Book recommendation: 52 Fights by Jennifer Jeanne Patterson

Posted on December 15, 2008. Filed under: reality | Tags: |


I got this book in the clearance rack of the local bookstore when I went home to New Mexico, so my expectations were really low.  Really, really low.  Yet, it turned out to be one of my very favorite books because it depicts the first year of marriage with a good solid dose of reality.  And we know how much I try to stay in reality.

In the author’s words, “This book, 52 Fights: A Newlywed’s Confession, tells the story of how Matt and I survived our first year of marriage without strangling each other.  I’ve written about the challenges we dealt with from coping with our various incompatibilities and our very different families to the sudden absence of the romance we knew in our courtship, our encroachment on each other’s personal space, and my identity crisis.”

Not to be a total dork, but I learned a few things reading this book.  I learned that my idea of what a good marriage is like was way off.  I learned that more women need to write real novels (bios?) about real life, because modeling behaviors matters.  I learned that looking at frustrating issues from both sides (as she does when she tells the story) is a great way to get out of my own head and see some hope.  And lucky for me, I learned all of this in the very early days of dating Mr. Cheese.  When things got rough and my old bad habits cropped up, I’d reread this book to get some perspective.

Favorite excerpts:

(page 101): “For me, Emily’s story [a friend who got divorced] is like one of those near-death experiences you read about, where your life flashes before your eyes.  The fallout of your divorce can be greater than or equal to your pain in your marriage. I realize that the pain of learning to live without Matt would never compare to the pain of losing him.  Finally I’m seeing how much good there is in our marriage worth preserving.  And, when I ask myself, do you think you could find a better partner than Matt, or do you simply want a partner who handles your weaknesses better, I’m ashamed of what my answer is.”

(page 169): “What I’m starting to realize is that when people say that marriage is a lot of work, what they mean is that it’s a lot of self work.  You can’t keep your feelings frozen inside you and expect to be loved.  Nor can you mask your emotions with anger.  When it’s hardest – when you’re hurt – is the time you need to open up the most, letting go of your verbal defenses.  Nobody who takes all of those punches will be left standing in the end…. It’s time we hang up our boxing gloves.”

See?  I’m betting that if you like the style of my posts, you’ll dig this book as much as I did.  And even if you don’t, you can get it on Amazon for under a buck, so what do you have to lose?

Have you read other “real” books about life and marriage post-wedding (but pre-baby)?  Please, share!!


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One Response to “Book recommendation: 52 Fights by Jennifer Jeanne Patterson”

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Looks like a great book!

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    I’ve been there, done that, got the t-shirt (and divorce papers) to prove it. Here I am again, pledging my life to my (new) love with eyes wide open (and heart racing) knowing full well how emotionally traumatic this can end… and doing it anyway.


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