start by saying that "Wedding Cake for Breakfast" is the first anthology I've ever read. I like the anthology format a lot. It allowed me to read a book without feeling any pressure of getting through as much as I could in one sitting. I liked that I could read a few essays and put it down without having that nagging feeling that comes with having to stop in the middle of an engaging story.
As for the essays themselves, it was hard for me to choose which ones were my favorites. Obviously I liked some more than others, but I still found myself eager to finish each and every one of them. I liked was the fact that, as with life, no one story was alike and had its own special twist on the topic. Even though the essays were grouped by theme, they were all unique in focus. I also enjoyed the fact that these essays shed light on the challenges newlyweds face while dispelling what I believe to be a widely held myth, that life after marriage is "perfect." Lastly, I felt that the essays were of such quality that they spoke to a wide audience range. Whether someone is single, married, divorced or widowed, there is something in this collection for everyone.
Of all the essays, there are a few that stood out to me....
• Margaret Dilloway's essay, titled "Love in the Time of Camouflage" examined how she not only was only adapting to married life, but also learning about what it means to be a military wife and the self-discovery that came with this role.
• Another military related essay, written by Darcie Maranich, titled, "All the Time in the World" caught my attention because it talked about the challenges her marriage faced when just two months after getting married, her husband, a lieutenant in the Army, got deployed to Iraq.
(I told you, this is real life we're talking about here.)
• Or, how about "Shared Anniversary" by Daphne Uviller. After the tragic events of 9/11 many couples who had just gotten married the weekend before faced immediate challenges - on many levels - as the world around them seemed to be collapsing in. Daphne and her husband were one of those couples. How is that for a rocky start?
But it wasn't just the sad stories that captured my attention....
• Jenna McCarthy's humorous essay, "525,600 Minutes," made me laugh as she talked about the realities of marriage. I LOVED the future conversation she added into the essay regarding a spouse coming into the bathroom while the other is in there.
• And for those of you who still don't believe 1+1 = 3, I recommend you read Claire Bidwell Smith's essay, "The First Year," where she recalls what it felt like to find out she was pregnant just two months after getting married to her husband Greg.
• The most sentimental of them all, for me, was Sophie Littlefield's essay titled, "He Chose Me.". In this essay Sophie talks about what it was like to meet and marry her husband at the tender age of twenty-four and her reflection on her expectations of marriage and what it meant to her own personal growth.
If I didn't list an essay above it's not because I didn't like it or didn't feel it was worth mentioning. (I just don't want to give away the whole anthology!) Like I mentioned earlier, I felt each and every one of the authors chose wonderful stories to share and I enjoyed every minute I spent reading this book.
Lastly, I'd like to extend a huge thank you to Kim Perel and Wendy Sherman for having the vision to put together such a book as "Wedding Cake for Breakfast." To me, this book is a "tasty treat" that I see myself partaking in again and again.
Thanks to Penguin for sharing the book in exchange for an honest review.
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