Review: Then Comes Marriage

October 22, 2015 Uncategorized 10 ★★★★

Review: Then Comes MarriageTitle: Then Comes Marriage: United States v. Windsor and the Defeat of DOMA
Author: Roberta Kaplan, Lisa Dickey, Edie Windsor
Source: from publisher for review
Links: Bookshop (affiliate link) |Goodreads

Summary: This was an incredible, moving eye-witness account of an important historical event, although there was a bit too much legalese.

As a young woman uncomfortable coming out to her family, Robbie Kaplan found solace in her meetings with therapist Thea Spyer. Years later, Robbie’s position as a successful lawyer enables her to help Thea’s spouse when Thea passes away. Although Thea and Edie had been a couple for decades, had stayed together through Thea’s multiple sclerosis, and had been legally married in Canada, the discriminatory Defense of Marriage Act enabled the state of NY to disregard their marriage. This is Robbie’s first hand account of the ground-breaking supreme court case that lead to that act being overturned.

This book is more emotional than I typically like my nonfiction to be, but in this case, it was perfect. The author wasn’t inserting her political views or personal stories into a nonfiction book on a topic that could be handled objectively. This was the story of her personal involvement with a very important moment in our history. Her story was the story. I loved the amount of personality, humor, and emotion the author included. She had an amazing ability to make me care about the people she cared about.

For the most part, the author’s personal perspective and emotional investment made the legal bits as fascinating and emotional for me as the many moving anecdotes she seamlessly wove into the narrative. I also generally enjoyed having so many primary sources, with direct quotes from the court cases. However, these did sometimes get too technical or too wordy to be enjoyable. That was my only small complaint though. Overall, the author did a great job conveying the emotional and historical significance of every scene. I’d highly recommend this first-hand account of a critical moment in civil rights history.

10 Responses to “Review: Then Comes Marriage”

  1. Naomi

    Considering what this book is about, I don’t think it could have avoided being emotional. Sounds good!
    Looking at the cover, I would have guesses that it would be too political for my taste, but it doesn’t sound like it is.

    • DoingDewey

      You’re right and I think had it been approached in a less emotional way, it wouldn’t have been nearly as good! Obviously the book is very much on one side of a political issue, but I’d say the story is more about the personal side of things.

  2. Zoe @ Stories on Stage

    There are so many young adult historical fiction books out there, but most of them are about WWII and the women’s suffrage time periods. It’s great to hear a historical fiction book that’s set during a different time period than that. Thanks for sharing and for putting this under my radar and, as always, fabulous review! ♥

    • DoingDewey

      This one’s actually a true story and while I definitely think it would be a good read for a young adult too, I’d categorize it as adult nonfiction. But your point still holds! I’ve not read much narrative nonfiction that’s nearly this contemporary and I really enjoyed how topical it was 🙂

  3. Geoff W

    I have this one and can’t wait to read it, but I know it’ll be too emotional. Even reading the boring SCOTUS ruling was emotional! (And to answer Naomi, it totally does look to political, but knowing when that moment was when they took that photo just makes me get a little giddy!)

    • DoingDewey

      That’s a good point! I thought the ruling was emotional too and it’s pretty dry writing. And I think it was really as much personal as political so I hope that doesn’t put anyone off reading it 🙂

  4. Monika @ Lovely Bookshelf

    I’m glad it was an emotional read – it’s so easy for books on these issues to be approached *too* intellectually, but it involves and affects very real people and their very real experiences. This sounds like a brilliant read. Thanks for sharing!

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