Synopses & Reviews
Fast approaching the age when bachelors go from seeming curious
to seeming weird,
Oscar-nominated documentarian Dana Adam Shapiro set out across the country with a tape recorder in search of modern answers to an age-old question:
Why does love die—and what can we do to prevent it from happening?
It all began as a self-help journey in the purest sense. A serial monogamist for more than two decades, Shapiro had just ended his fifth three-year relationship and wanted to know why the honeymoon phase never lasted until the actual honeymoon. Believing that you learn more from failure than from success, he spent the next four years interviewing hundreds of divorced people, living vicariously through the romantic tragedies of others, hoping to become so fluent in the errors of Eros that he would be able to avoid them in his own love life.
The result is a timely treasure trove of marital wisdom—a provocative look inside the hearts, minds, beds, and e-mails of regular people who’d thought they found “The One” and lived to tell the tales of what went wrong. Shockingly intimate, universally relevant, and profoundly personal, this is a page-turning, voyeuristic peek into the private lives of our friends and neighbors that is as racy as it is revelatory. But ultimately, You Can Be Right (or You Can Be Married) is a hopeful investigation of modern love and a practical guide for any couple looking to beat the roulette-level odds of actually staying together forever.
"Journalist, novelist (The Every Boy), and filmmaker Shapiro admits he's neither a husband or a therapist. But he crisscrossed America interviewing (sometimes for 20 minutes, sometimes for several days) hundreds of divorced men and women about their war stories of romance, compatibility, and compromise, infidelity, and the intimate, explicit details of their sex lives. After finding a couple of pairs of lacy panties that weren't hers, 'Ann' snooped into her actor husband's computers, seeing his passionate e-mails to a younger woman and photos of them in bed, and when she confronted him, he eventually confessed to affairs with 40 women. 'Paul,' a psychologist who likes to dress as a woman and have sex with men, describes how he left his first wife so he could be free to be himself and told his current wife everything about his sexuality before getting married. While this book makes some perceptive points about relationships that will particularly resonate with readers going through the throes of a bad breakup, the interviews are often more confessional than insightful and veer from being frank and open to coarse and distasteful. Agent: Daniel Greenberg, Levine Greenberg Literary Agency. (Sept.)" Publishers Weekly Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
“A wonderful and important piece of thinking and reporting.”
--Elizabeth Gilbert, author of Committed: A Love Story and Eat, Pray, Love
"A book about divorce written by a man who's never been married should be ridiculous. And yet I gobbled up this odd and touching and delicious book. I read it in a single sitting. And what's more, I learned something new about love and marriage and passion and commitment."
--Ayelet Waldman, author of Red Hook Road and Love and Other Impossible Pursuits
"After reading Dana Adam Shapiro's fascinating and revealing book, I will never again take my marriage for granted. I would write more, but I have to go buy some scented candles and tidy up the kitchen."
--A.J. Jacobs, author of Drop Dead Healthy: One Man’s Humble Quest for Bodily Perfection
"As a couples therapist, I witness daily the unraveling of adult intimacies.
“Divorce is a reality most of us will deal with (maybe twice). It is an elemental human struggle. It can be heartbreaking, angering, confusing, elating, dangerous, completely annihilating, embarrassing, absolutely necessary and above all, deep and touching. If you have left or been left and feel alone, you won’t after reading these stories.”
--Marc Maron , WTF with Marc Maron and The Marc Maron Show
"As a couples therapist, I witness daily the unraveling of adult intimacies. Dana Adam Shapiro's gripping testimonies of demise and divorce are written with vividness and aplomb—I felt as if he were eavesdropping in my office. A grand reportage of marriage and its discontents."
--Esther Perel, author of Mating in Captivity: Unlocking Erotic Intelligence
A timely collection of brutally candid break-up stories resulting from three years of interviews by an Oscar-nominated documentary filmmaker, You Can Be Right (or You Can Be Married) began as an oral history about the failures of an age-old institution and evolved into a practical marriage guide as racy and romantic as it is revelatory.
Skeptical about traditional marriage and fed-up with preachy self-help books telling us how to be better husbands and wives, Shapiro, a thirty-eight-year-old bachelor, decided to crisscross the country with a tape recorder in an effort to better understand the roulette-level odds of maintaining a lifelong romantic union. Believing you learn more from failure than from success, he collected stories from hundreds of divorced people, hoping to uncover the myriad secrets about why love dies.
The result is an all access, wholly original treasure trove of marital wisdom from regular people who thought they’d found “the one” and lived to tell the tales of how it went wrong. No subject was too taboo, and these anonymous interviews reveal heartbreaking, heartwarming insights about sex, fighting, money, addiction, in-laws, and the Internet.
Profoundly personal yet universally relevant, this is a page-turning, voyeuristic peek into the lives of our friends and neighbors that is sure to spark heated debate and serious self-reflection. But ultimately, You Can Be Right (or You Can Be Married) is a hopeful examination of modern love.
About the Author
Dana Adam Shapiro directed the Academy Award-nominated documentary Murderball and the Independent Spirit Award nominee Monogamy, starring Chris Messina and Rashida Jones. He is the author of The Every Boy, a former senior editor at Spin, and a contributor to The New York Times Magazine. He lives in Venice, California.