Review

Wedding Cake for Breakfast: Essays on the Unforgettable First Year of Marriage

edited by Kim Perel and Wendy Sherman

Cancer, losing jobs, the in-laws, the reality of living 24/7 with another human being. The couples whose lives are dissected with humor and candor in WEDDING CAKE FOR BREAKFAST deal with all sorts of things good and bad. And they realize that, when they say “for better or for worse,” well, let’s just say there’s a reason those words are uttered in wedding vows the world over.

Jenna McCarthy writes a particularly funny but hard-hitting essay about the wonders of married life as presented in pop culture and how that exact picture of candlelight dinners and perfect sex aren’t exactly the way most couples find their lives post-honeymoon. Whether you are famous or not, McCarthy states, you have the same chance of marrying the wrong person and ending up with a lot of heartbreak.

"WEDDING CAKE FOR BREAKFAST is a good primer for the unmarrieds and an engaging and entertaining check-up for those of us who have been in the marital trenches for decades now. The main subject, of course, is love…and pastry. How can you turn that down?"

On the other end, you have writer Daphne Uviller, who was married less than 48 hours before 9/11 happened. The story of the days following their honeymoon and their very positive attitude about the day is quite remarkable and uplifting without being annoying.

Lost luggage, family advice and pregnancy tests all figure prominently in other tales of the marital struggle, with good and sometimes bad results. Some are older and more experienced in life, while others are younger and experiencing adult milestones while being married. But all the women in this collection are honest to a fault and offer a glimpse into a contemporary marriage between men and women, who strive for equality and want so badly for the fairy tale to be real. They all know, though, that it’s just a fairy tale, and sometimes the real thing is so much better than that. On some days you want to pack your bag and hightail it to some farwaway land forever rather than face your spouse at the end of the day.

This kind of knowledge --- that some days are good and others are not so good --- makes WEDDING CAKE FOR BREAKFAST a collection that you could give your friend who is getting married without them thinking you are damning their union from the get-go. They will recognize the wonderful realities and advice that these women offer, and will appreciate that you thought they should have this volume in their arsenal.

In these days of reality television --- where we see rich women’s spouses off themselves and watch, with careful editing, the kinds of fights that end with someone packing a bag and leaving the house --- it is nice to see that sometimes people get married because they love each other. Then they have some rough times, but thanks to that initial love, they find a way to work through it. There is a lot to be said for working through problems in our day, where everything can be thrown away just as quickly as it can come to be.

WEDDING CAKE FOR BREAKFAST is a good primer for the unmarrieds and an engaging and entertaining check-up for those of us who have been in the marital trenches for decades now. The main subject, of course, is love…and pastry. How can you turn that down?

Reviewed by Jana Siciliano on May 25, 2012

Wedding Cake for Breakfast: Essays on the Unforgettable First Year of Marriage
edited by Kim Perel and Wendy Sherman

  • Publication Date: May 1, 2012
  • Genres: Essays, Nonfiction
  • Paperback: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Berkley Trade
  • ISBN-10: 0425247309
  • ISBN-13: 9780425247303