Critic's Corner

By The Editors / March / April 2002
July 1st, 2007
Pamela Paul '93 has been making the rounds of morning talk shows this winter. A Gen-X social demographer, she has appeared on Good Morning America, The Today Show, and The Diane Rehm Show to promote her book The Starter Marriage and the Future of Matrimony (Villard). In the 1960s Margaret Mead coined the term "trial marriages," and Paul, who married at twenty-seven and divorced less than a year later, defines starter marriages as brief (five years or less), childless unions of couples in their twenties. She argues that "Generation X reveres marriage more than the baby boom generation does" but that boomers "may not have given their children good guidance about what successful marriage requires," wrote Libby Copeland in the Washington Post. Katie Roiphe, in Slate, marveled that Paul and her subjects "seem astonished and somehow cheated that their marriages don't work out. Paul takes the attitude that they were somehow duped into getting married by a ԭmarriage culture' that promotes what she calls ԭmatrimania' Anyone looking for solace or understanding," wrote Roiphe, "would be better served reading Flaubert and leaving Starter Marriages to the perusal of the assistant producers of Good Morning America."
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March / April 2002