Posted: Tuesday, March 19, 2013, 9:02 am
It's chock-full of stalking, snark and antidepressants. What more could you ask from a classic romance?
On an inside page, alongside the ISBN and a lot of other boring junk no one notices, Tomato is listed as "1. Marriage-United States-Case Studies." I can think of no better term for this book or this couple's relationship than "case study." One waits for a trench-coated Robert Stack to emerge from the fog and ask, "What could have brought these two shrill, insufferable, frankly horrible people together?" Or maybe the Gur-Kahn marriage is less Unsolved Mysteries and more Seconds From Disaster. Step by step, from torturous courtship to uneasy cohabitation to their inadequate parenting, the book shows how wedlock/catastrophe could have been averted, but wasn't.
So why I am giving this divorce primer a four-star rave? Just call me a sucker for black humor, and these two really embrace the darkness. Naturally, they enjoy potshots at each other, ("You're asking me what bothers me about Annabelle? Seriously? Where do I even start?"), but they're also aware of their own limitations. He's weak, sexually obsessed and immature and she's…what's the clinical term…cuckoo for Cocoa Puffs. Throw in the helpful and depressing stats interspersed between chapters (did you know marital strife raises your risk for heart disease?), and it reminds you why they call marriage an institution.
Still, since Gurwitch and Kahn are both actors, there's a typical Hollywood happy ending. In the final chapter, they declare their love for each other, and I truly believe they have found the secret that keeps so many couples together: NO ONE ELSE COULD EVER STAND ME FOR THIS LONG.